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PoE controller lowers BOM cost

Posted: 13 Apr 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PoE controller? Power over Ethernet? residential gateway?

Silicon Laboratories Inc.'s single-port Power over Ethernet (PoE) controller claims to offer "plug-and-play" simplicity to embedded power sourcing equipment (PSE) designs. According to the company, the Si3462 controller eases the development of PSE endpoints such as residential gateways, STBs, fiber optic media converters, and surveillance and security systems that connect to powered devices (PD). These include VoIP phones, security cameras, keypads, network attached storage and WiFi access points.

The Si3462 controller is described by Silicon Labs as a complete, cost-effective single-port PoE and PoE+ PSE solution. When deployed with the new Classification Optional Mode, the controller eliminates the need for up to 10 discrete components, reducing the total BOM cost for embedded PSE to as little as $1.60, said the company. 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, explained Silicon Labs.

The controller's 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, boasted the company. 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. It continuously monitors the power delivered to PDs, ensuring that each PD is operating safely and within all IEEE-required PoE/PoE+ specifications.

The Si3462 controller claims to provide a range 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 controller also easily supports midspan power injectors widely used in small business and enterprise LANs. 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 available in production quantities in a 3 x 3mm QFN package. The Si3462 is priced at $0.95 in 10,000-unit quantities. To help developers reduce development time and cost, Silicon Labs 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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