New and emerging power solutions offer systems integrators better ways to streamline access control installations while reducing costs, increasing system capacity, and minimizing physical space requirements. One such solution is the latest IEEE Power over Ethernet (PoE) standard, 802.3bt PoE, which grants systems installers with the necessary resources to optimize installations.

802.3bt PoE revolutionizes the power available on network infrastructure. Also known as 4PPoE or 4-Pair PoE, this new standard utilizes all four pairs of wires of an Ethernet cable to deliver a significant boost in power, providing up to 90W per port, a notable increase over previous PoE standards of just 30W. 802.3bt also supports multiple PoE classes and is backward compatible for use with older devices. In short, 802.3bt switches, injectors and media converters can distribute more power to more devices, including high demand products such as multi-sensor IP PTZ cameras, IR Illuminators, and access control hardware.   

Another key advantage of 802.3bt is its ability to support devices that previously required high-voltage AC power. Running a single low-voltage cable for both power and data connections eliminates the need for separate cables and dedicated high-voltage connections. This approach reduces installation costs, eliminates the need for additional conduits and permits, and streamlines maintenance processes. Furthermore, the 802.3bt PoE prioritizes safety by ensuring that no voltage is present on the cable until it is plugged into a powered device, making unplugging and reconnecting Ethernet cables safe and convenient.

The benefits outlined above only scratch the surface of what is possible under this new PoE standard. To best leverage the advantages afforded by 802.3bt PoE, systems installers will need to adopt power and transmission solutions to support it. This includes state-of-the-art PoE driven power supplies, power injectors, and sub-assemblies.

802.3bt PoE in Practice

To fully understand the capabilities of these devices and their associated benefits, imagine three different access control installs:

First, picture a single-door access control installation that requires a card reader, a lock, a door contact and a request to exit (REX) button. The access control panel controlling these devices is typically powered by an analog power supply (12VDC or 24VDC depending on the panel). The access control panel is then sending 12VDC of power to the reader while another analog power supply (typically set at 24VDC) powers the locks and Rex button. In this scenario, the installation would require one or two power supplies depending on the voltages that are being used, or a power supply with a voltage regulator. It would also require a certified electrician to complete the installation and/or require the installation of dedicated conduits, adding on additional costs and time.

PoE-powered access control installations work differently. In a second scenario, an 802.3bt power source, such as a high power midspan injector or PoE switch, would be used to power an access control panel that has the PoE inputs directly on the board. These inputs can be used to directly power a reader, but there are more intricacies than that. The reader or the panel will have the lock connection, connection and then the REX motion connection. Some panels will supply power, some will not, so analog power may still be required for the lock and REX motion. This type of scenario allows integrators to make use of low-voltage or data network cabling, but also introduces variations in power requirements and capabilities based on the type of hardware being used.

New PoE driven power supplies offer a third, easier option for deploying access control systems. Under this method, the PoE power source is capable of converting PoE power to analog so all devices can be powered off a single PoE port. These devices work by taking the 90W of 4PPoE coming from an 802.3BT power source and converting the 48VDC to a regulated 12VDC and 24VDC output simultaneously. In this method, the wiring remains in the low voltage and network wiring trays and there is no need for an electrician. Installers need only plug the PoE Driven power supply into an 802.3bt switch or midspan/injector at the head end to receive power, enabling security integrators to deploy new access solutions effortlessly and cost-efficiently.

Additional Benefits 

Using a power supply capable of delivering multiple voltages is crucial because all devices at the door may not operate on the same power requirements. Some devices can benefit from higher voltages, which reduces current draw. This means that a greater number of locks or components can be powered by a single PoE source, thus reducing the need for additional power supplies and associated expenses. Furthermore, the flexibility of multiple voltages accommodates voltage drop along cable runs, ensuring devices receive the necessary voltage for reliable operation, particularly over longer distances. With advancements in access control platforms supporting higher voltage inputs, the use of dual-voltage power supplies provides enhanced cost optimization and installation flexibility in meeting diverse requirements.

Best in class PoE driven power supplies will also have integral battery backup. When dealing with access systems in remote locations where power availability is limited, integrating backup capabilities becomes crucial. For instance, the 802.3bt standard, allows for approximately 72 watts availability (6 amps at 12VDC or 3 amps at 24VDC), which is sufficient for powering a complete access control system of 4 to 6 doors including charging for battery backup at the PoE driven Power Supply second option is to utilize battery backup built into an 802.3bt multiport injector. Opting for a centralized battery bank at the head end provides a more efficient solution, as it doesn't consume available power from the PoE-to-analog supply.

In addition to the many benefits of using PoE driven power supplies, many advanced multiport injectors also offer remote management options so security professionals can determine how much power each port is drawing from virtually anywhere. While using a traditional analog system requires installers to meter everything out and physically ensure everything is up and running, new advancements in remote management make it possible to gather valuable information from a simple web browser.

Getting Started With 802.3bt

As security integrators work to prioritize personnel safety alongside budgets and timetables, the demand for more efficient PoE access control deployments continue to skyrocket. To ensure security integrators are receiving the PoE power management solutions that meet their needs, it is essential to utilize products with a UL listing. UL certification ensures that the products have undergone rigorous testing and comply with industry safety standards. And while most analog power supplies for access control are UL listed, is crucial to connect PoE locks or access control boards only to UL 294 listed PoE sources as specified in their requirements. By embracing 802.3bt PoE and utilizing UL 294 listed products, security integrators can enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and better ensure the safety of their access control installations.