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Using PoE for Sysadmin

"802.3af makes it easy to perform tasks such as cycling power on Access Points as well as to detect a sudden loss in power to a powered device," states Albert Lew, Director of Product Management at Legra.

"The single best administrative function for PoE is the ability to hard reset a device without any special additional equipment," says Dan Simone, cofounder and VP of Product Management and Marketing at Trapeze Networks.

Without PoE and the capability to do remote control, doing a hard restart requires finding the device or finding where it's plugged in, and then physically turning it off or unplugging it. This process can be difficult when a device is mounted in a high or otherwise inaccessible place, such as within a ceiling.

"I haven't yet tested PoE for sys admin, but I'm looking at it," comments Jan Snyder, Manager of Network Services in Upland, California's San Antonio Community Hospital, who has been using 802.11 switches and Access Points from Trapeze Networks. "If I can do that from my desktop with some management software, that would be great."

And this remote control of the power can be done to multiple devices, notes Peter Doggart, Product Manager, 3Com. "We can turn the ports on and off—a simple mouse click lets an admin turn off an entire network, for example, to reboot phones or Access Points after downloading software images."

Being able to remotely turn power off can also be used to control access, Doggart adds; for example, "Some schools deploying VoIP are using Power Over Ethernet to be able to turn off the phones after hours. And it's a great tool to lock down the network."

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