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Businesses can replace LED lights’ electrical power source with an alternate but common power source found in the networking world— Power over Ethernet (PoE). Versa Technology’s PoE Switches pair well with LED lighting installations.

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PoE LED Lighting

Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology exemplifies perfectly how technological innovation evolves over time. After the IEEE board approved standards that greatly increased power output over Ethernet cables in 2019, PoE lighting systems have reached epic popularity.

In 2020, 61 percent of all lighting is expected to be LED during a time when the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to hit its 20 billion connected device milestone.

A Bit of History

In 2000, Cisco Systems Incorporated devised PoE to support emerging Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) deployments, such as wireless LAN (WLAN) devices. Initially, PoE technology comprised of two types: Type 1 or IEEE 802.3af and Type 2 or 802.3at or PoE+. Type 1 provides a maximum power output of 15.4 watts per port while Type 2 offers a maximum power output of 30 watts per port.

In 2011, four-pair UPoE and PoH were developed, giving way to four-pair PoE in 2017. Four-pair PoE IEEE 802.3bt technology comprises two types: Type 3 which delivers a maximum power output of 60 watts with 51 watts available for compatible devices. Type 4 which delivers a maximum power output of 90 to 100 watts. Depending on the setup, Type 4 PoE has approximately 71 watts or so available for compatible devices. Four-pair PoE is capable of delivering power over all 4 pairs simultaneously with data. Lastly, four-pair PoE uses Category 5 Ethernet cabling comprised of eight cables.

Things You Need to Know About PoE LED Lighting

PoE-based LED lighting has been available since around the beginning of the 2010s. However, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that this revolutionary technology started to garner attention. In September 2019, the IEEE board approved the 802.3bt-2018 – IEEE Standard for Ethernet Amendment 2: Power over Ethernet over 4 Pairs. This new standard increased the maximum wattage, as well as required improving efficiency by reducing power loss through the cables. Around the same period, LED luminaire efficacy had also greatly improved, ushering in a new age of efficient LED light solutions.

Below, we've listed all common PoE output standards and the year they were introduced:

In 2009, the PoE+ standard IEEE 802.3at was introduced and offered 30 watts with 25.50 watts of power available for connected devices (PD).

In 2018, PoE standard IEEE 802.3bt Type 4 (Ultra PoE, UPoE) was introduced and offered 100 watts with 71 watts power available for connected devices (PD).

In 2003, the PoE standard IEEE 802.3af was introduced and offered 15.40 watts with 12.95 watts of power available for connected devices (PD).

In 2018, PoE standard IEEE 802.3bt Type 3 (4PPoE, Ultra PoE, UPoE) was introduced and offered 60 watts with 51 watts power available for connected devices (PD).

Is PoE Technology Safe to Use With My Other Equipment?

IEEE 802.3af/at/bt compliant PoE technology is very safe—much safer than any other power source. Additionally, PoE injectors and switches will not harm any computer or networking hardware. Before the Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE) sends power to a connected device, the PSE establishes a handshake that determines how much power the connected device needs. This handshake uses low voltage that is innocuous to connected devices, whether they be PoE or non-PoE.

Once the handshake is achieved, the PoE injector or switch starts sending power, prompting the PD to power on. If a handshake isn’t achieved, the PSE never sends power. All IEEE 802.3af/at/bt-compliant devices feature this built-in safety function that makes PoE technology safe.

The Benefits of PoE LED Lighting

LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) is now a well-established technology and has since replaced incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). The benefits of LEDs are well-known and include a smaller size, longer operational life, and significantly higher energy efficiency. LED lights are also cheaper to manufacture and have 802.3bt-2018 – IEEE Standard for Ethernet Amendment 2: Power over Ethernet over 4 Pairs.

PoE LED lighting represents a product that truly follows the 802.3bt-2018 – IEEE Standard for Ethernet Amendment 2: Power over Ethernet over 4 Pairs—avoiding unnecessary costs is more profitable to everyone than increased sales—by merging two completely different things: Information Technology (IT) and lighting. Common components such as computers, Ethernet hubs, network switches, low-voltage intelligent PoE drivers, and LED luminaire are all that’s needed for smart-home and building deployment. On top of that, the cost-effectiveness of PoE LED lighting solutions provides homeowners and organizations a reasonably quick return on investment (ROI).


The transmission of data and power over an ordinary Ethernet cable removes the demand for traditional AC/DC power sources and outlets to supply power to lighting. In turn, installation costs are drastically lowered, as one doesn’t need an electrician to install power. Additionally, Ethernet cabling is often already installed in most modern commercial buildings and is relatively affordable if installation is required.

