Power over Ethernet (PoE) makes progress

March 21, 2006
Three years since its introduction, Power over Ethernet (PoE) technologies have maintained steady growth in the marketplace, according to a new study.
Three years since its introduction, Power over Ethernet (PoE) technologies have maintained steady growth in the marketplace, according to a new study from market analyst Venture Development Corp.

The growing penetration of PoE in Ethernet switches allows enterprises to easily deploy more installations that include Ethernet applications. VDC's recently published report, “PoE: Global Market Opportunity Analysis,” estimates that the PoE Switch market will grow at a four-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32%. Similarly applications for telephony, WLAN, security, etc. are predicted to enjoy a 36% four-year CAGR.

Various implementations for in-line power exist. Some vendors offer both proprietary and standards-based solutions, but the underlying concept for each of the technologies generally stays the same. To better understand how legacy implementations for PoE have endured, VDC probed users and vendors to analyze today's market and industry preferences.

Presently, most PoE products comply with the 802.3af specification. Approximately 6% of respondents to the survey indicated their products did not, while 11% simply didn’t know. This penetration, says the study, is impressive since the technology has only been publicly available for about three years.

Meanwhile, 55% of PoE users noted that standards compliance was not a major concern, contradicting strong vendor and OEM beliefs for building standards-based solutions. Nevertheless, the varying opinions were most likely a result of unique market perspectives. PoE vendors and OEMs rely heavily on standards compliance, so customers can be more flexible and incorporate multi-vendor solutions into their architectures, while end users are more interested in implementing a working solution rather than understanding its underlying technology.



(Average Respondent Rankings: (0 = not important, 5 = very important)   

Increased flexibility:  4

Compatibility with legacy:  3.6

Improved reliability:  3.2

Cost savings:  3.2

Powemanagement, control, security:  2.2

Source: Venture Development Corp.

The enterprise communities suggested a stronger awareness for compliance than did their industrial counterparts. Enterprises are more likely to incorporate an assortment of PoE flavors into solutions, while industrial environments typically use silo architectures that encompass a one-to-one relationship between the vendor and the solution.

“PoE is still a growing technology that appears to be satisfying both the technical expectations set by end users and growth expectations set by the industry," says Spyros Photopoulos, analyst from VDC's telecom practice. "Adoption for PoE will only increase as the new higher-powered PoE Plus standard proposes to enable a broader range of supported applications."