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Top 5 Ways to Extend the Reach of PoE(1)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) provides a cost-effective way to transmit both power and data to the powered device (PD) via a single Ethernet cable. It saves substantial installation costs and provides access to high-speed communication with minimum spending. Since PoE eliminates the need to be tethered to an electrical outlet, devices such as IP cameras and wireless access points can be located where they are needed most and repositioned more easily. And since PoE is a low-voltage power option (less than 60 Volts), it decreases the hazards associated with traditional electrical work and reduces the operating costs. 

What are the limitations of Power over Ethernet?

PoE, however, comes with a standard 100-meter limitation. That restricted reach can severely limit the viable locations where a device can be placed. Many scenarios involve point-to-point connectivity requirements that lie far beyond the standard Ethernet limit, such as the campus, rail and highway systems, security systems, and industrial applications. 

But the problem with the short transmission distance doesn’t arise with the cable itself. In fact, PoE can power any device at any device as long as there is enough power generated at the source. The truth is when the transmission exceeds that length, its signal integrity will be compromised. As the distance increases, the signal strength will deteriorate. Moreover, since power and data are transmitted at the same time when electricity is traveling down the Ethernet cable, it’ll generate an invisible electromagnetic field that disrupts data networking, and the network speed will drop from 100Mbps down to 10Mbps or less. 

Top 5 Ways to Extend PoE

To overcome the geographic limit of PoE, we’ve listed the 5 best ways to help you extend your network easily and quickly. 

1.PoE Extenders

The PoE extender is one of the simplest ways to extend PoE beyond 100 meters. It uses the existing cabling to amplify the signal and send it to the next connected device. The PoE extender is installed inline between the PSE and PD, and the max. distance on each side can be 100 meters (200 meters in total). Moreover, since the PoE extender can be powered by a PoE injector or a PoE switch directly, you don’t need to install an additional power outlet on the field. Besides, the scalability offered by PoE extenders to retrofit the traditional cabling makes installation and expansion of new network connections easier. 

Plus, the plug-and-play feature of PoE extenders also makes it easy to add new devices to the system at different locations. Considering that the installation is just a matter of an inline plug, the extender can be easily added or removed without affecting the integrity of the entire system. Additionally, some PoE extenders can even allow you to daisy-chain multiple units together, pushing the limit to 500 meters. PoE extenders exist for both indoor and outdoor applications, and some models can even provide IP6X ingress protection. 

How to Deploy PoE Extenders?

Before the installation, you should figure out how many PoE extenders will be needed. You should know the distance between the PSE and the PD, the total power budget of the PSE, the bandwidth and power requirement of the PD, etc. A rule of thumb is to use one PoE extender every 100 meters. If you need 300 to 400 meters, you will probably need at least two or three PoE extenders.

1.Use PoE Extenders in Point-to-Point Connections

The most standard way is to use one PoE extender for each PD because it’ll be much easier to implement and maintain. What’s more, since only one extender is deployed, more power is reserved for the edge device, such as IP cameras, wireless access points and VoIP phones. Most PoE extenders only have 1 input and 1 output, while some models would have 2-4 PoE outputs, allowing you to connect more PDs on a single Ethernet cable. 
a. Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into one of the PoE ports of the PoE switch, and connect the adjacent side to the input port of the PoE extender.
b. Take another Ethernet cable, connect one end to the output port of the PoE extender, and connect the other end to the PoE-enabled device.
c. Check if the indicator is on and make sure the cable glands on both sides of the PoE extender are well-sealed. 

2.Daisy Chain Multiple PoE Extenders 

By daisy-chaining multiple PoE extenders together, you can effectively extend the distance to 300-500 meters. But one of the problems when using too many PoE extenders in a single link is power loss. Every PoE extender will consume 4-5 watts of power. The more extenders are daisy-chained, the less power will reach the PD. Moreover, due to cable resistance, inevitably, there’ll always be power losses, and this is also the reason why the PoE standard defines a higher output for PSE. And since the PoE extender cannot regenerate power during the transmission, a high-power PSE will be needed to power the extenders and the edge device. 

a. Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into one of the PoE ports of the PoE switch, and connect the adjacent side to the input port of the first PoE extender.
b. Take another Ethernet cable, connect one end to the output of the first PoE extender, and connect the other end to the input of the second PoE extender.
c. Repeat the previous step, and connect the second PoE extender to the third one, etc. 

