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Definition: Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology enables ordinary Ethernet network cables to function as power cords. In a PoE enabled network, direct electrical current (DC) flows over the network cable together with normal Ethernet data traffic.

Power over Ethernet was designed for use with portable and wireless electronic equipment like Wi-Fi access points (APs). PoE allows network devices to be installed in ceilings or wall spaces where electric outlets are not within easy reach. The amount of power in watts that can be supplied over Ethernet is limited; PoE can support smaller devices but not most PCs.

A technology unrelated to PoE, Ethernet over power lines enables ordinary electric power lines to act as long-distance Ethernet network links.

Also Known As: Power over Ethernet, Power over LAN (PoL), IEEE 802.3af, IEEE 802.3at, inline power

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