Power Over Ethernet Lighting | Standards Michigan

Power Over Ethernet Lighting

Because the education facilities industry is the largest non-residential building construction market in the United States, and one that has aspirations for promoting sustainability, it would be a natural test bed for deployment of PoE lighting systems.  


Power Over Ethernet Lighting

November 13, 2018
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University of Alberta

The emergent #SmartCampus will include building lighting systems that receive power and control over the same wiring systems.  It is a nascent application — one that resembles the first applications of variable speed drives and LED lighting — and safe and sustainable application will not be a straight line.  Subject matter experts writing the 2020 National Electrical Code are working on the fire safety specifics while the authors of IEEE 802.3 Standard for Ethernet are working through the details about how power-over-ethernet (PoE) will effect data transmission.  The authors of the power-over-ethernet (PoE) lighting standards come from two different cultures, however:

  • Building premise wiring fire safety experts who have written the electrical fire safety rules in Article 410 of the National Electrical Code discover and promulgate leading practice through NFPA’s consensus document process in which technology safety standards are developed by a due process that seeks a balance, openness and accountability.   At best it takes at least three years to change anything.
  • Best practice for low voltage wiring for data and signaling is the province of the IEEE which has a due process.  The IEEE Standards Association due process moves faster and, because many of the members of the technical committees are funded by multi-national industrial conglomerates with deep pockets for advocacy in global markets, the conversation about PoE takes place at a faster pace.  In other words, manufacturers of smart buildings are competing ferociously to set the standard.  This competition is normal and necessary for the campus electrotechnical transformation we keep pace with.

This difference between the NFPA and IEEE electrical technology cultures informs a great deal of electrotechnology in the United States.  We see it in the difference at higher voltages as well; the divergent cultures of the committees writing the National Electrical Code and the National Electrical Safety Code being the lead example.

At the moment education facility managers will be required to conform to state level adoption of the National Electrical Code.   We have gathered many relevant documents in the link below and we will be following the balloting of CMP-3, the technical committee writing NEC Article 725 — Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 Remote Control, Signaling and Power-Limited Circuitsparticularly Sections 725.121 and Section 725.144.  Balloting on the Second Draft Report of the 2020 is now taking place and will be endorsed by the NFPA Standards Council at the NFPA Safety and Expo, July 17-20, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas.   Usually by late summer/early fall 2019, state and local governments are free to incorporate it by reference into building safety legislation.

Even the most persuasive manufacturer PoE lighting sell sheet must acknowledge the requirement to conform to the National Electrical Code.

We are happy to inform education facility manager decision making on this technology any day at 11 AM Eastern time.   (Use the login credentials at the upper right of our home page).  More specific standards action is determined by IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 18 (SCC-18); the IEEE committee charged with reconciling IEEE electrical concepts with NFPA fire safety concepts.   We also collaborate with the IEEE Education and Healthcare Facilities Committee which meets online twice on November 20th in European and American time zones and whose teleconferences are also open to the public.

The IEEE SCC-18 will meet for two days in Las Vegas (December 10-11) to formulate a position on various proposals for the application of power-over-ethernet cabling; a technology that is central to the rollout of the Internet of Things on the emergent #SmartCampus.   Contact Christel Hunter (chunter@cerrowire.com) for the agenda and login credentials to remote attendance.


Issue: [16-102] [16-130]

Category: Electrical, #SmartCampus, Telecommunications

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey, Christel Hunter, Kane Howard, William McCoy


IEEE 802.3bt-2018 – IEEE Approved Draft Standard for Ethernet – Amendment 2: Power over Ethernet over 4 Pairs

SCC-18 Workspace

Standards Michigan Workspace (Send email to bella@standardsmichigan.com for access)

Ranchview High School | Irving Texas

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