The intricate web of access points and switches that constitute our networks may be beautiful, but it doesn’t run on thin air. How to manage power responsibly, especially considering the advent of new, advanced Wi-Fi 6E access points? We may have an advice or two for you!
When discussing integrating wired and wireless networks, we can’t fail to mention Power over Ethernet requirements. As Wi-Fi vendors add more processor capabilities, radio chains, and now tri-band radios, upgrading to most Wi-Fi 6E access points usually requires recalculating PoE budgets, simply to make sure that all of our APs have enough juice to go on. And yet, surprisingly enough, it’s an overlooked element in many cases of infrastructure upgrades.
What can wrong? Well, for example we’ll have to deal with the never-ending support calls from customers complaining that APs randomly reboot all of a sudden. Very often, if an AP cannot get the power that it needs, it will reboot and try again. Especially if it has to “compete” for power with other PoE-powered devices that are plugged into a switch port, such as desktop VoIP phones.
Let’s get down to the math
How much power do we need? In most cases, standard PoE of 15.4 watts (W) will be sufficient to power dual-band 2×2:2 Wi-Fi 6 APs. However, Wi-Fi 6E brings us tri-frequency capabilities. So, 15.4 W is inadequate for three 2×2:2 radios housed in the same AP. Therefore, 802.3at (PoE Plus) power is a necessary minimum for pretty much all Wi-Fi 6E APs.
But what about 4×4:4 Wi-Fi 6E APs that offer best-in-class high-density functionality? Again, these will be tri-frequency with many radio chains. When more of these higher-end devices hit the market, as much as 45 watts will be needed to power 4×4:4 tri-frequency APs with full functionality. So now 802.3bt power is necessary because 802.3at is no longer sufficient. That means businesses need to upgrade their switches to meet new power budget needs…
...or do they?
Meet AP5010 from Extreme Networks!
AP5010, the latest introduction to the award-winning ExtremeWireless offer, is the first enterprise access point to provide full 4×4 Wi-Fi 6E functionality with across all three radios (2.4, 5 and 6 GHz) with 802.3at. What’s equally important, the AP5010 does not downgrade its Wi-Fi capabilities!
So, what are the benefits of lower power consumption?
- Achieve corporate environmental & sustainability goals: By consuming ~20 W less per device than other compatible 4×4 Wi-Fi 6E Access Points, the AP5010 can be easily considered a more sustainable and eco-friendly solution.
- Lower capital expenses: 802.3bt switching infrastructure can cost upwards of 30% more than the corresponding 802.3at version. Why would you want to spend extra to provide your switches with unnecessary power if you can manage to get away with 802.3at per port?
- Lower energy costs: While the exact price will change per provider of electricity and the agreements that you may have, the bottom-line is clear. Even when shutting off your access points overnight, you can save $10-20 per AP per year in power costs. Larger deployments with hundreds or thousands of access points could see a difference of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per year lower in energy costs!
So why spend more on power now and compromise functionality on the operating radios?