Power over Ethernet (PoE) company PowerDsine will start commerical shipments in January of a chip that it claims will 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.
"PoE has been a bit cumbersome as a separate device, but most things are in place now," Butler Group senior researcher Mark Blowers told vnunet.com.
"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."
Using the chip, switches with 44-48 ports currently requiring about 1,500 components will now need only 200, or three external components per port.
This could bring dramatic reductions in space needed on the motherboard, labour costs in manufacture and design effort, said Igal Rotem, PowerDsine chief executive and co-founder.
PoE technology can bring big cost savings to companies by eliminating installation of power cables, outlets and uninterruptible power supplies for IT-related equipment.
IDC has estimated that the market for PoE will double to $200m next year and ultimately exceed $1bn.
There are around 36 PoE-enabled switches now in development from all major and second-tier switch makers. This compares with only about five last year.
Of these, the vast majority use PowerDsine technology. But other companies, including Texas Instruments and Linear Technology, are entering the market.
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