CommScope Opens Power over Ethernet Lab for Research of Next-Gen Applications

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Power over Ethernet (PoE) is one of the “hot” applications for IT managers today, but a new CommScope research and development lab hopes to demonstrate it doesn’t get too hot, at least for the cables involved.

In its new R&D lab in Greensboro, North Carolina, CommScope will trial next-generation PoE applications to verify the performance and safety of the structured cabling systems that support them, especially regarding thermal performance in different real-world installation conditions.

The lab will also host demonstrations of next-generation PoE applications such as high-definition security cameras, in-building wireless systems and digital signage in collaboration with ecosystem partners.

PoE is an enabling technology for delivering direct current (dc) electricity along with data over common copper cabling such as Category 6A. Office workers might know of PoE in the form of VoIP telephones, which were among the first devices to utilize PoE.

“Next to the data transport itself, PoE is the most important enabler of devices that use structured cabling in enterprise buildings today, which is critical as IT managers look to drive more value out of their installed copper cabling plant and connect more devices,” said Ernie Pickens, senior vice president, Enterprise Solutions, CommScope.

“CommScope remains committed to ensuring the safety, reliability and superior performance of our cabling and connectivity solutions for PoE enabled devices, now and as they evolve.”

CommScope’s new lab opens as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers just approved the new four-pair PoE standard (4PPoE) known as IEEE 802.3bt, which enables higher-power device connections of up to about 90 watts at the power source equipment. As more power can be delivered by PoE switches, more research is needed to verify the impact to structured cabling of a variety of installation conditions.

Some of the new PoE applications to be trialed could include:

•High-tech security cameras with advanced features like zoom and facial recognition
•PoE powered computers, thin client devices and digital signage
•In-building wireless systems
•LED lighting systems
•Building management systems that incorporate security, lighting, HVAC control, in-building wireless and access control
•Internet of Things networks

Throughout the development of the new IEEE standard, CommScope has been sharing test results with standards bodies on the theoretical challenges in the new higher power delivery. For its initial research in the new lab, CommScope is trialing equipment from Cisco, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) and Thinlabs to demonstrate a smart office building scenario with lighting, security cameras and LAN switches connected via 4PPoE on SYSTIMAX® cabling. CommScope engineers will analyze the cable’s heat emissions in a real-world setting with cables installed in ceilings and through walls while running high-power applications.


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