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Proljik - Power over Ethernet Lighting 101 - Six Common Questions

Power over Ethernet Lighting 101 - Six Common Questions

Blog: Power over Ethernet Lighting 101 - Six Common Questions

The emergence of new technologies can often result in confusion as a consequence of limited public domain information and assumptions about how systems might work. At Prolojik, we believe that embracing the technologies that make a step change to how we operate in our industry is the best way to support the move towards modularisation, reduced on site time, labour efficiency and – most pertinently – energy efficiency.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology which will have a significant impact when applied correctly on the numerous suitable applications. But there are some fundamental questions being raised that need to be addressed by manufacturers to ensure the decisions on whether or not to proceed are taken with all the facts to hand. 

Integration vs co-existence 

Simply because PoE lighting utilises the same cabling system, does not mean that it is necessary to integrate the controls. For contract, security and operational reasons, it makes sense to deploy the PoE lighting via a co-existence approach as opposed to integration. Within Prolojik’s Lightmatrix architecture, we have eliminated the need to utilise the client’s IP addressing scheme except at specific LX848E lighting switches. This enables our systems to be delivered and maintained independently of the client’s data, whilst leveraging all of the shared infrastructure benefits. 

Power fail resilience 

Unlike many IT-based PoE systems, which require several seconds to boot-up, Prolojik’s Lightmatrix will power up and provide lighting immediately. Lightmatrix also incorporates complete emergency lighting capability, including testing and reporting. For even greater resilience, our Lightmatrix LX848 controller has integrated dual supply capability with phase-failure relays to provide the maximum level of robustness. 

Electrical compatibility with data systems 

PoE standards define a DC transmission of power in specific cores of a data cable at voltages up to 56V DC. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that all equipment connected to the infrastructure does not generate electrical noise which could negatively impact on the operational environment.

All Prolojik Lightmatrix equipment is designed compliant to EN55022 class A conducted and radiated noise and immunity to EN61204-3:2000 high severity levels. Additionally, by providing the power generation at the LX switches and load management at the LX-LED drivers, we can guarantee compatibility of the complete end-to-end system. 

Current carrying limitations of data cables 

The electrical performance of data cables and connection technologies are well documented. The table below details the typical capabilities of various grades of data cable.

Graph displaying the typical capabilities of various grades of data cable

The key to ensuring a stable design is to combine the optimum cabling with the projected lighting load. Additionally, the suitability of the connection technology should be verified. For example, good quality RJ45 connectors suitable for Cat 6 termination can support up to 1.5A per conductor. 

Delivery supply chain 

The evolution of PoE into lighting applications will result in new skills for installation teams. We are already seeing electrical contractors using their in-house data capability or partnering with specialist sub-contractors. This will neither be a de-skilling nor limitation of the current supply chain, but an opportunity to diversify the current scope of delivery. 

Connection technology and life cycle 

Prolojik has had PoE installations operational for over 5 years. PoE has been certified and deployed in applications ranging from wireless access points to CCTV for a number of years and, if designed and implemented correctly, PoE lighting will continue to have the same success. The key is understanding the application in detail and ensuring the resulting design is optimised for its needs. 

If you have questions or need assistance with a potential PoE application, don’t hesitate to contact us at lightmatrix@prolojik.com