Generally speaking, PoE technology has fewer points of failure. PoE powered LED lights are guaranteed continual power delivery, even if regular electrical power is interrupted. PoE-enabled switches or routers are capable of managing multiple LED lighting units.

This becomes quite useful to facility owners and managers with integrated views of their facility’s energy usage. Not only that but smart LED hubs allow network-connected devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wearables to manage lighting as users move from one room to another.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is PoE lighting?

Power Over Ethernet (PoE) lighting is a high performance, low power LED lighting network technology that is made up of sensors and fixtures. It is a smart lighting solution that combines LED lights with digital controls and is managed remotely using intelligent software. The control module for PoE lighting communicates data signals and power over a CAT 5 (or higher) twisted-pair cable.

How does PoE lighting work?

PoE lighting works by collecting and processing data. It combines electrical and communication networks into a single infrastructure so that one cable can both power and control the fixtures attached to the network. When an Ethernet cable is plugged into a fixture, it is powered, assigned a unique IP address, and automatically discovered by lighting controls software.

What actions can be controlled by PoE lighting controls software?

As long as compatible fixtures are attached to the Ethernet cable, you can control timing, dimming, lighting colors, motion sensors, and daylight harvesting for maximum comfort and efficiency. Because each fixture has a unique IP address, the user can program commands and changes into the software without having to rewire the lighting scheme.

Is PoE lighting cost-effective?

In terms of costs, PoE lighting systems are more cost-effective to install and more efficient to operate than traditional lighting. Additional remote devices can also be installed without additional electrical infrastructure. Because it does not require AC power, it saves on the cost of energy bills.

What is the advantage of PoE lighting?

One of the main advantages of PoE lighting is its cost-effectiveness. Because it does not connect to AC power, it can be installed without an electrician. It improves control over light quality and substantially lengthens bulb life.

Are there any disadvantages related to PoE lighting?

The main limitation of PoE lighting is transmission distance. Ethernet cabling standards currently limit cables to 100 meters from the switch or hub to the network interface controller. Device compatibility may also be an issue. Devices that are non-compliant require additional equipment.

Is LED lighting good for the office?

LED lighting is a good option for offices because it mimics natural lighting. This has been proven to increase employee productivity and mood. LED lights are also energy-efficient and bulbs have a long lifespan.

What are the benefits of using LED lights?

In addition to cost-effectiveness, LED lights are beneficial in numerous ways:

  • LED lights regulate the circadian rhythm of the human body because they mimic natural light. This greatly reduces the risk of sleep disorders and sleep deprivation.
  • LED lights are energy-efficient. They save about 70% more energy than incandescent bulbs. This results in substantial savings in the long run.
  • LED bulbs and products have a long lifespan. While incandescent bulbs last only about 1,000 hours and fluorescent bulbs last roughly 8,000 hours, LED bulbs last 50,000 hours or longer.
  • LED lights produce less heat than other types of lights. They have a low operating temperature and don’t make air conditioners work harder which would cause more energy consumption.
  • LED bulbs deter insects. Because they produce less heat, LED lights are less attractive to moths and bugs.
  • LED lights are eco-friendly. LED light has a carbon emission of 514-lbs of CO2 per year meaning they do less harm to the environment than their counterparts.
  • LED lights work on low voltage. This allows offices with LED lighting to work even in low power supply conditions.
  • LED lights operate in extreme climates. LED lights deliver a superior lighting experience in both cold and hot temperature settings.
  • LED lights are safe to use. They include no mercury, produce less heat, and emit negligible ultraviolet rays making them a safer choice for office and commercial settings.
  • LED lights promote productivity in offices. Because they mimic natural light and have a high color rendering index (CRI), LED lighting improves the moods of employees and creates a healthy work environment. This in turn increases production levels in the workplace.
  • LED lighting produces no noise. Unlike incandescent lighting that often warrants complaints of a buzzing sound, LED lights are quiet, even after many years of use.
  • LED lights are sturdier than other lighting options. LEDs use semiconductor material rather than neon gas or filaments making them less likely to break. Some of them can easily bear multiple falls.

What is LED lighting used for?

LED lighting is used to light offices, hospitals, shopping centers, colleges, supermarkets, schools, and homes. Soft LED lighting provides a comfortable, warm light that is good for bedrooms, living rooms, and cozy spaces. Bright white LED lighting is cool and refreshing and lights garages and industrial areas well. Daylight LED bulbs that mimic daylight and regulate the circadian rhythm work well in offices and schools.

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