Maria Montero

Microchip Presents Vision of Power Over Ethernet in Automation …

What is a digital ceiling, anyway? Microchip Announces New PoE Switch for Ethernet Building Automation Design.

This week, Microchip announced through its subsidiary Microsemi an eight-port device that offers a guaranteed power of 60W per port for all eight ports simultaneously: the PDS-408G.

The 480-watt fanless switch is designed for digital lighting applications and will connect separate systems such as lighting, sensors, HVAC, and Wi-Fi access points through a single switch.

PoE Building Automation

Building automation is a term that refers to automation that is specific to the internal workings of a building. Generally this will often refer to commercial grade buildings or compounds, but the concept extends both ways towards smaller systems like smart homes and huge systems like smart cities. You can refer to this summary on building automation for a bird’s-eye view of recent developments related to this application.

Microchip, among other big players in the field, is looking closely at PoE as the solution for more connected buildings.

Interestingly, the application that Microchip has in mind for this switch is the “Microchip Digital Ceiling”:

All images are courtesy of Microchip.

The concept is that this switch carries power and data to various Ethernet terminals for connected lighting, power systems, security, etc.

In addition to providing a 60W guarantee to each port, the PDS-408G can also deliver 90W to any port.

Plenum-Rated, Fanless Design

A full space in a building is an area with a specific amount of air flow. It is an excellent place to lay power and / or communication cables. That’s because no matter how efficient the wiring system is, some heat will be generated.

The PDS-408G, combined with proper wiring, will not overwhelm the heat transfer capacity of a chamber space.

A closer look at the PDS-408-G. Microsemi image.

The PDS-408G is designed to be fanless, which can be an important specification for applications that require quiet operation. The lack of fans also helps reduce maintenance needs, as there are fewer moving parts that are not working properly.

Power over Ethernet

Ethernet can be considered as a type of local internet. It is used for communication between local networks of devices, providing Internet and data connections within homes and offices. For the curious, you can view a project using Microchip’s Ethernet of Everything (or EoE) kit from our comedy series, MIT-i.

Power over Ethernet means that the same cable that carries digital information to a remote device also delivers its electrical power. The obvious analogy is a USB cable, which can charge a smartphone and also communicate with it.

This means that only one cable needs to be run, not two. This saves time, money, and simplifies the installation process.