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PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ Switch: How to Choose?

Updated on Nov 2, 2022
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PoE, or Power over Ethernet, is a proven time-saving and money-saving technology that delivers data and power safely over the same Ethernet cable for the local area networks (LANs). In the current market, if you notice Power over Ethernet switch types, you will find that there are PoE switches, PoE+ switches, and PoE++ switches. But how much do you know about these three PoE switch types? What are the distinctions between PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++? And how to make a proper selection among them?

 

What Is PoE and PoE Switch?

What is PoE? PoE technology was defined by the IEEE 802.3af standard in 2003. Under this standard, the PoE allows a PD (powered device) like VoIP phone to receive up to 12.95W PoE wattage, utilizing just two of the available four twisted pairs in Ethernet cabling.

Then what is a PoE switch? PoE switch refers to an application of PoE technology. Functioning as a kind of PSE (power sourcing equipment), a PoE switch can supply power to PDs via Ethernet cables to realize network connectivity. Generally, an 802.3af switch supports max power consumption of up to 15.4W per PoE port with a voltage range between 44V and 57V. And the voltage range of PDs, connected with the PoE switch, is from 37V to 57V.

 

What Is PoE+ and PoE+ Switch?

PoE+ technology (IEEE 802.3at standard) is an upgrade of PoE technology, which was published in 2009. PDs in the market tend to require more wattage, like wireless access points that require PoE wattage of more than 12.95W to work normally. To solve that, here comes the PoE plus technology, which can support high power consumption.

Similar to a PoE network switch, the PoE plus switch also supplies power over two pairs, but it adds an additional power class that is able to deliver power up to 25.5W for a PD with a voltage range from 42.5V to 57V. The max power delivered by each port of a PoE+ switch is 30W, along with a voltage range from 50V to 57V.

 

What Is PoE++ and PoE++ Switch?

In the pursuit of adding more power to broader device applications, the IEEE 802.3 standard once again is required to upgrade its PoE+ technology to PoE++ (IEEE 802.3bt standard) in 2018. PoE++ can be classified into two types: Type 3 and Type 4. Type 3 enables two or all four twisted pairs in a copper cable to deliver power at a PD of up to 51W. Type 4 is up to 71W at a PD over four twisted pairs in an Ethernet cable.

PoE++ network switch is the next generation of PoE+ technology. PoE++ switch supports up to 60 watts of power to each port under Type 3 and offers the highest level of power for Power over Ethernet switches -- up to 100W on each PoE port under Type 4.

 

PoE vs. PoE+ vs. PoE++ Switch: Which to Choose?

As choosing a PoE switch should depend on different requirements, this part offers the information for making the optimal choice of four types of Power over Ethernet switches from two aspects: specifications and applications.

Specifications of the Various Types of PoE Switches

Based on the above-mentioned introduction, a reference chart that summarizes detailed specifications among PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ switches is presented below.

  PoE PoE+ PoE++
IEEE Standard IEEE 802.3af IEEE 802.3at IEEE 802.3bt
PoE Type Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4
Switch Port Power
Max. Power Per Port 15.4W 30W 60W 100W
Port Voltage Range 44–57V 50-57V 50-57V 52-57V
Powered Device Power
Max. Power to Device 12.95W 25.5W 51W 71W
Voltage Range to Device 37-57V 42.5-57V 42.5-57V 41.1-57V
Cables
Twisted Pairs Used 2-pair 2-pair 4-pair 4-pair
Supported Cables Cat3 or better Cat5 or better Cat5 or better Cat5 or better

Note: the presented figures are just valuable in theory, while the total power capacity of PoE series switches in the application will be oversubscribed with more ports for many devices using less than maximum power. For instance, if you have a switch with all PoE++ Type 4 ports, it does not mean you will use all of them at maximum load 24×7. Consequently, you need to calculate the power requirements for all the powered devices that you plan to connect to the switch and select corresponding patch cables for your PoE design.

Applications of PoE vs. PoE+ vs. PoE++ Switch

Evidently, the major differences among PoE vs. PoE+ vs. PoE++ switches lie in their working mode and power supply, which reflect in their applications.

An 802.3af switch, aka PoE Type 1 switch, is usually used to support devices that require a power delivery of less than 15.4W:

  • Basic VoIP phones operating across the public internet

  • Two-antenna wireless access points for small networks

  • Stationary security cameras without pan, tilt, and zoom

  • Sensors, meters, etc.

PoE+ switch with 30W output can power Type 2 devices, such as:

  • IP telephones that offer fax, text messaging, and voice calls

  • Wireless access points with six antennas

  • Remote-controlled pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) surveillance cameras

  • Biometric sensors that collect biological characteristics

With a higher power of up to 60W, PoE++ Type 3 switch provides power for:

  • Two-way video phone calls in a conferencing system

  • Building management devices such as gate or door controllers

  • Thin clients connected remotely to a server-based computing environment

  • Remote patient monitoring devices

And the PoE++ Type 4 switch can support devices such as laptops and TVs.

PoE switch is a good choice if low-standard power levels are enough for your data center. Otherwise, PoE+ or PoE++ switch is better when a more robust and high-performance network with multiple varied devices is required, without concerning port limitations. They are also wise choices for building infrastructures of higher requirements and upgrade planning. Certainly, you can retain the existing PoE network design if it is adequate and fits your demands.

FS PoE++ Switch Solutions

The main features of FS three PoE++ switches are shown below.

  S5860-24XB-U S3200-8MG4S-U S5850-24XMG-U
Description 24-Port Ethernet L3 PoE++ Switch 8-Port Ethernet L2+ Managed PoE++ Switch 24-Port Ethernet L3 PoE++ Switch
Ports 24x 100M/1000M/2.5G/5G/10GBase-T, 4x 1G/10G SFP+ | 4x 10G/25G SFP28 8x 100/1000M/2.5GBASE-T | 4x 10Gb SFP+ 24x 10/100/1000M/2.5G/5G/10GBASE-T | 2x 100G QSFP28
Switching Capacity 760 Gbps 120 Gbps 880 Gbps
Power Budget 740W 250W 1000W
Application laptops, flat-screen entertainment devices radio wireless access points, PTZ cameras, video conferencing equipment IP phones, wireless access points
 

Conclusion

The growing power requirements make the PoE technology evolve from PoE to PoE+ and to PoE++. The PoE-based switch has also been upgraded from a PoE network switch to a PoE + switch, and to a PoE++ switch. This article sheds light on the differences between PoE vs. PoE+ vs. PoE++ switch as well as their applications. Hope this post will give you some inspiration on choosing a suitable PoE network switch.

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