Impact of 2017 National Electric Code on Power over

Impact of 2017 National Electric Code on Power over
Impact of 2017 National Electric Code on Power
over Ethernet Cabling
Introduction
The 2017 National Electric Code (NEC®) has been revised and will now impose new requirements on cables
running the highest power level of the next generation Power over Ethernet (PoE) standard. The majority of PoE
installations will not be affected by the new rules due to their lower power levels. However, for those that do, the
2017 NEC recognizes a new UL listing for cables referred to as Limited Power, or LP. Per the 2017 NEC, LP is
not required to run PoE but cables with this classification can simplify the installation and inspection of cables
running next generation PoE. The 2017 NEC is focused on the overall bundling sizes of cables running the
highest PoE power level, and applies only to cables permanently installed. The goal of this document is to
provide information on the new 2017 code and what the new UL LP cable listing means.
Next Generation Power over Ethernet
The next generation of Power over Ethernet (called PoE++ or 4PPoE) introduces Type 3 and Type 4 PoE.
These new standards (IEEE 802.3bt, expected to be ratified in early 2018) allow power to be provided on all 4
pairs with up to 60W on Type 3 and 99W on Type 4 at the source. The 2017 NEC code and LP designation
applies only for systems with power levels above 60W or PoE++ Type 4. Therefore, the NEC 2017 should only
impose new requirements for a small fraction of installations as most PoE applications are Type 3 or lower.
Type
Standards
Maximum
Current
Per Pair
Number of
Energized
Pairs
Power at
Source
Power at
Device
350 mA
2
15.4 W
13 W
600 mA
2
30 W
25.5 W
PoE+
IEEE 802.3af (802.3at
Type 1)
IEEE 802.3at Type 2
PoE++ (4PPoE)
IEEE 802.3bt Type 3
600 mA
4
60 W
51 W
PoE++ (4PPoE)
IEEE 802.3bt Type 4
960 mA
4
99 W
71.3 W
PoE
NEC 2017
not a concern
NEC 2017
imposes new
requirements
COTB11-WW-ENG Rev.0, 11/2016
©2016 Panduit Corp. All rights reserved.
Impact of 2017 National Electric Code on Power over Ethernet Cabling
What is LP?
LP is an acronym for a new UL certification - Limited Power. This new certification applies to communications
cables permanently installed in the United States, being used in Power over Ethernet (PoE) applications. Per
UL, “the “-LP” cable designation indicates that the cable has been evaluated to carry the marked current under
installation scenarios without exceeding the temperature rating of the cable.” Patch cords are not subject to the
2017 NEC code.
Cables with the LP designation are not restricted in bundle size for carrying currents up to the UL-certified
current rating. To be clear, the LP certification is not required to run PoE. Per the 2017 NEC code, cable
without the LP designation is only limited in bundle size in Type 4 PoE applications. The maximum bundle size
for non-LP cables is provided by an ampacity table in the code. Hence, while LP is not required for PoE, it may
simplify the installation and inspection process.
There will be new markings on the print string of LP certified cables. Below are two examples and what each
portion of the marking means:
CMP
LP
(0.7A)
CMR
LP
(0.5A)
Flame Rating
per NFPA 262
Limited
Power
Maximum
current per wire
PoE transmits power per pair, meaning that half the current is transmitted down each wire of the twisted pair.
Therefore, the 960 mA current for Type 4 PoE refers to 960 mA being transmitted over both wires of the pair.
However, the LP designation only shows the maximum current per wire. What that means is that you must
double the LP cable rating to determine the maximum current per pair. The maximum current per pair is then
directly related to the maximum power that can be supplied to the end device(s). See the table below:
0.5
Max Current
per Pair
1.0
0.6
1.2
120
0.7
1.4
140
LP Rating (A)
Power (W)
100
Having a higher designation indicates that the cable has superior PoE performance and will be able to handle
the heat load better than a lower rated LP cable. However, there are no PoE standards beyond 100W.
Therefore, a LP rating of 0.5A is suitable for all current applications including the pending IEEE 802.3bt Type 4
and will be for the foreseeable future.
If running Type 4 PoE, cables without LP certification are subject to inspection to ensure bundle size and
current limitations per the ampacity table below are not exceeded.
COTB11-WW-ENG Rev.0, 11/2016
©2016 Panduit Corp. All rights reserved.
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Impact of 2017 National Electric Code on Power over Ethernet Cabling
Panduit’s cables have received an LP listing to the levels listed below. All of these cables have obtained a
rating equal to or greater than those required by current and future PoE standards.
Category
Category 6
Category 6A
Fire/Construction
Plenum UTP
Plenum UTP
Riser UTP
Plenum F/UTP
Riser F/UTP
Panduit Part Number
PUP6504**-UY
PUP6AM04**-UG
PUR6AM04**-CG
PUR6A04**-UG
PFP6X04**-UG
PFR6X04**-CG
LP Rating
0.5A or better
0.6A or better
0.5A
0.5A
0.7A
0.5A
Ampacity Table for Type 4 PoE with non-LP Cables
To use the ampacity table, one must understand:




