Using Power over Ethernet to Simplify Battlefield and Avionic Networks

Power over Ethernet or PoE, allows a single cable to provide both data connection and electrical power to networked pieces of equipment such as sensors, IP video cameras and even wireless mesh nodes. PoE works across standard network cabling (i.e. CAT5) to supply power directly from the data ports to which networked devices are connected.

There are two IEEE PoE standards, with power level classifications. These two standards assure that all devices that use PoE are compatible and will interoperate with each other. The original 802.3af PoE standard provides up to 15.4 W of DC power to each device using 48V. In most cases only 12.95 W is assured to be available at the powered device as some power is dissipated in the cable. Examples of devices that only require this lower wattage power include standard IP cameras, most WLAN access points and IP phones.

As remote devices became more complex and more compute power was required at the device, power requirements at each device consequently increased. Some of these products include pan tilt zoom (PTZ) cameras and high power wireless communications devices. So, more recently, the IEEE updated the standard to the 802.3at-2009 PoE standard, also known as PoE+ or PoE plus, which provides up to 25.5 W of power for these increased power requirements. Powering devices must support 30 W of DC power to compensate for dissipation in the cable.

In battlefield and avionic communications networks, using PoE switches can provides both data connectivity and power on a single device to drastically reduce space requirements and wiring complexity. By eliminating power sources and associated wiring within a single mobile platform these space-constrained platforms can use that much needed space to support new devices to enhance communication and battlefield effectiveness.

Today Techaya announced the availability of the MILTECH 910PoE (Power over Ethernet) rugged, 8-port, MIL-STD gigabit switch. It is the only military-grade gigabit Ethernet switch on the market that supports both 802.3at and 802.3af over all 8 ports. With a total budget of 330 watts over 8 ports it supports up to 60 watts per port.

Before MILTECH 910PoE available military-grade PoE switches didn’t provide PoE to all ports — or, if all ports supported PoE, each port’s power budget would be only one-half of the required draw. Smaller devices used to take less than 7.5 watts of power, but now most sophisticated cameras and sensors now require a full 30W power draw. The MILTECH 910 PoE is the only Ethernet switch on the market that will power this new class of devices on all 8 ports while still providing data connectivity.

We’re excited about this “industry first”. If you’d like to find out more about the new MILTECH 910PoE please click here.