3.Use 300 Meters Direct Burial PoE Ethernet Extension Kit

Another method to extend PoE beyond 100 meters is to deploy 300 Meters Direct Burial PoE Ethernet Extension Kit. Instead of daisy-chaining 4 PoE extenders, you can expand the reach to 500 meters with only two units. By connecting the inputs of both PoE extenders together, the maximum distance between these two units can reach 300 meters so as to eliminate failure points over long cable runs. 

a. Connect one network cable to one of the PoE ports of the PoE switch and connect it to the output port of the first PoE extender.
b. Take a roll of 300-meter-long cable, connect one end to the input port of the first PoE extender, and connect the other end to the input port of the second PoE extender.
c. Finally, use a network cable to connect the second PoE extender to the edge device.

2.PoE Powered Switch

When more IP devices need to be connected, you can also use this PoE powered switch (which can sometimes be considered to be a multi-port PoE extender) to extend PoE for another 100 meters. The PoE powered switch, also called the PoE passthrough switch, can operate as a PD and a PSE at the same time. It receives the power and data from the upstream PSE and transmits them to the PDs. The PoE-powered switch can be applied in hard-to-access spaces, such as attics, closets, above drop ceilings, basements and tunnels, or some places where the existing power outlets are already occupied for other uses. Similarly, the PoE powered switches also have the ‘power handshaking’ features to verify if the connected device is PoE-compatible, which ensures the safety of the entire system. 

How to Install the PoE Powered Switch?

Since the PoE powered switch can be powered by PoE while simultaneously providing power to other devices such as IP cameras and wireless access points. This provides great flexibility because the switch can be deployed at any desired place without the constraints of an AC power outlet. However, one of the challenges when deploying a PoE powered switch is the power budget. PoE powered switches don’t consume too much power, but depending on the manufacturers, models, port numbers, etc., the power consumption could vary. But they will typically use between 3.3 and 33 watts of power. 

For example, if a PoE powered switch has a power budget of 60W and the switch itself will consume 10W approximately, then you’ll need at least 70 watts of power available at the PoE powered switch, which means the PSE will have a power budget of 90W. Therefore, you will need a high-power PoE injector to power the PoE passthrough switch. And to eliminate power losses over the transmission, you should use pure copper cables instead of CCA cables since the latter have much higher cable resistance than 100% copper cables. 

Components You’ll Need: 

Outdoor PoE Pass Through Switch

This outdoor PoE passthrough switch is IP67-rated waterproof and supports a wide operating temperature range of -25°C ~60 °C to operate stably in outdoor environments. It’s built with a PoE passthrough port and 7*10/100/1000 Mbps PoE output ports with a total power budget of 95W (30W max. at each PoE port). Each port is equipped with 6kV surge protection, and it also has a fanless cooling design for heat dissipation. 

90/95W PoE Injector

This 95W PoE injector is compatible with both PoH protocol and IEEE802.3bt standards to deliver 72W max. to the PD and supports a data transmission speed of 10/100/1000Mbps. It is highly reliable, featuring carrier-grade surge protection to protect the device against ESD events. The installation is basically plug-and-play with no configuration required. 

Cat5e/6 Ethernet cables

The Cat5e and Cat6 cables can support data transfer speeds up to one Gigabit per second. They offer significantly improved performance over the legacy standards, including up to 10 times faster speeds and a significantly greater ability to reduce crosstalk.

a. Connect a Cat5e cable into the PoE output port of the 95W PoE injector, and plug the PoE injector into the power outlet.
b. Connect the other side of the cable to the PoE passthrough port on the PoE powered switch and check if the PoE powered switch is powered up. 
c. Take another Ethernet cable and plug it in one of the PoE ports of the PoE powered switch, and connect the other end to the PD. 

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