PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ Switches: What’s the Difference & Which One to Choose?

Power Over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology that is used in almost all industrial segments for business networks. Power Over Ethernet is ideal for companies needing advanced networking capabilities. The technology enables data and power transmission to carry over a single networking cable.

PoE is gaining popularity due in part to its ease and efficiency, and for the reduction of equipment dependency. PoE operates through PoE switches, which have become an industry-wide standard of power delivery configuration. There are three variations of this system being used today——PoE switches, PoE+ switches, and PoE++ switches. Additionally, these switches can be used with any type of powered device including IP Camera, Access point, VoIP phones, Bluetooth accessories and more. Interested in learning more? This post breaks down most popular three difference PoE standard.

What Are PoE and PoE Switch?

PoE: Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology was released by the IEEE 802.3af standard in 2003, making it possible for PDs such as VoIP phones to receive power from PoE adapters and the power is up to 12.95W. The IEEE 802.3af also makes a standard that PoE operates over standard Cat 3 Ethernet cables in 2003 by using two of the four twisted pairs of cables.

PoE Switch: PoE switches are power over Ethernet enabled, which means that these devices have an option to transmit electrical current via network cables. If you have a lot of switches in your network, it is more than possible that it contains a switch type called PoE pass-through switch. These devices can essentially send what’s known as PoE and transmit electrical energy using Ethernet cables such as those found in cat5e/cat6. Most 802.3af switches can deliver up to 15.4 watts of capacity onto the electric field running through the aforementioned wires (44v-57v).

When To Use PoE?

PoE used for many applications where it isn’t possible to use USBs or AC power. PoE allows power over Ethernet cable which is much more cost effective and efficient than traditional systems. This can be useful in areas where a device is difficult to reach such as over 100 feet away from the nearest outlet. The standard PoE can reach 328ft, You can have up to 1500ft PoE extension after you add the PoE extenders to the link.

What Is PoE+?

As we mentioned above, PoE+ is was first developed and published in 2009 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE 802.3af standard. In many cases, power devices within the network require more PoE wattage up to 12.95, and PoE+ is the best solution that supports a higher power consumption requirement. The PoE+ can supply up to 25.5W to your edge devices.

What Is PoE++?

In the pursuit of enhancing wider scale operations for equipment applications, the IEEE 802.3 standard is once again required to upgrade its PoE+ technology to PoE++ in 2018. PoE++ is classified into two different types: PoE++ type 3 and PoE++ type 4. The new standard, makes use of a total 4 pairs of wire instead of just two likes from Ethernet cable in Type 3 setups.

This boosts power deliver up to 71W at a PD over four twisted cables for the Type 3 variant and up to 90W for Type 4 setups making sure that network devices stay operational regardless of location within a buildings complex wiring arrangement. Cisco’s proprietary technology UPoE (Universal Power Over Ethernet) works similarly to the PoE++ Type 3, extending support listed in the IEEE standard with an increase rated power output 45 watts across all four cables as opposed to 24 watts available per port without any upgrade options or proprietary features implemented on existing IEEE 802.3 PoE++ switch configurations.

PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++: Reference Chart & Comparison

Based on our introductory discussion, we have taken the liberty of creating a switch comparison chart by including important information that you may want to consider when deciding on PoE, PoE+, and PoE++. We’ve included necessary details that may be pertinent to your specific contemplated implementation needs and reasons why there are various choices available to you when deciding on which is most advantageous for your purposes.

The following chart details the similarities and differences between PoE, PoE+, and PoE++:

Note that the presented figures are only valuable if the switch is oversubscribed at maximum capacity in practice which rarely happens/ However note that many devices will usually not use full power, for instance if you have a PoE++ switch with Type 4 ports it does not mean all of these ports are going to be powered up at maximum 71W. Consequently, you need to calculate the power requirements for all the items connected via patch cables that you plan to connect to the switch and select corresponding patch cables for your system design.

PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++: Which One Should You Choose?

In the previous sections we’ve seen there are several differences between PoE++, PoE+, and PoE switches. We can now see that the power these devices use varies significantly and that this energy will influence their applications.

PoE, PoE+ and PoE++ are all network switches types. The major differences among these switches lie in the maximum power supply delivered by each port and their working mode, which reflect on their applications. At the same time, these switch types vary in terms of their power supply mechanisms and applications. A PoE switch is designed for Ethernet devices that require power under 15.4W such as access points, VoIP phones and sensors.

Meanwhile, the purpose of using a POE+ switch is to provide power under 25.5W to devices such as wireless access gadgets with 8 antennas or cameras with more advanced features including zoom functions, panning and tilting. In addition to this, a higher-powered Poe+ Type 3 switch is necessary for supplying up to 30W to devices such as laptops and TVs by transferring power via DC from your network system to them over cable rather than an additional power source.

One critical thing that we’d like to remind you is that when it comes to your data center, plants and construction materials should be chosen thoughtfully for maximum results. For example, if you assume your network only requires low standard power levels, you may just stick with PoE switching devices. However, if you’re planning to create a more robust and higher-performance network with multiple assorted devices or need to consider the limitations of some ports, then PoE+ or PoE++ switches might be the wisest investment.

When considering any upgrades for your infrastructure, PoE+ or PoE++ switch technologies may help. Although not every company needs a full upgrade, if your current solution is adequate and fits the demands of your business – which may take less time & money – it might make sense to stay with the current PoE network design.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully this article gives you a good understanding for how one company describes PoE and why we chose to follow the IEEE standards when it comes down to getting specifications from vendors. How much power your devices need is crucial when you’re trying to decide whether or not to invest in PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology. In fact, a growing number of households and businesses are starting to find it necessary to invest in PoE switches instead of non-PoE switches because the latter tend to have trouble transferring power simultaneously. However, in order to figure out the differences between PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ and how they affect your home or business, it’s best if you know what each PoE technology entails.