Proper Cabling Solutions for PoE Network

Ethernet cables

By running power and data transmission over a single Ethernet cable, PoE (Power over Ethernet) has found success across a variety of applications such as IP surveillance cameras, IP phones and wireless access points. However, without the right cabling and network design in place, PoE can encounter cable heating and connectivity issues that may adversely affect performance. So in this post, some cabling recommendations for PoE will be listed for your reference.

working principle of PoE switch

Issues Affect PoE Performance

Heat generation in cable bundles is one of the biggest issues that affect PoE performance. When power is added to balanced twisted-pair cabling, the copper conductors generate heat and temperatures rise. High temperatures will lead to higher insertion loss, and in turn shorter permissible cable lengths. It can also increase bit error rates, and create higher power costs due to more power dissipated in the cabling.

Cabling Recommendations for PoE

Some cabling recommendations for PoE are suggested to help lower cabling temperature.

Use Higher Category Cabling

Higher category-rated cable typically means larger gauge sizes, and as power currents increase, these larger conductors will perform better than smaller cable. Generally, higher category cabling will be necessary to minimize temperature increases while supporting PDs that require more power.

Reduce the Number of Cables per Bundle

If cables are bundled or closely grouped with other cables, cables near the center of the bundle have difficulty radiating heat out into the environment. Therefore, the cables in the middle of the bundle heat up more than those toward the outer layers of the bundle. Separating large cable bundles into smaller bundles or avoiding tight bundles will reduce temperature rise.

Design Pathways to Support Airflow

Enclosed conduit can contribute to heat issues. When possible, using ventilated cable trays would get better airflow. Open mesh cable trays and ladder racks will improve heat dissipation and create more opportunities for loosely grouping cables instead of tight bundling.

Cat 5e vs. Cat 6a: Which Is Better for PoE Cabling?

The type of cabling selected can make a big difference in terms of how heat inside the cable is managed, and how it impacts performance. Typically, Cat 5e and Cat 6a cable can be used to support PoE devices. But it’s better to use Cat 6a for PoE cabling.

With larger-gauge diameter, Cat 6a can reduce resistance and keep power waste to a minimum as it has a lower temperature increase compared to smaller-gauge Cat 5e. This better performance will provide additional flexibility, including larger bundle sizes, closed installation conditions and higher ambient temperatures. For instance, when comparing 23-gauge and 24-gauge cabling, there is a large variance in how power is handled. As much as 20% of the power through the cable can get “lost” in a 24-gauge Cat 5e cable, leading to inefficiency. In addition, less power is dissipated in a 23-gauge Cat 6a cable, which means that more of the power being transferred through the cable is actually being used, improving energy efficiency and lowering operating costs.

FS PoE Switches & Ethernet Cables Solution

FS offers fully managed PoE Gigabit switches, which delivers robust performance and intelligent switching for growing networks. Available with 8, 24, or 48 PoE Gigabit Ethernet ports, the model details of our PoE switches are listed below. Among them, the PS130-8 and PS400-24 are PoE switches, while PS650-48, PS250-8 and PS650-24 are PoE+ switches. Reliable & economical, our PoE switches are ideal for SME networks and can expand your network much more easily than ever.

FS PoE switches specification

Besides PoE, we also have various types of Ethernet cables including Cat 6a, Cat 6, Cat 5e and Cat 7 Ethernet patch cables. Most of them are in large stock and multiple cable colors are available. For more details, please visit www.fs.com.