3Com has unveiled a switch that provides electrical power over Ethernet wiring and interoperates with IP telephones and wireless Lan access devices, freeing users of those products from the need to have separate power cables.
All the 3Com products are the first products to adhere to a draft interoperability standard called IEEE 802.3af, said Doug Hyde, a product manager at 3Com.
Power Over Ethernet eliminates the need to connect IP telephones and WLan access points to power outlets, said Nick Lippis, an analyst at Lippis Consulting. Companies that use the technology would not need to run power lines to the devices, resulting in fewer wires running over or under desks.
3Com said its 24-port Power Over Ethernet switch, called the SuperStack 3 Switch 4400 PWR, forwards electrical power at low wattages to connected devices.
The company will add Power Over Ethernet phones in May and is already shipping a converter module that will let its existing IP telephones work with the switch instead of requiring power adapters.
Three WLan access devices can also be connected to the switch to get power so they can be placed on ceilings or other locations where power cables and outlets are not readily available.