22-AWG Category 5e cable for Power over Ethernet applications

Sept. 25, 2015
Superior Essex says its PowerWise cable provides 88 percent power efficiency for Power over Ethernet Plus and future 4-pair PoE applications.

Superior Essex recently announced the launch of PowerWise Category 5e cable, a 22-AWG communications data cable specifically designed for devices that use Power over Ethernet (PoE) and require high levels of current. “The PowerWise Cat 5e cable provides 88-percent power efficiency for PoE Plus and future 4-pair PoE applications over 100-meter distances,” the company said when announcing the cable. “This improved power efficiency is due to the fact that 22-gauge copper wires are 59-percent larger than the 24-gauge copper wires typically used in Cat 5e cables. In comparison to typical Cat 5e cables [which have 79-percent power efficiency] and typical Cat 6 cables [which have 82-percent power efficiency], the PowerWise Cat 5e cable will yield energy savings of up to $78 and $46, respectively, over a 10-year period per powered device that draws an average of 71W over 100-meter distance.”

The company further explained that many PoE devices “will never need a data rate that exceeds the throughput capacity of Cat 5e. For devices such as LED lighting fixtures, the ongoing cost and the initial cost of the installation are the most important considerations for PoE cable selection. PowerWise Cat 5e cable combines the power-efficiency benefits of 22-gauge copper conductors with the design cost benefit of Cat 5e, versus a 22-gauge Cat 6 cable or a Cat 6A cable.”

Superior Essex stated that PowerWise Cat 5e has been designed to support the upcoming 4-pair PoE standard, IEEE 802.3bt, which will permit up to 100 watts of power to be transmitted over the same copper pairs used for data transmission. The cable has an outer diameter of 0.23 inches and is available in riser and plenum ratings.

Will Bryan, vice president of marketing for Superior Essex, explained the cable’s value: “We see the Internet of Things market falling into three groups with respect to cabling needs. Group one requires 10-Gigabit Ethernet communications, such as wireless access points, and Cat 6A cable is the only way to provide this data speed simultaneously with PoE. Group-two devices have low power demands and low data speed requirements, such as door locks. The third group has relatively high current draw, but low data communications needs and for these devices PowerWise Cat 5e is the ideal cable design from both a cost and performance standpoint.

“As the market makes plans for a world of devices that require up to 960 milliamps of current over 4-pair data cables, there is legitimate concern over the potential danger posed by the high temperature increases observed in 24-gauge wires,” Bryan added. “One solution is to use Cat 6A cables for every device that requires relatively high current, but a more-cost-effective solution is to use PowerWise Cat 5e cables for the devices that do not require 10-gigabit data speeds.”

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