PoE and Smart LED Lighting: A Great Combination

PoE and Smart LED Lighting: A Great Combination

PoE and Smart LED Lighting: A Great Combination

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new imperative to ensure optimal sanitization and safety in the workplace. Business owners and facility managers are increasingly tapping into two key technologies to help with this initiative: smart LED Lighting And Power over Ethernet (PoE)


PoE delivers power and data through a single Ethernet cable, eliminating the need for expensive electricians. It reduces installation time and the cost of materials and eliminates the need for costly electricians. It provides extra security because wired connections are safer than wireless. And PoE is more reliable because it protects against outages and power spikes.

Warren Miller, manager of digital operations at Digi-Key Electronics, states:

No additional wires need to be “pulled” to power these systems, and the 13 W to 25 W available power is sufficient for most smart building remote devices. A PoE system is also lower cost because no additional wall adapter is required. A side benefit of this approach is that PoE-based devices can be easily powered on or off remotely, which supports smart-power management systems. Note that because the PoE system is separate from the main power system, it can be more easily utilized in power outage situations when a backup power source is provided to power the PoE sections of a smart building. This can be particularly helpful in LED Lighting emergency situations. 1


PoE’s latest upgrade, IEEE 802.3bt (Hi-PoE), plays a key role in delivering smart building devices’ connectivity, bandwidth, and power. Hi-PoE sends up to 100W of power—more than three times the previous standard of 30 watts (IEEE 802.3at). This significant power increase means that PoE can power devices that need higher wattage amounts—such as smart LED lighting systems.

Smart LED Lighting

Just as PoE has evolved, lighting systems have advanced from fluorescent to LED lighting. This type of lighting is so energy efficient that a single PoE switch can power and connect several commercial light fixtures.

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that “emits” light when an electric current passes through it. This process is called electroluminescence.

Reasons to Use LED Lighting

LED lighting is 30 percent more energy efficient than the next most efficient alternative: T8 fluorescent lighting. In addition, LED lighting systems have several other benefits for the workplace; they:

  • Have a longer life

  • Are more durable

  • Are a directional source of light, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers

  • Transfer light—not heat

  • Contain zero mercury and glass

  • Do not emit UV or IR radiation, reducing eye strain and fatigue

PoE LED Lighting Differs From AC-powered LED Lighting

There are critical differences between DC-based PoE LED lighting and AC-powered LED lighting.

  1. LED lights need DC power to operate; therefore, a transformer is required to convert to DC when using AC-powered fixtures. Unfortunately, this conversion can result in as much as a 20 percent loss of power. Also, the transformer itself is bulky and emits heat during the conversion process.

  2. AC-powered LED lighting requires heavy-gauge wire and a conduit—and must be installed by a licensed electrician. On the other hand, PoE systems use common Ethernet cabling and can be safely installed without an electrician because of their low wattage power. Thus, installation costs are deduced, time is saved during installation, and fixture placement is more flexible.

  3. With PoE technology, lighting can be easily paired with sensors, shades, and HVAC controllers without the need for a separate data cable.

In  Summary

PoE technology has evolved from the standard 15.4W of power to 100W, dramatically increasing the number and types of devices that it can connect and power. With the use of PoE, you will have:

  • Greater flexibility for your hybrid workplace

  • Lower costs to deploy

  • Lower costs to operate

  • Greater insight, control, interconnectivity, and automation

PoE is a smart power solution for devices such as LED lighting and beyond: sensors, HVAC, shades, alarms, USB-C laptops, TV and computer monitors, refrigerators, and office air conditioners.



1) Environment + Energy Leader: Power over Ethernet: A Smart Power Option for Smart Buildings


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