PoE Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE): Choosing the Right One

Posted on Nov 30, 2023 by

In the realm of networking, the advent of Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology has ushered in a new era of efficiency and flexibility. At the heart of this innovation lies the Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE), a crucial component responsible for delivering power to various devices over Ethernet cables.In this exploration, we'll deepen our understanding of IEEE PoE standards and various PoE PSE devices such as switches, media converters, injectors, and extenders, as well as take a detailed look at the PSEs offered by FS to guide your choice.

The Use of PoE Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE)

Access Points (APs) and security cameras are often mounted in areas lacking electrical infrastructure, such as exterior walls, ceilings, light poles, pipelines, and kiosks. Bringing in an electrician to install hardwired outlets in these remote or hard-to-access locations may not be a practical or cost-effective solution. In such situations, a PoE power sourcing equipment emerges as the perfect remedy, acting as the power supplier for connected PoE Powered Devices (PDs). Essentially, the PSE delivers the electrical power, and the PD receives and utilizes this power.

When choosing a PSE, you need to ensure that the selected PSE and PD are compliant with the same PoE standards. As the IoT grows and the need for more connectivity for higher power consuming devices increases, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has introduced new standards so that PoE technology can provide higher power levels to support more types of of powered devices.

Power Sourcing Equipment PSE

IEEE PoE Standards

To ensure seamless integration and interoperability in PoE deployments, the IEEE has established standards that serve as the bedrock for PoE technology. The IEEE PoE standards, specifically IEEE 802.3af, IEEE 802.3at and IEEE 802.3bt define the parameters for delivering power over Ethernet cables. These standards dictate maximum power levels, voltage specifications, and negotiation processes between the PSE and the PD. By adhering to these standards, the networking industry achieves a level of consistency and reliability crucial for the widespread adoption of PoE.

IEEE 802.3af

Adopted in 2003, IEEE 802.3af is the original PoE standard. It allows for up to 15.4 watts of DC power to be delivered to each device, but due to losses in the cable, the minimum power available on the powered device is 12.95 watts. This standard typically supports powered devices like IP cameras, VoIP phones, and some wireless access points.

IEEE 802.3at

An enhancement to the original PoE standard, IEEE 802.3at was ratified in 2009. It increases the amount of power that can be delivered over a single Ethernet cable to a maximum of 30 watts, with 25.5 watts being the minimum guaranteed power available at the powered device after accounting for cable losses. This standard can accommodate more power-intensive devices such as dual-radio wireless access points, advanced IP cameras with pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) capabilities, or video phones.

IEEE 802.3bt

The most recent update, ratified in 2018, is further divided into two types — Type 3 and Type 4:

  • Type 3 – Offers up to 55 watts of power supply, potentially allowing for things like more advanced teleconferencing equipment and building management devices to be powered over Ethernet.

  • Type 4 – Delivers up to 100 watts, enabling even more power-intensive applications, such as data center server connectivity or high-performance wireless access points and workstations.

Before purchasing a PSE, you need to ensure that the product fully complies with these standards, to prevent damage to both PDs and PSEs, and maintain network availability and interoperability. While a PSE that adopts older standards may meet your current needs, considering the long term, the most recent standard might be more advantageous for you. The latest IEEE 802.3bt standard is fully backward compatible with the older IEEE 802.3af PoE and IEEE 802.3at PoE+ standards.

FS PSE Options

FS PSE Options

PoE PSEs (Power Sourcing Equipment) play a crucial role in powering PoE devices within a network. However, compared to the multitude of PoE PDs, the range of available PoE PSE equipment is relatively limited. The main types of PoE PSEs typically deployed in modern PoE networks include PoE switches, PoE media converters, PoE extenders, and PoE injectors. Your choice of PSE will be primarily determined by the number of devices you intend to connect and the characteristics of your network environment.

PoE Switch

A PoE switch sends both data and power over one Ethernet cable to the PD connected to it, cutting the need for extra power cords. With various power budgets and port configurations, FS PoE switches cater to the demands of different applications, from small-scale deployments to large enterprise networks. The reliability and performance of FS PoE switches make them a cornerstone for those seeking robust and scalable PoE solutions.

If you need to connect multiple PDs, PoE switches can provide up to 100 watts of PoE to multiple connected devices, making them a great choice. By using a PoE switch, you are able to provide power to multiple devices in a centralized location without having to install separate power outlets for each device, simplifying the wiring and management process.

PoE Media Converter

A PoE media converter not only links fiber cables to a copper network for photoelectric conversion but also supplies power to compatible devices like IP cameras and VoIP phones. FS PoE media converters, compatible to IEEE 802.3af/at/bt, ensure a smooth transition between different network architectures while delivering both data and power to connected devices.

However, if your remote devices need to receive power and data beyond the 100-meter range of the copper cable, then a PoE media converter is a good choice.The PoE fiber media converter not only provides media conversion, but also integrates PoE power into it. It combines the advantages of long distance transmission (using fiber optics) with the convenience of easy power supply at the end (using PoE).

PoE Extender

PoE extender is mainly used to extend the transmission distance of Ethernet cables, especially when the transmission distance is more than 100 meters, and the use of PoE Extenders allows the signal and the power to be further transmitted to more distant places. FS PoE extenders provides a simple solution for adding PoE ports without running more cabling and achieves more flexible network applications without requiring an external power adapter.

If the current network does not have fiber optic cabling or if the cost of fiber optic cabling is too high, a PoE extender is the perfect PSE solution. It should be emphasized that the PoE Extender is usually used in scenarios where the transmission distance needs to be increased within the same medium (eg. copper cable) and only involves regenerating and amplifying the existing PoE signal.

PoE Injector

Designed with efficiency and compatibility in mind, FS PoE injectors injects power to data that is coming from a non-PoE switch and delivers both the power and data to the PD through an Ethernet cable, ensuring a smooth transition to PoE technology without the need for extensive infrastructure changes.

For environments requiring the infusion of PoE capabilities into existing non-PoE networks, FS PoE injectors provide a transformative solution. However, it's important to highlight that PoE injectors are best suited for smaller PoE networks with a limited number of PDs. In scenarios involving dozens of PDs, opting for a PoE switch is a more effective choice.


The advancement of Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, epitomized by Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE), has revolutionized the landscape of networking by offering an efficient and flexible means to power devices over Ethernet cables. FS's array of PSE options, including PoE switches, media converters, extenders, and injectors, cater to diverse needs, ensuring seamless delivery of power in accordance with IEEE's PoE standards. As organizations increasingly rely on various powered devices, from simple IP cameras to complex workstations, understanding and selecting the appropriate PSE—aligned with the correct IEEE standard—is pivotal to ensuring a robust, future-proof network infrastructure that maximizes the benefits of PoE. With its commitment to compatibility, efficiency, and innovation, FS is devoted to enabling businesses to embrace the myriad possibilities that PoE technology brings to the table.

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