What is Power over Ethernet (P.O.E.) and What Devices Use it?

What is Power over Ethernet

January 17, 2023

What is Power over Ethernet?

Power over ethernet might seem like a very technical term but it’s actually quite simple. It’s a technology that allows electrical power to be sent to a device through network cables.

Traditionally when we imagine a connected device, we picture two wires - the power chord and the network cable, but with PoE, this isn’t the case. One cable can do both jobs, connecting the device to both the power source and the network data.

This makes life much less complicated and makes it easier to connect devices across a large, dispersed area.

What are the Benefits of Power Over Ethernet Devices

So, we’ve answered the question, “what is power over ethernet,” but what about its benefits? PoE - power over ethernet has a number of advantages over the traditional delivery of power to devices, so let’s take a look at them.

1. Save Time and Money

The first benefit is that power over ethernet devices are very simple, which means setting them up can save time and money. As opposed to electrical cables, network cables don’t require an electrician to fit them and can be placed virtually anywhere. This makes your life easy, allowing you to place connected devices wherever you see fit without having to worry about where the nearest power source is.

When your device uses power over ethernet, your only concern is placing it in the optimal location, you don’t have to worry about access to power.

2. Flexibility

Next up, power over ethernet devices are very flexible

Because they’re not tied to an electrical outlet, you can put them where you want and move them about as necessary. There’s no need to install new electrical outlets if you want to move your device because all you need is the network cable.

If you think about a connected device like a time clock, then this becomes very important. Time clocks are normally placed at the extremities of your building (where you may not have the same convenient access to electrical power), and you may want to experiment with placements.

This would be difficult to do with a traditional time clock, but with the added flexibility of power over ethernet, it’s no problem at all.

3. Scalability

When you have this level of flexibility and the ability to quickly and cheaply install new devices, your operations become much more scalable. You can easily add and remove devices as your business needs them.

For example, for a seasonal business, you might want to add extra time clocks as you take on more staff. With PoE, this is much easier to do because you don’t have the additional worry of sorting out electrics.

Essentially, one wire is much easier to work with than two, which means you can add interconnected devices as and when you need them.

4. Safety

Power over ethernet has been designed specifically to work with network devices. This means it's optimized to protect equipment from overload, underpowering, and incorrect installation.

Installing electrical outputs is a complicated job that’s reserved for professional electricians, but with power over ethernet, you don’t have to worry about that. Instead, you can simply plug in the ethernet cable and connect your device to power in a safe way.

5. Reliability

If your device is performing a key business function, then you can’t afford for it to lose power periodically. When you use power over ethernet, power comes from one universal source, rather than multiple wall adapters.

This means there’s less to go wrong, less maintenance to worry about, and a lower chance that your device will become disconnected.

Keeping your networks up and running is essential for your business, and power over ethernet can help ensure this happens.

Power Over Ethernet Devices

So, what is power over ethernet used for exactly?

As you might expect, with the added flexibility and convenience, power over ethernet devices are quite common in a business environment. Here are some of the devices you might find use the power of ethernet.

  • Employee time clocks
  • VoIP phones
  • Intercoms and public address systems
  • IP cameras
  • Intelligent lighting controllers
  • LED light fixtures
  • Remote point of sale (POS) kiosks
  • Network routers
  • Wall clocks using Network Time Protocol (NTP)
  • And much more…

As you can see, power over ethernet devices are excellent when you need to connect devices over a large distance, and this can see PoE used in many different scenarios

Power Over Ethernet Time Clocks

Another excellent use case of power over ethernet is time clocks.

Modern time clocks are much more than just a machine where employees punch in and out of work; they’re a highly integrated system. With something like PayClock Online, time and attendance time clock system employees can perform a number of tasks (like checking PTO), and their hours are automatically synced to editable timesheets.

To perform these functions, the time clocks need to be connected to other devices, but in many businesses, this poses a logistical problem. Time Clocks tend to be placed at the extremities of a building, often in places where there aren’t existing electrical outlets.

With a power over ethernet employee time clock, that’s not a problem though.

Thanks to the added flexibility of PoE, businesses can put up time clocks wherever they see fit, easily scaling to meet their needs. This makes life much easier for everyone and can help optimize the payroll process.

Now Use Power Over Ethernet to Upgrade Your Business’s Time Tracking

Power over ethernet can be used for many things, but one of the most useful is employee time tracking.

Being able to track and manage employee time is an essential part of any business, and the easiest way to do this is with the right time clocks. Power over ethernet allows you to easily install modern time clocks in the right locations to maximize compliance, making life much easier for administrators.

When you have accurate time data, you can then ensure a much more efficient payroll. This means employees get the correct pay, without delay!

Without good time tracking software, this process becomes much more challenging, so make sure you’re investing in good time clocks.

Power Over Ethernet with Lathem

Power over ethernet is a useful tool that not every business knows about

It’s not feasible to have electricity outlets near every device your business uses, so sometimes you need to look for an alternative option. One of the best ways around this problem is by using power over ethernet, and it also has some helpful benefits.

This allows you to power connected devices without the need for an electrical cord, giving you flexibility while maintaining safety. It’s a win-win, and an excellent solution for things like time clocks.

If you’re looking to update your time tracking hardware and need a PoE clock, then look no further than Lathem. We offer a wide range of ethernet clocks that can streamline your time tracking and make payroll more efficient.

Request a Time Clock System Quote Today!