How to extend the deployment scale for IP devices installed at remote locations where AC/DC power supplies or outlets are hard to access? On this post, you will learn key things that referring to PoE extenders and PoE extension.
Power over Ethernet Brief Introduction
PoE stands for Power over Ethernet, is a widely used technology in home and business networking. Differ from traditional network infrastructure, PoE networking enables network cable to carry power inline, in other words, both power and network can be transmitted simultaneously via single Ethernet cable, eliminating extra AC outlets of powered devices(PD). A variety of low voltage or even power hungry IP devices benefit from PoE. IP camera, wireless access point, VoIP phone are most common applications. Using PoE to build network is a cost-effective way as its comes with plenty of advantages, such as central management on device and power, easy and flexible installation, safer and more reliable connection and so on.
PoE devices are roughly divided into two types, one is PSE(Power Sourcing Equipment), which mainly supply PoE power, and the other is PD( Powered Device), including all the IP devices with PoE-compliant capability, put it simly, those can be powered by PoE. Various PoE devices show its specific usages and benefits, like the common used PoE switches, PoE injectors, PoE splitters, as well as PoE extenders are quite significant in building a long range PoE transmission for IP devices. In the following we will go through PoE extenders largely.
More knowledge about PoE can find in here.
What is PoE Extender?
Limit of Power over Ethernet
Before we go deep into PoE extenders, it is critial to know the fact that PoE network has its inherent limit of a maximum of 100 meters(328ft.) transmission distance.
Power Loss & Voltage Drop
How the 100 meters distance limitation come? Undoubtedly, 100 meters is the defined distance that is hard or impossible for PoE signal to reach. And this mostly due to power loss and voltage drop. Let’s start with the power loss. Beware the PoE connection take Ethernet copper cable as transmission cable, and it is known that part of power flow in the copper wires will be changed to heat, and if the farther deployment distance is required, the more power will be lost inline. Thus when there is too much power lost over long distance transmission, it will result in a voltage drop, which as its name indicated, voltage is dropped down since power is lost as the increasing distance. Every electronic has its acceptable input voltage to make it work, so if the voltage drops down lower than the remote connected devices required, the whole system will stop working.
Reading this, apparently PoE extenders work for compensating PoE limitation.
PoE extender, also known as PoE repeater, is a kind of device that is used to extend the distance of network cable, actually it is a tool to extend the range of PoE signal for installing remote IP devices.
How Does PoE Extender Work?
To use PoE extender for long range PoE connection should be the most cost-effective method. Just place PoE extenders between the PSE and the PD. It is a single device that is PoE-enabled, receive both power and network from the main PSE( PoE switch or PoE injector) over single Ethernet cable, repeat and boost the received PoE signal, then transmit the remaining PoE signal to the edge connected devices.
Installation will never be a concern. It feature seamless connection to ensure the safety of existing data. Powered by PoE, so there is no need for additional AC outlet nearby the extender itself and the remote connected devices. The majority of PoE extenders can be installed with simple plug-and-play operation.
Ethernet Extender vs. PoE Extender
Ethernet extender still can be found in the market, nonetheless, ever since PoE extender came into use universally, Ethernet extender is gradually fade out of sight. An Ethernet extender (aka network extender or LAN extender) can be only used to extender Ethernet, and it requires AC or DC power source for supplying itself. To sum up, it comes with less utility and flexibility, but mostly it needs a lower price.
Maximum Distance of Using PoE Extenders
PoE extender ideally get 100 meters distance limitation doubled. However, in practice, the distance should be shorter related to factors like output wattage, cable quality, connected devices, all this may affect whether sufficient output wattage for remote devices to keep a stable connection. How connected devices make its difference on the distance? The key is the power consumption. PoE extender can only supply limited power, so think about it, coupled with the effect of power loss, the higher power consumption of the connected devices need, the shorter distance is obtained, or vice versus, the greater distance you get, the lower output wattage can be supplied to the connected devices. As to the output wattage and cable quality, we will review below.
Daisy-Chain of PoE Extender Explained
You can daisy chain PoE extenders for more scalability. In real applications, you may demand an extension distance of PoE over 100 meters, what can do to get great distance? PoE extenders support daisy-chaining setup is helpful to tackle the problem. Daisy chaining multiple PoE extenders means multiple units of PoE extender can be cascaded, and generally, up to 500 meters PoE connections by daisy chaining 4 units of PoE extenders. The installation is simple, no extra configuration, just plug and play. One key thing to note is that reduced power happens if PoE extender with daisy-chain connection, and how much power can supply for remote devices depend on the distance and the number of devices connected.
