The New Power Paradigm | Power over Ethernet

Providing power to an access control system has always meant multiple, specialized DC power supplies for controllers and locks, each with their own battery backup requirements. As access control moves towards the edge with small, smart IP controllers at each door, a new option is gaining traction – PoE, or Power over Ethernet.

Power over EthernetBecause PoE provides power and data through a single cable, it is especially suited for new construction, where CAT-5 network cabling can be easily run to each door. While often associated with Voice over IP phones, IP surveillance cameras and wireless access points, PoE is becoming a more commonly accepted method for powering access controllers, readers, and yes, even locks.

As the trend toward intelligent network devices at the edge grows, this lends itself to a higher reliance on PoE. Thus, knowing that this is the way the industry is moving means it’s important to have a good understanding of PoE and how it will work for access control.

Clearly, there are benefits to PoE, not the least of which is that it can save money for most installations by taking advantage of the economical CAT-5 cable. Instead of paying to have power run to each door, integrators can make use of the existing PoE infrastructure, especially in new buildings. Additionally, there can be some savings as installations get away from relying on numerous battery setups, especially for locking systems, and move instead to PoE.

As with any installation, planning is going to be critical. Standard PoE provides 15 watts on each port, so knowing how much power each device uses will dictate your needs. A single door controller, for instance, will work well in a PoE setting, while a controller that provides both card-in and card-out functions, or one that uses biometric readers, is going to require more power.

PoE Plus ups the power ante to 30 watts per port, but some devices may not be rated for PoE Plus so, again, it’s important to have that data in hand when planning the installation.

The next generation of PoE — in the form of PoE Ultrawill be at least 50 to 60 watts, up to possibly 90 watts, thus being able to support more locks and even more powerful readers, ensuring PoE will be a viable option well into the future.

Devising a more efficient installation, while also staying competitive on costs, is driving many integrators and their customers to explore PoE.

Want to learn about the benefits of implementing PoE with Access Control?

Learn the basics of PoE, PoE standards, benefits of PoE, PoE within access control and avoiding the pitfalls, and the future of PoE by watching a recording of my PoE opens new doors webinar.

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Here are just a few testimonials we received after the live webinar concluded:

  • Thanks for a really informative webinar. The information on the Midspan power was really helpful. As a matter of fact, I used that knowledge today to figure the needs for a 16 camera installation we just received.” – Paul Abbott, RCDD | Simplexgrinnell
  • I found the webinar was extremely well presented and very informative. Please pass on my thanks to Rick who was my tutor when I got my C•CURE 800/8000 certification.
    – Barry Dawson | Tech Systems, Inc


How are you using PoE at your business? Please leave me a comment below.


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