High-power-over Ethernet in works

A "High-power-over-Ethernet" standard capable of delivering current to devices such as laptops is to be formally proposed at an IEEE meeting this November, Techworld has learned.

Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) chip vendor PowerDsine is to present a white paper proposing to double the usable power limit of 13 Watts on a 48 volt input, which has restricted the current 802.3af standard to low-power devices.

As well as laptops, the new standard would make it possible to deliver power to advanced network surveillance cameras, flat screen monitors and video phones.

PowerDsine CEO and co-founder Igal Rotem said the idea faced a number of political hurdles, but believed that it would take the industry "18 to 24 months" to come up with products once a standards committee had been formed under the IEEE's auspices.

PowerDsine -- which currently sells its own proprietary high-power-over-Ethernet systems to customers dissatisfied with 802.3af limits -- also hopes the proposal with allow a compromise between rival systems being developed by Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks.

"I am expecting to see Cisco in one camp with Nortel in another," said Rotem. PowerDsine's proposal would act to spur technical discussions and avoid the sort of confrontation that dogged the original PoE standard, he said.

The new standard would be fully backwards compatible with 802.3af and would be designed to work across all Category 5 and 6 installations. However, there would be problems with older cabling, he indicated.

The proposal will be put into the public domain in the coming weeks.