Q&A: The State of the Power over Ethernet Market

By David Tremblay



In 2024, the Ethernet Alliance Power over Ethernet (PoE) Committee conducted a survey to assess the current state of the PoE market. We recently sat down with Ethernet Alliance PoE Committee Chair David Tremblay of HPE and Ethernet Alliance member Mark Mullins of Fluke Networks to discuss the survey results and the industry impact of the Ethernet Alliance PoE Certification Program. 

1. What is Power over Ethernet (PoE) and what benefits does it offer? 

Power over Ethernet is the delivery of electrical power to networked devices over the same Ethernet cabling that connects them to the LAN. It simplifies installation of devices by removing the need for an electric cord and power converter, and separate AC electric wiring and sockets. While IEEE 802.3 has developed three standards defining PoE operation, not all PoE devices on the market today are compliant with those standards.

2. Can you share a little background on the survey? Who was it targeted to? And what type of devices are they installing? 

The Ethernet Alliance PoE Committee conducted its survey in order to get a pulse on the industry’s knowledge and awareness of the benefits of both PoE and the Ethernet Alliance PoE Certification Program. We also wanted to understand what value the Ethernet Alliance Certification would bring to the market. So, we asked for industry feedback on PoE device purchasing trends, as well as product expectations and issues.

Survey respondents included system installers and integrators, end users, network owners, and system designers. These participants told us they’re installing Wi-Fi access points, cameras, phones, A/V and display devices, access control, sensors and monitors, computing and storage devices, lighting, point of sale devices, and medical equipment.

3. Are you seeing any changes in the types of PoE devices being installed? 

One of the more interesting data points that came out of the survey is that 33 percent plan to install high power (>51W) PoE devices in the next 12 months. This is about twice the number as compared to those who have installed high-powered devices this year. That implies a sizable jump in demand for higher power devices, as integrators find uses for the features they offer.

We are also seeing greater numbers of and increasingly diverse devices being released. New devices with more capabilities are entering the market; as such, we are likely to see an increase in installation issues. It underscores the value of Ethernet Alliance certified IEEE 802.3™-compliant PoE devices to ensure product interoperability.

4. Who is using IEEE 802.3 PoE standard devices? 

System installers and integrators, end users and network owners, and system designers all showed a strong preference for devices compliant with the IEEE 802.3 PoE standard. Only seven percent of respondents stated they don’t care if or know whether PoE devices are IEEE 802.3-compliant, leaving 93 percent who prefer compliant devices, if the option is available. So, there is a very strong desire to buy standards-based products. It’s also interesting to note that the corresponding number for systems designers is 100 percent – they don’t have any interest in deploying non-compliant devices.

5. What challenges are customers facing when installing and using PoE devices? 

Survey respondents said there are four difficulties when working with PoE devices, as noted in the table below. The survey also showed over 70 percent percent of people reported that they encountered one or more of these problems when installing and using PoE devices. 

6. How does the Ethernet Alliance Power over Ethernet Certification Program address customer issues? 

The Ethernet Alliance’s award-winning PoE Certification Program enables both swift and easy recognition of interoperable products designed in accordance with the IEEE 802.3 PoE standard and conformant to Gen1 and Gen2 Test Plans developed for the Ethernet Alliance PoE Certification Program.

The Gen1 Test Plan is based on Clause 33 of IEEE 802.3, which includes the IEEE Std 802.3af™ and IEEE Std 802.3at™ projects. The Gen2 Test Plan is based on Clause 145 of IEEE 802.3, which includes the IEEE Std 802.3bt™-2018 project. It provides additional testing to cover the new features associated with the higher power PoE that the survey showed is being increasingly installed. This includes not only four-pair power transmission but covers the increased power levels provided by 802.3bt’s classes six, seven, and eight. The user experience will be elevated by minimizing interoperability issues between standard-based PoE and proprietary powering solutions.

7. What’s the value of the Ethernet Alliance PoE Certification Program? 

The Ethernet Alliance PoE Certification Program offers a variety of benefits. It minimizes the question of interoperability and increases the likelihood of things working right out of the box. As soon as you unbox your device and connect power source equipment (PSE) with a class eight label on it, and a power device (PD) that also has a class eight label, you know that they will work seamlessly because they’ve already been certified (up to 71.3W delivered). The program also shortens installation time, improves customer support at a lower cost, boosts end-customer perception of PoE, reduces overall evaluation costs, and alleviates additional development costs. Such immediate identification is increasingly important as the desired power delivered increases. You can read more about the value certification offers on the certification benefits page.

8. What are the expectations for Ethernet Alliance-certified products? 

Based on our survey results, manufacturers and consumers do have certain expectations for an Ethernet Alliance-certified product. 77 percent expect products to be noticeably better in one or more of the problem areas. Furthermore, 80 percent would be willing to pay a five percent or greater premium for a certified product. Therefore, it’s clear that a sizable majority expect a certified product to perform better and are willing to pay more for it.

9. Are people willing to make the switch to certified devices? 

Indeed they are, given the strong demand for certified devices. As we know from our survey, users would be willing to pay a five percent or greater premium for Ethernet Alliance-certified products. There are known issues with PoE devices, and consumers want the assurance that their products will work when they want them to or more importantly, when they need them to.

10. How can people get started with the Ethernet Alliance PoE Certification program? 

You can learn more about how to get started with the Ethernet Alliance PoE Certification program on the PoE Getting Started page. Here you will find step-by-step instructions on how to get your device certified. You can also view our latest infographic on the survey we conducted. Additionally, you can learn more about the products that are already certified by viewing our Product Registry List.


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