Power over Ethernet (PoE) company PowerDsine will start commerical shipments in January of a chip that it claims can reduce network switch PoE components by nearly 90 per cent.
A laptop PoE chip is also planned for late next year - and analysts predict a rapid increase in adoption now that the IEEE 802.3af standard is ratified.
The PD64012, developed jointly with Motorola, is the first, and so far only, PoE chip. It uses an application-specific integrated circuit, and switches incorporating it should appear in the second half of 2004.
PowerDsine sells its freestanding Midspan series PoE units through a few selected distributors with an international presence. These include Ingram Micro, Anixter and Comstor.
Ingram Micro's senior business manager for networking services, Jon Pearce, told vnunet.com: "We saw steady growth in PoE in the first few months of 2003, then it absolutely exploded from June onwards."
PoE is still a niche market, with the most interest being in wireless Lans and IP telephony, but growth is now increasing over 100 per cent per month, he added.
Mark Blowers, senior researcher at Butler Group, said: "It is moving from the early adopter to the mass market phase and will ramp up quickly. [Butler Group's] advice is that you want to be asking whether your new equipment is PoE-enabled."
There are currently 36 PoE-enabled switches in development, compared with about five at this time last year. And more than 100 devices are now certified to use PowerDsine PoE.
"One of the gripes of an MIS manager with wireless is the need for power in the ceiling, which means a qualified electrician, costing as much as £170 per socket," said Pearce.
"For IP telephony the saving is in not having to power up every telephone. We can also plug in a UPS to prevent network outages, which could potentially save millions."
PowerDsine said switches with 44-48 ports currently require about 1,500 components, a figure that is reduced to 200, or three external components per port, using the new chip.
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