How it works

Up until recently ethernet cables were primarily used to establish local area network (LAN) connections. That meant ethernet was often the cable found connecting a modem to a computer and other internet devices to transfer data when a wireless (WiFi) connection was not being employed.

Now, PoE technology allows that cable to also transfer low wattage power. This can be in addition to data or instead of it, but effectively it means that the device no longer requires a power supply in addition to the network connection.

That has seen PoE become a popular option when connecting devices which require both low wattage power and data, for example IP telephones or routers.

It’s also increasingly used for IoT devices like security cameras, which require a stable internet connection and a power supply.
There’s also an alternative way of using PoE, however, which sees a device connect wirelessly to the internet, while the ethernet cable is used solely to provide power.

And in an age where ethernet ports are becoming more common in buildings, this is allowing devices to be easily connected to a power supply, without requiring additional power points.

PoE advantages

Power over Ethernet has a series of advantages, not least of which is that installing a PoE port or wiring walls for PoE does not require the expertise of a licensed electrician.

That means PoE wiring, ports and connections can be easily retrofitted into walls or can be used to supply low-wattage power to remote areas where you wouldn’t traditionally install a power point.

In turn this makes PoE affordable, and also allows it to be used when a quick, yet effective power solution is required.

How to employ PoE

In order to employ PoE to power a device, a PoE switch or mid-span is required. These basically perform the task of understanding whether a device requires power, and how much is to be supplied using the Ethernet connection. Then they provide the power required.

Once you have Ethernet, a PoE switch (of at least IEEE 802.3af standard), then an adaptor is usually also required to power the device in question. This adaptor converts the Ethernet cable to fit the charging port of a device.

Bosstab PoE iPad charger

Whether used as a kiosk or a Point of Sale, iPads are frequently employed in commercial environments where there is limited access to available power points and where the installation of a power point is likely to be expensive.

In order to better resolve this issue, Bosstab now facilitates Power over Ethernet via an adaptor which converts Ethernet to a lightning charger.

This allows commercial operations to connect iPads and maintain their charge in areas where power supply might be limited, expensive to install or simply unavailable.

Commercial operators simply employ a PoE switch which converts Ethernet to power, run a cable from a switch through a wall, without the need for an electrician, then use the adaptor to convert the Ethernet connection to a lightning charging port.