Power over Ethernet (POE) is a technology that lets network cables carry electrical power.
For example, a digital security camera normally requires two connections to be made when it is installed:
A network connection, in order to be able to communicate with video recording and display equipment
A power connection, to deliver the electrical power the camera needs to operate
However, if the camera is POE-enabled, only the network connection needs to be made, as it will receive its electrical power from this cable as well.
Power over Ethernet brings many advantages to an installation:
Time and cost savings – by reducing the time and expense of having electrical power cabling installed. Network cables do not require a qualified electrician to fit them, and can be located anywhere.
Flexibility – without being tethered to an electrical outlet, devices such as IP cameras and wireless access points can be located wherever they are needed most, and repositioned easily if required.
Safety – POE delivery is intelligent, and designed to protect network equipment from overload, underpowering, or incorrect installation.
Reliability – POE power comes from a central and universally compatible source, rather than a collection of distributed wall adapters. It can be backed-up by an uninterruptible power supply, or controlled to easily disable or reset devices.
Scalability – having power available on the network means that installation and distribution of network connections is simple and effective.