Power over Ethernet (PoE) isn’t new. Since its inception in 2003, more and more network designers are taking advantage of the cost savings of powering devices via their IP networks. One application that is quickly growing in popularity is PoE-powered IP lighting. Connecting and powering lighting devices through your IP network offers several benefits:

  • Better control because IP lights can be individually programmer via mobile client devices.
  • Efficiency and cost savings thanks to simplified installation, reduced energy consumption, and the ability to harvest data to inform other building automation systems.
  • Improved user experience, since more customized lighting conditions mean happier, more productive people.

High Power, Low Bandwidth

IP lighting is a high-power, low-bandwidth application. Unlike higher bandwidth applications such as wireless and HD video, IP lighting operates very effectively over a 1Gbps network. However, typical 1Gbps cabling can’t efficiently overcome the main challenge associated with PoE lighting – high power (60W and 100W) and the heat rise that comes with it.

IEEE 802.3bt, the PoE standard in development now, will allow transmission of up to about 100W when completed (est. 2019). Current LED lighting fixtures consume about 40-50 watts, but as the technology advances, the number of watts consumed per device will decrease. It’s anticipated that this will lead to the deployment of zone cabling architectures for PoE lighting installations. With zone cabling, one Ethernet cable will support multiple lighting fixtures, and therefore will transmit more power. The more you turn up the power, the more you turn up the heat. And heat is no friend to IP traffic.

The Key to Keeping Cool

For high-power, low-bandwidth applications like - IP Lighting, the key to success is a cabling infrastructure that can keep its cool.  That’s why Berk-Tek developed LANmark-IP, a PoE-optimized cable designed with 22AWG conductors and all-FEP insulation to protect your data even when you’re running high power through cables installed in the hottest plenum spaces.

LANmark-IP provides all the bandwidth you need to run your PoE lighting network, along with the efficiency provided with 22AWG conductors. A lot less heat is generated thereby protecting your data from the effects of heat rise.

In tests performed by TEK Center engineers, LANmark-IP experienced much less heat rise than traditional Category 5e cables while running high Power over Ethernet. The engineers tested bundles of 192 cables, all energized to 100W. As shown in the graph below, LANmark-IP experienced a temperature rise of only 19 degrees. This was 15 degrees cooler than the temperature rise of traditional Category 5e cables. LANmark-IP was 44% better at keeping its cool!

Temperature Rise of 192-cable bundle in open tray with all cables energized to 100W

IP-Lighting_TempRiseGraph

Higher efficiency means reduced energy costs

The special construction of LANmark-IP is also designed to be more energy-efficient than Category 5e and standard Category 6 cables (over 90 meters of cable). LANmark-IP is 88% efficient, which means that 88% of the power transmitted by the Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE) will reach the powered device (PD). This is significantly better than Category 6e and standard Category 6 cables, which range from 55-68% efficiency, depending on conductor size.  More efficient cables mean less energy will be required to power your devices, which means reduced energy costs.