The Benefits of Power over Ethernet

By: Adam Swimmer

5 Min Read

June 2, 2023

From various SimulCharge products to our Raven PoE Power Adapters, many of our mobile adapters use Power over Ethernet (PoE). But what exactly is PoE and what benefits does it offer for a tablet installation?

Definition and purpose

Simply put, PoE is a way to provide power over an Ethernet cable instead of a regular power cable. Standard Ethernet cables (Cat5 and above) have four twisted pairs of wires inside the casing, two of which are used to transmit data, while the other two are used for power. While most people only use an Ethernet cable for a wired network connection, with PoE it is also capable of providing power at the same time.

The twisted pairs of wires are kept separate from each other inside the cable. As a result, you can use PoE for power only, if your installation doesn’t need an Ethernet connection.

Top 4 benefits of PoE

PoE can offer a variety of benefits for your tablet installation so we made a list of the top four to help you see if it’s a good fit for you.

1. Simplified cable management

You don’t need a separate power cable plugging into an AC power source, such as an electrical outlet. PoE uses DC power and the Ethernet cable plugs directly into a PoE-capable network switch or injector. With less cables running around, you can have a more aesthetically pleasing and less confusing installation for your customers.

2. Powering over a longer distance

One of the biggest benefits of PoE is being able to power the tablet at a distance. With a SimulCharge PoE adapter, or other such product, you can power it up to 328ft (100m) from the power source. This gives you far more options on where to install the tablet than with an AC-powered setup, which would only give you a few feet to play with.

3. Easy installation

Because PoE uses low-voltage DC power, it is safe for anyone to set up. You do not need a certified electrician to install dedicated AC power lines and many commercial buildings already have the infrastructure for Ethernet, if not PoE. Do note that you can’t get PoE from a standard Ethernet signal by plugging it into a modem or router. However, a PoE injector or PoE-capable network switch (which includes an injector) can convert Ethernet into PoE.

4. Cost savings

Similar to point three, the ease of installation can also lead to cost savings. You don’t need to hire an electrician and if the building already has the infrastructure for PoE, your installation costs go down considerably.

PoE applications

If you are still not sure if PoE is the right choice for your installation, here are a few different applications the technology can be used for:

Surveillance systems

You can use PoE to power security camera systems. Depending on the model of camera, it may have a PoE input, or it may have separate power and Ethernet ports. In the latter case, you can use a PoE splitter, such as a Raven PoE Power Adapter, to connect the PoE signal to both ports. PoE will provide a more stable and secure network connection than a Wi-Fi surveillance setup would offer. If needed, you can also conceal the Ethernet cable for a cleaner look.

Healthcare and medical applications

SONIFI Patient Door SignagePoE is often built into the infrastructure of hospitals, making it a popular choice for healthcare and medical applications.

In the case of SONIFI Health, a SimulCharge PoE adapter powered its digital door signage, which provided staff with patient information, alerts and more, before they entered the room.

You can also power hospital check-in kiosks through PoE. With its distance advantage, the kiosk can be relatively mobile or placed in the middle of the lobby, away from the power source. This makes the tablet’s data more secure as it uses a wired network connection, instead of a wireless one. In other words, patients can sign in or staff can fill out records without any security risks.

Outdoor and remote deployments

Using PoE, you can power outdoor setups from inside your cottage, restaurant, boathouse or other building. You will simply need to run the Ethernet cable from the power source to a PoE adapter. From there, it can power a phone charging station, the lighting for your gazebo, an outdoor information kiosk or even an interactive menu on a restaurant patio table. Really, it can power any outdoor tablet installation you can think of.

Smart Office Smart office applications

PoE is also a good option for powering a tablet that controls smart devices in the office, such as lighting, temperature and window blinds.

The tablet can be mounted on the wall and the PoE adapter can be hidden in the ceiling or wall.

Smart stadium seating

StadiumLAVA has partnered with multiple stadiums, including Hard Rock Stadium where the Miami Dolphins play and Docklands Stadium in Australia, to provide PoE to power smart stadium seating.

This way fans can interact with game-related content to enhance the game experience.

Hospitality and guest services

Similar to a smart office setting, a PoE adapter can be used with a tablet to control smart devices in the hotel room. You can also use the tablet setup to communicate with staff, for example, to ask for the room to be cleaned or order room service.

Digital signage

Ethernet is a key component to most digital signage. If you plan to update the content on a regular basis, a reliable connection to the network is vital. With PoE, you can install the signage virtually anywhere – even in areas with limited access to power.

Types of LAVA PoE products

LAVA offers PoE in both our SimulCharge and power-only products. Our SimulCharge products provide the mobile device with simultaneous power and data. Here, the PoE signal is kept intact and the device receives both power and the wired network connection through its connection to the adapter.

In contrast, the Raven PoE Power Adapters split the PoE signal back into separate power and data signals. A Raven adapter can power one device over USB and provide a wired network connection to a second device with its own Ethernet port, such as a desktop PC, security camera system or network printer. A Raven adapter can also be used to provide power and Ethernet to the same device if it has separate ports for power and network data.

To learn more about LAVA’s PoE offerings, check out our website or contact us at or 1-416-674-5942.

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(Banner photo courtesy of Unsplash/2H Media)