Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog

POE (Power over Ethernet) standard of 802.3af supporting upto 15.4W power supply was introduced to provide inline power to Voice and Wireless devices like IP Phones and Access points. However, following things led to the demand for higher power –

  1. New market entrants like PTZ Camera 802.11n capable dual radio access point required higher than 15.4 W power.
  2. Inefficiency of 802.3af in its power delivery. A PoE port always delivered 15.4W of power to device, even if the device didn’t need that much.

Hence 802.3at (POE+) standard supporting power upto 30W came into act. This provided up to 30W of power and allowed devices to negotiate their power needs. For e.g. – if only 7 Watts of power is required, it doesn’t need to deliver 30W.

Need for much higher inline power led to introduction of UPOE (supporting inline power upto 60W).Cisco Universal Power over Ethernet (UPOE) is a Cisco proprietary technology that extends PoE standard to provide the capability to source up to 60W of power over standard Ethernet cabling infrastructure.


Following are the list of applications supported by UPOE (Universal Power over Ethernet) –

  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure devices like Zero Clients
  • Devices in Financial Trading like IP Turrets.
  • Some Video Conferencing devices require inline power equivalent to 60W.
  • Smaller and compact Switches can be powered directly through UPoE.
  • Certain building management & security devices can also be powered directly.
  • LED lighting systems like DEP LED lighting from Japan also require higher power in the range of 60W.

Cisco UPOE is currently available on the Cisco Catalyst 4500E and Cisco Catalyst 3850 platforms.

Benefits we can harness include –

  • Lower capital expenditures by eliminating endpoint circuits.
  • Reduce operating expenses by consolidating distributed uninterruptible power supply (UPS) deployments
  • Reduced deployment time by interoperability testing of devices
  • Reduced energy expenditure through Cisco EnergyWise
  • Extend intelligent load shedding capabilities to the devices connected to the switch

UPOE uses the same cabling standard as PoEUPOE uses all 4 pairs of Ethernet cabling to provide 60 Watt power. In the 4-pair system two PSE (Power Sourcing equipment) controllers will be used to power all the signal pairs.


Below are some of the parameters of UPOE worth sharing in this document –upoe-universal-power-over-ethernet



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