Cisco Expands Use Of Power-Over-Ethernet Standard

Cisco Systems Inc. on Tuesday said it has expanded product support for the power-over-Ethernet standard, with new offerings for its Catalyst switching line.

February 18, 2004

2 Min Read
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Cisco Systems Inc. on Tuesday said it has expanded product support for the power-over-Ethernet standard.

The 802.3af specification, developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, is a technology for supplying electrical power to devices on the same copper wire as Ethernet. The IEEE ratified the standard in July 2003.

Cisco introduced on Tuesday support of the standard as an option for the network equipment maker's Catalyst 3750 modular switching platform and in the new standalone PoE switch family, the Catalyst 3560. The company also introduced 802.3af compliant 10/100/1000 and 10/100 PoE line cards for the Catalyst 6500 and 4500 Series.

Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., first introduced support of 802.3af in September with the 7970G Internet protocol telephone.

Gordon Haff, analyst for market researcher Illuminata Inc., said PoE has grown in importance as more devices are attached to the edge of networks that may not have easily accessible power supplies. Moving power over an Ethernet reduces the cost of connecting low-power devices, ranging from IP telephones and switches to web cameras and censors."The (standard) basically lets you get further out on the edge of the network, without having to run power to the devices," Haff said. "It really is a reaction to having more and more technology attached to networks."

Increasing corporate use of IP telephones and wireless access points have been primary drivers behind the adoption of PoE, David Passmore, technology analyst for The Burton Group, said.

With IP telephones, vendors are replicating the power supply available for traditional telephones through PBX switching systems. PBX, or private branch exchange, is an in-house system that interconnects telephone extensions to each other as well as to the outside telephone network.

"(PoE) is basically replicating the same capabilities that companies have had for years with their older phone systems," Passmore said.

Cisco is gradually replacing its pre-standard PoE system, which it introduced in 2000, Passmore said. On its new Ethernet switches, Cisco has added hardware to make the devices compatible with the older system, as well as support the IEEE standard."The new standards provide power in a totally different way, so Cisco needed to migrate," Passmore said.

Prices for Cisco's PoE switches range from $3,795 to $7,995.

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