Other Options available for PoE Ethernet Extension
1.300 Meters Extension Kit
From what we talked over above, PoE extenders is able to repeat and extend PoE signal for a maximum of 100 meters in the connection. And using daisy chaining of multiple units of PoE extender, a greater distance is available, but also take more potential for system instability or failure. Fortunately, special extension kit is available, which can break the distance limitation to reach farther distances in a more reliable and handy way. The kit includes two PoE extenders, and it features up to 300 meters continuous cable run between two PoE extenders, unlike the common PoE extenders in daisy-chaining, each units among is 100 meters max. In this way, you are able to get a more stable connection for remote IP devices, and finish the installation with less hassle and time. One PoE extender can be eliminated in the 300 meters long range PoE connection. Moreover, you can choose to only bury the network cable underground to enhance installation flexibility and maintenance convenience since cable tends to be safer than the active electronic when buried under ground. In fact, this kit also let installers to make the optimal utility on the range as there is still a maximum of remaining 100 meters from the PoE extender to the main PSE or the remote PD, therefore, up to 500 meters long range PoE connection is an option for you.
2.Long Range PoE Switch
- PoE Switch with Extended Mode
In general, most of PoE switches are inline with the PoE transmission limit for a maximum of 100 meters, but considering the increasing demands for IP surveillance installed at longer distance, and thanks to the developed technology, some PoE switches support an extended/VLAN mode that allows IP cameras to be installed at long distances up to 250 meters with 10mbps remaining network speed. It is quite easy to realize, only need your manually push on the equipped toggle switch. To some extent, they are specially designed for IP devices that only requires low bandwidth for data streaming, such as IP cameras as it is simply like extending the deployment range in a compromise of network speed.
- Ultra Long Range PoE Switch
Except for the one talked above, there is another type of PoE switch supports long range PoE transmission, namely, the ultra long range PoE switch. As its name Implied, it can reach ultra long range PoE connection delivering both power and data to the remote IP devices, satisfying applications at long distances with easy plug and play installation. These advanced PoE switches offer a maximum of 800 meters PoE connection only thru one single continuous Ethernet cable. That said, just one long network cable run between the central and edge site, providing high resistance to surges or bad weather’s damage to realize a stable connection, and giving deployment flexibility and maintenance convenience to the installers. Adopting special chipset and technology, make high speed long range PoE or Ethernet connection become a reality to meet various IP devices, not only the IP cameras, but also wireless APs or other devices that require fast network speed for the reason that a fast Ethernet 100mbps data rate can still be available after 500m(1500ft.) transmission in line. Moreover, complied with IEEE802.3 at standard, up to 30W output power is able to serve high power IP devices in spite of the loss in long distance transfer. Unmanaged switch features plug and play quick and simple installation, and there is no configuration is needed, paving the easier way for home or business to expand the deployment scale of IP devices.
More information about ultra long range PoE switch, find in here.
- PoE Powered Switch with PoE Passthrough
There is a special type PoE switch available to be an alternative for expanding deployment scale for PoE or non-PoE devices. It is called PoE powered switch, as known as PoE passthrough switch, which works similar with PoE extenders, receive PoE from the central PSE(PoE switch or PoE injector) to supply itself, and eventually pass through the remaining power and network to its PoE ports. Unlike traditional PoE switches requiring additional AC power source, it take part of the received power for self-consuming and eliminate a present AC/DC power source or outlet. PoE powered switches expand the range with another 100 meters(328.ft.) with a lower investment on cost and time. You can reuse the existing Ethernet cabling to accomplish the effective expansion for multiple devices. Find a proper Ethernet wall plug and add this switch, then 4 or 7 or more RJ45 ports available. If all the connected PDs need PoE to power, then it is important to calculate whether is the power budget of the switch is enough. PoE powered switch accepts high power PoE++ is a fair option, hence such switch works with BT compliant PSE can supply up to 72W PoE power for the whole system. Moreover, the PoE ports are feasible to connect data-only IP devices, or the so called non-PoE devices, in this way, just data will be released within the cable once they are connected.
Choosing PoE Extender: Things Should Keep in Mind
Pay close attention to compatibility and safety.
You are supposed to figure out whether the PoE extender you want to choose can work compatibly with the desired IP devices or not. On one hand, how much power can the PoE extender carry and supply, and is it sufficient to the connected PDs? This matters a lot to make a successful start. On the other hand, it is quite important to find out does it only work with PoE-enabled devices or can also meet the data-only devices, like laptop, in other words, you should know if the connected PDs can be regarded as a valid connected PD or not. To make clear on these doubts, there are two terms mainly need to know, one is PoE standard, and the other is PoE detection(aka PoE handshaking, signature detection).