Cable wire gauge (likely 23AWG for standard Cat 6 and 6A cables)
Temperature rating of the cable
Ampacity of the PoE circuit. A 0.5A rating is sufficient to support all current PoE applications
An LP rating is NOT required to run PoE++, however, cables without the LP listing will require
inspection (Type 4 only) to ensure that bundle sizes meet the ampacity table guidelines
For the following examples, let’s assume a switch is powering an end device requiring the highest level of PoE.
As we have shown previously, this corresponds to a 0.5A ampacity. A standard 23AWG cable rated at 60oC,
the maximum bundle size is highlighted with the green circle as being 91 cables. For a 23 AWG cable rated at
75oC, the maximum bundle size is highlighted with a blue circle as being 192 cables. The installer and
inspector would both need to verify the wire gauge, temperature rating of the cable, and bundle sizes to ensure
the ampacity table is being met. With LP cables, all that will need to be verified is that the cable has an LP 0.5A
listing. To be clear, LP certification is not mandatory but will streamline the installation and inspection process
by removing the need to use the table below.
Why is the LP rating important?
The LP rating provides installers, designers, and engineers the ability to ensure their installation will be
compliant to the 2017 NEC code without an inspection to the ampacity table.
It is important to note that although the latest revision of the NEC has been passed, it is up to state or local
governments to adopt and enforce it. Therefore, the timing of when the 2017 code will be enforced varies
greatly depending upon location. The map below shows the different NEC versions currently in use in each
state, as of the publication time of this document.
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©2016 Panduit Corp. All rights reserved.
3
Impact of 2017 National Electric Code on Power over Ethernet Cabling
Note that several states, such as Illinois, have no statewide adoption of the code; instead adoption is at the
local level. At the publication time of this document, it is unclear how inspection will occur. The most common
speculation is that inspection will be by application type.
What products are affected?
The new regulations only apply to permanent horizontal communications cable that will power end devices at
levels over 60W. Patch cables will be unaffected.
Summary





The 2017 NEC code applies to permanently installed cables running PoE++ Type 4; PoE Type 1, 2,
and 3 are not affected by the NEC code
Patch cords are not affected
The code created a new Limited Power (LP) listing
An LP rating is NOT required to run PoE++, however, cables without the LP listing will require
inspection to ensure that bundle sizes meet the ampacity table guidelines
An LP rating of 0.5A or higher is required for PoE++ Type 4 installations without inspection
More information regarding PoE
For more information regarding PoE, please see the Panduit Technology Brief entitled Power over Ethernet with
Panduit Copper Cabling at Panduit.com.
COTB11-WW-ENG Rev.0, 11/2016
©2016 Panduit Corp. All rights reserved.
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