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POE deployment for residential gateways simplified

16 Apr 2012

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Silicon Laboratories Inc. has launched a single-port Power over Ethernet (PoE) controller that brings economical "plug-and-play" simplicity to embedded power sourcing equipment (PSE) designs. The new Si3462 controller eases the development of PSE endpoints such as residential gateways, set-top boxes, fiber-optic media converters, and surveillance and security systems that connect to a wide variety of powered devices including VoIP phones, security cameras, keypads, network attached storage and Wi-Fi access points.

The Si3462 controller is a complete, cost-effective single-port PoE and PoE+ PSE solution. When deployed with the new Classification Optional Mode, the Si3462 eliminates the need for up to 10 discrete components, reducing the total BOM cost for embedded PSE to as little as $1.60. In this mode, the Si3462 controller determines when a valid PD is connected at the other end of the cable and immediately applies a predetermined amount of power. This mode optimizes cost and simplicity for applications that do not require classification such as proprietary systems operating with a fixed set of PDs.

The controller's innovative architecture eliminates the need for a separate MCU and related software, simplifying overall system integration, mitigating software development costs and risks, and speeding time to market. The Si3462 device's detection, classification, power-up, fault monitoring, protection and disconnect processes all run according to hardware pin configurations without the assistance of a host processor or MCU. The Si3462 continuously monitors the power delivered to PDs, ensuring that each PD is operating safely and within all IEEE-required PoE/PoE+ specifications.

The device provides a variety of easy-to-use, pin-selectable operating modes that enable the flexible use of the device in both PSE endpoint and midspan applications. Although primarily designed for PSE endpoint products, the Si3462 controller also easily supports midspan power injectors widely used in small business and enterprise local area networks. Midspans enable a remote PD to be powered by a legacy Ethernet switch without PSE capability by inserting the midspan between the PSE endpoint and the PD.

The Si3462 controller is currently available in production quantities in a tiny 3x3mm QFN package. Prices start at $0.95 in 10,000-unit quantities. Silicon Labs also offers the Si3462-EVB evaluation kit, a comprehensive turnkey design that enables a cost-effective drop-in implementation of a single PoE+ PSE port. The Si3462-EVB is available for $95.

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