Interested in certifying your PoE? Don’t miss this webinar: Introducing the Ethernet Alliance Power over Ethernet Certification

By Thomas Lewis

In order to reach their true potential, all “standards-based” solutions require an easy way to identify interoperable systems. Otherwise, a promising solution is held back over confusion and/or fear. Such was the case for Power over Ethernet (PoE) – until Jan. 16, 2018.

Following a worldwide press release by the Ethernet Alliance (EA), PoE technology entered a new era by providing an easy way for the Ethernet community to design for improved interoperability and power compatibility. This new certification program also allows for faster debug/troubleshooting when PoE systems are demonstrating interoperability issues between the PSE and PD ends of the CAT-5 cable.

As Figure 1 shows, there are essentially two categories of certification marks: one for use with powered devices (PDs), the end device which uses the power, and one for power sourcing equipment (PSE) which puts the power on the Ethernet cable. In the case of PDs, the arrow points into the logo, indicating that the equipment is capable of receiving power. In the case of PSEs, the arrow points out from the logo, indicating the equipment is capable of supplying power. The number inside the boxes indicates the maximum power required or delivered in terms of “PoE class”, as defined by the IEEE 802.3™ standard (see Table 1). For those unfamiliar with PoE, these numbers directly correspond to the maximum power a PoE-enabled design can send or receive.

Figure 1: EA certification marks (logos)*


Table 1: PoE class power levels

Initial rollout was limited in scope to classes 1-4, which are already in the existing IEEE Std 802.3-2015, and were defined by IEEE 802.3af™ and IEEE 802.3at™, but work is well underway to define the test suite for verifying future designs under the IEEE 802.3bt™ standard currently in the final stages of balloting which will add classes 5-8.

Any new certification program is certain to prompt questions ranging from “Why should I do this?” to “How does one go about getting a license?” to “How much does it cost?”  If you find yourself interested in learning more, please join John D’Ambrosia, chairman, Ethernet Alliance and Huawei, Senior Principal Engineer, and Thomas Lewis, Texas Instruments, Applications and Marketing Manager, for an interactive Webinar on Tuesday, May 1 at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET. Registration for the webinar can be found at:

* EA CERTIFIED & PD Mark™ and EA CERTIFIED & PSE Mark™ and EA CERTIFIED™ are certification marks of The Ethernet Alliance in the United States and other countries. Used here under license. Unauthorized use strictly prohibited.