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I GOT THE POWER (Well at least PoE)


Whether you remember these lyrics of a popular 1990’s song by Snap! or from the songs use in the hysterically funny (my opinion) movie Bruce Almighty starring Jim Carey, one cannot deny that for people who strutted their funky stuff during that era this song was a real powerhouse. Fast forward to today and I have something else that may equally provide that feeling we got back then in the form of an industrial, Full HD, all-in-one, Android PC featuring Power Over Ethernet. I can sense the sharp intake of breath or perhaps groans of bemusement, what is POE? To quote the much-maligned Wikipedia, “Advocates of PoE expect PoE to become a global long term DC power cabling standard and replace a multiplicity of individual AC adapters, whichsily centrally managed. Critics of this approach argue that PoE is inherently less efficient than AC power due to the lower voltage, and this is made worse by the thin conductors of Ethernet.” Our engineers were originally of the latter camp, that was until we got hold of one of these ourselves which we tested, then tested with one of our customers. The results were amazing and neither Sumo, nor our customers could believe what we were seeing when we put this into a production environment: bright colours, fantastic definition, great performance, in fact everything we would expect from AC/DC powered machines, yet this was powered by that trickle of electricity that comes down an ethernet cable.


The benefits of PoE are proven and well documented, especially in the area of cost and time savings. However, it is in the area of Health and Safety that things really become interesting, particularly when deploying in environments with a high combustible risk, such as in the medical or chemical industries:

  • Current limiting – is employed to protect the PSE from overload and to quickly disable malfunctioning Powered Device’s. The current drawn on each enabled port is continuously monitored, and power is disconnected if it increases beyond the allowed limit. This limit can be set to correspond to the connected device’s power class for added protection.

  • Polarity protection – provided by the bridges in the Powered Device’s power input circuitry means it can safely receive power regardless of the configuration and polarity of the voltage on the cable. This makes it immune to reverse connections on crossover cables or different types of equipment. Badly wired or incompatible equipment will either work safely or will not connect at all.

  • Automatic disconnection – of devices is performed when the monitored current falls below a minimum level, returning the cable to its original unpowered state, ready for the safe connection of another device.

  • Low voltages – used to protect installers from electric shock hazards. The voltage used by PoE (up to 57 volts) is high enough to be efficient, but low enough to be safe.

  • Standards – Being a standard, PoE mitigates the risk of using different and incompatible local power supplies, with exposed power connectors that cannot be securely fitted.

Our customer loves it so much that they have bought dozens more, we love them so much that we wanted to shout about it!

PoE represents a paradigm shift in the deployment of technology that can save your company resources whilst reducing the Health & Safety overhead. The full specification of our new PoE PC is available at ST65215BV (sumotech.com), if you want to get your hands on one then message me or drop me a line simon@sumotech.com.

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