Cisco delivers 60-watt endspan PoE

July 29, 2011
Universal Power Over Ethernet technology is available in Cisco's Catalyst 4500E switch.

At the Cisco Live event held in mid-July, Cisco debuted a 60-watt Power over Ethernet technology it calls Universal Power Over Ethernet (UPOE). UPOE capability is available in Cisco's Catalyst 4500E switch in what is known as endspan PoE. Midspan PoE, on the other hand, introduces direct-current (DC) PoE into a network cabling system via power sourcing equipment such as a powered patch panel. Cisco says its UPOE technology "can offer twice the power per port over products from competing switch vendors and provides both power and network access to a greater range of devices through a single standard Ethernet cable."

According to Cisco, UPOE expands the market for PoE in the following ways.

  • Using the UPOE linecard and splitter, any device that requires up to 60 watts of power can be powered by the Catalyst 4500E, including Cisco IP phones, personal telepresence systems, compact switches and wireless access points.
  • Cisco is working with IEEE and third-party device manufacturers to standardize UPOE in next-generation, network-enabled devices.
  • Samsung and BT have integrated UPOE into some of their devices. Samsung's NC220 zero client display negates the need for a separate virtual desktop client and wall adapter for powering the desktop components. And BT's Netrix turret, which is used in financial trading room floors, can derive its power from the same Ethernet cable that provides its connection to the network.
  • Cisco has tested other devices that it says now can, via a UPOE splitter, be powered by the Catalyst 4500E. Among these devices are Oracle Sun Ray Clients, which are thin clients that are used for displaying server-hosted virtual desktops.

UPOE uses Category 5e or better cabling and standard RJ45 connectivity. The UPOE line card for the 4500E is available now. The UPOE splitter will begin shipping in September. The splitter will allow connections to additional third-party devices with a standard DC input.

Executives from the three device manufacturers that have incorporated UPOE into products had praise for the technology. Samsung Electronics' senior vice president Jeong Hwan Kim said his company "is excited to introduce the industry's first virtual desktop monitor powered by Cisco UPOE. This solution delivers a green workspace, while reducing cost and complexity."

BT's president of global banking and financial markets Andy Nicholson stated, "Cisco and British Telecom are working with our customers to deliver the next-generation trading-floor architecture with leading security, availability and manageability. Cisco UPOE is foundational to this architecture to provide resiliency to the trader desk."

And Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Linux and virtualization engineering at Oracle, said, "Oracle desktop virtualization products help customers securely access their applications from anywhere they work, whether it's a conference room, hospital room, clincial office or public kiosk, while minimizing cost and complexity. With Cisco UPOE technology, it is now easier than ever to deploy ultra low powered Sun Ray Client devices in nearly any setting without the clutter from power cords."

Cisco has authored a white paper describing UPOE's benefits, as well as the implications of four-pair powering on the twisted-pair cabling infrastructure. The paper says, "The recommendation published by cabling standards - ISO/IEC and TIA/TR-42 as part of formal liaison committee with IEEE 802.3 - indicates that UPOE can be supported over the same standard cabling infrastructures that conform to PoE Plus requirements. With maximum 51W UPOE capacity, temperature for 100-cable bundle increased 10 degrees. This is as required by PoE Plus cable standard request defined in 802.3at." The paper also includes detail on UPOE operation steps.

You can download the white paper here.

Cisco also offers a two-page "UPOE-at-a-glance" document, which you can download here.

Additionally, you can watch this YouTube video of Rob Soderbery, senior vice president of Cisco's Ethernet switching group, discussing UPOE at Cisco Live.

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