PoE standard issued by IEEE(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) defines the rule for almost all the PoE devices. There are three standards in use commonly, including, IEEE802.3 af standard, IEEE802.3 at standard, IEEE802.3 bt standard, which can carry and supply more and more power in Ethernet cable for meeting various IP devices from the low voltage to the power-hungry type, such as IP cameras, wireless access point, VoIP phone, access control system, POS terminals, and even the merging applications of smart home and IoTs. Standard PoE extenders definitely follow the rule of IEEE802 af/at/bt standard, thus in the process of purchase, obtain the information of PoE standard, and consider the previous mentioned point, power consumption of the desired connected PD, then the answer for doubt one will be revealed naturally.
To ensure compatibility and safety, learn more information about PoE detection is a necessity. Not all the PoE extenders or PoE devices work compatibly with connected PDs. Some support PoE detection(aka signature detection/PoE handshaking), offering better compatibility and safety. It is a protective mechanism for the whole system, especially when connecting PDs with an uncertain power consumption or you don’t have a clear idea whether PoE devices or not. Because PoE detection intends to release a small amount of current that is acceptable for most of network devices, meanwhile, detect and negotiate the signature of the connecting PDs. If it is compatible, then a suitable wattage will be released.
- Indoor or Outdoor type is required? It greatly depends on the deployment environment and applications, some PoE extenders are perfect for outdoor or industrial uses since they features reliable water ingress protection, IP6x, or durable housing with impact protection(IK), or with a wide range operating temperature to withstand extremely high or low temperature.
- Not all the PoE extenders support gigabit network speed. Some can only serve fast Ethernet with a speed of 10/100M, but which actually is enough to ensure a stable connection to between PSE and IP cameras, including 4K IP camera. If you need to use for applications for high density or communication WiFi coverage, take the one with gigabit network would be the smartest selection.
- Not all Power over Ethernet repeaters can be daisy chained up to reach longer distance. As the proverb warns that do not put all your eggs in a basket, you’d better just cascade one or two pieces of PoE extenders in one link. As you know that there are the more active electronics building long range connection meaning that the high risk for system failure. One of the node breaks down, resulting in a complete loss of connection.
- There are different types of PoE extender available. Some models support dual PoE out ports to meet various applications. You are permitted to utilize such PoE extenders for a quick and handy PoE network expansion. For example, there is one PoE camera already installed at site, and you would like to add one more PoE camera to cover a wider monitoring range for better surveillance and security. Just place one dual ports PoE extender at a suitable point, both the existing one and the new one can be supplied with PoE. You can reuse the original wiring without any change and hassle, and a greater deployment range for two cameras is available with ease.
Tips on Using PoE Extenders
Care the details to realize true waterproof capability.
If you demand an outdoor or direct burial installation with extreme high reliability to resist water or corrosion, choosing suitable products definitely is of significant importance, but as a matter of fact, most of situations that the core to for device damage generally due to a wrong or casual connection or installation. To realize a complete waterproof capability, you’d better rely on tools, like a wrench, to fasten the cable gland to the main part tightly so as to seal all the gap that may cause water or moisture ingress. As to those equipped with more than one output port, remember to seal the spare ports with plugs.
Add effective surge protection at both ends.
Honestly, a professional long range PoE networking system installed indoor or outdoor, which highly emphasis stability and reliability, implement an effective surge protection to obtain additional protection since the longer the distance between the main and the edge devices, the more possibilities for the cable to absorb surges, specially during lightning days. Surge protectors are the helpful tool to enhance the level of surge protection. They only require simple connection but give superior practice. As surges are able to flow towards two sides within the cable, then using two at each sides is a secure way.
Use pure copper Ethernet cables.
The use of qualified PoE devices and cables is the guarantee of the stability for the whole system. Therefore, you are supposed to consider the Ethernet cable from its transmission speed, material, temperature range, installation, and price. Cat 5e and Cat 6 cable are two types of Ethernet cable widely applied. Although Cat 5e/Cat 6 features high speed, it doesn’t guarantee the material of the cable. It would be recommended to choose the pure copper cable to avoid voltage drop issue. The pure copper can decrease the power loss on the cable, otherwise power loss will turn to new issues if low quality cable is used. Huge amount of power will be converted to heat inline and create voltage drop at the other end of the cable, then it the system comes with bigger threat of failure.