Networks deployed in extreme outdoor environments would seem like a natural fit for Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) technology. The problem is that outdoor network devices are more difficult to wire, and will need more costly cables. It’s also more difficult to consistently find conveniently located power sockets outdoors.
PoE technology would solve both problems because it lets networks deliver data and power over a single cable, vastly simplifying network wiring. However, PoE technology has limitations that prevent it from being used in the very category of application where it would be the most helpful.
Limitations to PoE+
The most obvious limitation of existing PoE+ technology is that the 30W devices described in IEEE 802.3at PoE+ can deliver over an Ethernet cable is often insufficient for network devices that need to draw more power to stand up to extreme outdoors conditions. For example, IP cameras deployed outdoors need extra power for heating units and rain wipers, on top of the power needed to drive basic video capture and pan, tilt, and zoom functions. Compared to the older 802.3af PoE standard, the 802.3at PoE+ specification almost doubles the amount of power available. However, even that might not be enough for the most demanding outdoor devices.
The PoE connection must also be able to withstand harsh environmental pressures. Power surges, static discharge, and extremely high or low temperatures can all adversely affect the performance of insufficiently hardened data and power links. PoE devices that are not hardened against these environmental challenges will not be able to succeed in extreme outdoor conditions.
The IEEE 802.3at PoE+ specification reaches its limit when it comes to the power demands of outdoor devices in the harshest environmental conditions. The industry has responded by pushing past the limitations of the 802.3at specification, and developing ”High-Power” PoE devices that deliver twice as much power – up to 60W.
The advantage of high-power devices is obvious: improved performance, and enough power to meet the demanding requirements of extreme applications, such as wireless access points or RF modems, and outdoor IP cameras with integrated wipers and heaters. However, any time a system exceeds established industry standards, there are also potential risks. Because there’s no established standard to unify all such devices, the system integrator must be especially careful to ensure that all the devices are compatible and will interoperate smoothly. This means that device qualities such as reliability, consistent performance, and flexibility become even more important.
Say hello to the INJ-24A
Moxa’s INJ-24A is a High-Power PoE+ injector that safely puts the tremendous power of high-power PoE+ technology into the hands of system operators. The unit can add 60W to any Ethernet connection, and it is packed with features that empower networks to confidently and safely deliver greater performance than the PoE+ specification currently allows.
Flexibility: The INJ-24A can quickly adapt to different power standards with the flick of a DIP-switch. Simply by adjusting the DIP-switch, the INJ-24A can change which power standard mode to use, and even which wire pairs to deliver power on. This functionality means that the unit can supply power to nearly any PoE device, with minimal compatibility obstacles, because it can be quickly reconfigured to match the PoE device’s settings.
Visibility: System maintenance staff should never be in the dark as to the PoE status of the devices on their networks. The INJ-24A uses an intelligent SmartPoE LED that conveys PoE status at a glance. The system operator can immediately identify whether the PoE port is supplying power, and which power supply mode is currently active.
Reliability: Outdoor applications demand more power, and the INJ-24A works well in those applications. The unit’s media connections are reinforced with protection against power surges of up to 3 KV. In addition, a powerful heat-efficient housing lets the INJ-24A operate in extremely cold or hot weather. This lets the unit deliver a consistent data and power stream in the face of power fluctuations, static electricity, and other sources of electromagnetic interference.
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