How to choose between PoE, PoE+ and UPoE (POE++) switches ?

Differences between POE,  POE+ and UPOE (POE++)

PoE, the abbreviation of ‘Power over Ethernet’,is a technology that delivers power and data safely over the same Ethernet cable for the local area networks (LANs).   After many years’ evolving,  it developed several types of PoE standards.  Nowadays in market you can see POE switch, POE+ and UPOE switches.


What’s the differences between POE,POE+ and UPOE  ?   Here let’s give a brief summary:

POE was defined in the IEEE 802.3af standard in 2003, is the oldest standard for the devices which can be powered on from the switch.  Under this standard, the PoE allows a PD (powered device) like VoIP phones to receive up to 12.95W PoE wattage, utilizing just two out of the available four twisted pairs in Ethernet cabling. As power sourcing equipment, a POE switch under 802.3af supports max power consumption per PoE port up to 15.4W with a voltage range between 44V and 57V.

Later in 2009, POE+ standard (IEEE802.3at standard) was evolved.  Switches which are complied to POE+ standard can provide up to 30W of power to the connected devices, which can attend the power requirement of certian power devices like wireless access points.  Similar to a PoE network switch, the PoE+ switch also supplies power over two pairs.

Latest standard is POE++,  which was regulated under IEEE 802.3bt  in 2018.  Under this standard, PoE++ technology has two types. One is called type 3, which enables two or all four twisted pairs in a copper cable to deliver power at a PD up to 51W; and the other called PoE type 4 is up to 71W at a PD over four twisted pairs in an Ethernet cable.  UPOE (universal power over Ethernet) is not a universal standard but a cisco Proprietary, which works similar to the PoE type 3 (PoE++). It extends the IEEE PoE+ standard to double the power to a PD to 51 watts. In some cases, UPoE is also called as PoE++.

Below are more details:

Switch type PoE switch PoE+ switch PoE++ switch
IEEE standard IEEE 802.3af IEEE 802.3at IEEE 802.3bt
PoE type Type 1 Type 2 Type 3
(Cisco UPOE)
Type 4
Power to PD 12.95W 25.5W 51W 71W
Max. power per port 15.4W 30W 60W 100W
Voltage range (at PSD) 44–57V 50–57V 50–57V 52–57V
Voltage range (at PD) 37–57V 42.5–57V 42.5–57V 41.1–57V
Twisted pair used 2-pair 2-pair 2-pair; 4-pair 4-pair
Supported cables Cat3 or better Cat5 or better Cat5 or better Cat5 or better

PoE,  PoE+ and UPOE Switch: Which to Choose ?

From above table, you can find some differences over the power supply and work mode among PoE,  PoE+ and UPOE switches.  As result,  their applications are also different:

PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ Switch.jpg

802.3af switch is usually used to support devices that require the power delivery less than 15.4W, such as VoIP phones, sensors, meters, wireless access points with two antennas and simple, static surveillance cameras that don’t pan, tilt or zoom.

For PoE+ switch, it supports devices such as more complex surveillance cameras that pan, tilt or zoom, as well as wireless access points with six antennas, and video IP phones.

With a higher power wattage, type 3 of the PoE++ switch can support devices such as video conferencing system components and building management devices. And type 4 of the PoE++ switch can support devices such as laptops and TVs.

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