Powering flexible working

By Andrew Mulholland, Head of Business Solutions, D-Link UK&I

DGS1510202828P52A1Image LFrontA great way of getting new businesses off the ground as quickly as possible, serviced offices often have strict rules when it comes to cabling. Indeed one I visited recently didn’t allow any changes at all, so the company leasing the space had arranged all their desks in circle with a network switch, servers, shared printers and a tangle of wires in the middle!

Even when changes are allowed, the need to re-organise and move offices as companies grow tends to discourage investment in cabling infrastructure leading to all kinds of ad-hoc solutions. Which kind of begs the question – how can the average small business take advantage of what the latest technology has to offer without trailing leads here, there and everywhere?

When it comes to networking the obvious answer has to be WiFi, but you can’t connect everything that way and bandwidth is still limited, even with the introduction of Wireless AC. Neither is it possible to deliver power over the air. But you can direct it over the same cables used to carry data and it’s worth looking at what Power over Ethernet (PoE) has to offer as you may be surprised at how this technology has evolved in the last few years.

The increased power of PoE

If you haven’t looked at PoE for a while you may be forgiven for being sceptical, as initial implementations based on the IEEE 802.3af specification weren’t that great. Able to deliver just 15.4 Watts of power to network devices using spare wires in UTP data cables, 802.3af could be used to power fixed IP cameras, simple desktop IP phones or basic wireless access points, but little else.

More than that, compatible devices were few and far between and adding PoE to the network itself problematic. Most early deployments required standalone PoE midspans to be added to inject power into the wires, costly black box devices which had to be installed somewhere between the switch and its client devices.

The release of switches with PoE capability built-in soon did away with that requirement and, at the same time, reduces hardware and installation cost. However, to further minimise those costs low power budgets were often imposed which limited the number of simultaneous powered ports they could handle.

Fortunately things have changed since then, starting with the introduction of a more powerful IEEE 802.3at standard (PoE Plus) which allows up to 30 Watts to be delivered over a single network cable. An effective doubling of what can be handled, that’s enough to power PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) cameras, for example, video phones and advanced dual-band wireless access points. Some implementations even allow remote network switches to be powered via PoE.

The tally of compatible devices has also risen and power budgets on PoE switches increased with, in many cases, the ability to deliver the full amount of power, as defined by PoE standards, to every cabled port. Moreover, switch vendors like D-Link have incorporated sophisticated tools to manage and share the available power budget to insure that every device can get what it needs and even turn it off completely when not required.

All of which is good news for the small business in serviced or temporary accommodation, enabling them to minimise the number of extension leads and adapters needed to power devices around their offices. Of course you still need data cabling, but a lot of serviced offices come flood-wired which helps, plus it’s a lot easier to tack UTP wires onto skirting boards and route them through ceiling voids than have new AC points added. It’s also a lot less expensive and, in a lot of cases, you can take it with you when you move.

PoE may not be the answer in every case but it works for many and certainly helped reduce the cable sprawl in the office I visited, and spread out that circle of desks.

18 thoughts on “Powering flexible working

  1. Hey there! I simply wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info
    you have right here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.

  2. Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to know so much about this, such as you wrote the e book in it
    or something. I believe that you just can do
    with some % to power the message house a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog.
    A great read. I will definitely be back.

  3. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you are
    going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  4. I am not dependable where you’re getting your information, except fantastic matter. I needs to spend a little calculate erudition much added otherwise thoughtful added. Recognition for enormous in order I was looking for this information for my mission.

  5. Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent.
    I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re
    saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise.

    I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is actually a tremendous site.

  6. Have you ever considered about adding a little
    bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say
    is important and everything. Nevertheless think about if you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts
    more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this site could
    definitely be one of the very best in its field.
    Excellent blog!

  7. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
    topic to be really something which I think I would never understand.

    It seems too complicated and extremely broad
    for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to
    get the hang of it!

  8. After lokoking into a handful of thee articles on your web
    site, I rewally like your tedhnique of writing a blog.
    I bookmarked it to my bookmark wwebpage list and will be checkikng back
    soon. Please visit mmy web site as well and tell me how you feel.

  9. Heya are using WordPress for your blogg platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need anny html coding expertise tto make your own blog?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  10. Greewtings I am so excited I found your web site, I really found you by accident,
    while I was browsing on Yahoo for somnething else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks
    a lot for a tremndous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love thhe theme/design), I
    don’t have tme to read it all at the minute but I
    have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have
    time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the
    excellent jo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s