On the heels of an open call to the networking industry, the Ethernet Alliance is following up with a survey soliciting information and opinions from network- and cabling-industry professionals about the need to establish a Power over Ethernet Logo Program. The Ethernet Alliance favors establishing such a program, and is seeking the real-world feedback of professionals who have worked with PoE technology.
On August 27 the alliance held an open call to the industry, in which it emphasized the Power over Ethernet “is a name, not a standard.” Despite the fact that the IEEE’s 802.3af and 802.3at specifications are commonly referred to as Power over Ethernet or PoE, A) neither specification actually uses either of those terms, and B) the IEEE did not trademark either term. As a practical matter, that means there is no restriction on the use of either term in product packaging or marketing. In other words, products that do not comply with either the “af” or “at” specifications can (and in some cases, do) label themselves as PoE or Power over Ethernet.
In the open call, presenters David Tremblay, a system architect with HP Networking, and Jeff Lapak, a manager with the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab, explained that in the market today there exist products that do comply with 802.3af and/or at, proprietary devices that are variants of these IEEE specs, and proprietary devices that are not designed to IEEE specs and, they warned, could be unsafe to deploy.
A PoE Logo Program, they further explained, would indicate predictable Ethernet power and data delivery using 802.3 standards, as well as indicating confidence in interoperability, device reliability, and the safety of devices’ use in networked environments.
As part of the open call, the alliance explained it is evaluating industry interest and need before proceeding with the launch of such a logo program. Part of that interest-and-need evaluation is the survey, which is just two questions in length. The first question asks the simple yes/no question: “Should the Ethernet Alliance establish a logo certification program for Power over Ethernet products?” That question also includes an opportunity for respondents to provide comments in addition to the yes/no response. The second, optional question, asks for personal information of the survey respondent. By providing such information, the respondent agrees to receive communication, via email, from the Ethernet Alliance based on the information collected.