Cool stuff... 3Com launches Power over Ethernet family POE eliminates need for power connections on each device By Gillian Law March 12, 2003 HANOVER, GERMANY -- 3Com launched a range of Power over Ethernet (PoE) products at the CeBIT trade show here Wednesday. The company introduced a PoE-enabled switch, called the SuperStack 3 Switch 4400 PWR, plus enhanced versions of its NBX IP telephones and WLAN (wireless LAN) access points. Power over Ethernet removes the need for separate A/C power connections for each IP phone, network device and wireless access point. 3Com's new devices conform to the IEEE P802.af draft standard that is due to be ratified by June. Each 3Com device is plugged into a 3Com network jack connected to the switch, Dave Zwicher, 3Com's vice president of products and segment marketing said Wednesday. Each network jack can take up to four devices. Not only do devices no longer need their own power connection, but one UPS (uninterruptible power supply) can be used across the system, he said. PoE has been growing in popularity, GöranFriedl, a Nortel Networks network consultant said Wednesday. Nortel launched a PoE switch in October 2002, the BayStack 460 PWR, and one of these is running all of the IP phones on Nortel's stand at CeBIT, Friedl said. "You can stack up to eight of these, with 24 phones or devices per switch. The packets coming from the IP phones are marked for highest priority." Nortel is using its standard phones, he said, with a splitter fitted to power them from the IP line. PoE is becoming popular, Friedl said, with most network manufacturers looking at it over recent months. Symbol Technologies is running the CeBIT WLAN using PoE in one of the company's first major installations of the technology, said Andreas Fauerbach, a Symbol system consultant analyst. About 200 basic access ports are spread around the site, connected to 16 Linux-based wireless switches. Most of the processing power has been removed from the access ports and is now handled by the switches, Fauerbach said. Separate power hubs provide power to both the switched and access ports, he said. 3Com's 4400 PWR switch will be available worldwide in April and will cost $2,495. The PoE-enabled IP telephones and WLAN access points will be available in April or May and prices will be similar to current products, Zwicher said.