Ethernet Extender vs. Power Over Ethernet Extender: A Quick Comparison

The range of Standard Ethernet transmission is a mere 100 meters. While that may be acceptable for a small business when it is just starting out, as a business grows (both physically and in terms of work volume),  it may eventually need a longer range of Ethernet transmission coverage to operate effectively. Enter Ethernet extenders. Depending on the device you choose, you can extend the range of your Ethernet substantially. 

Is an Ethernet extender or Power over Ethernet (PoE) extender right for your business? Make sure you know what your options are and how to choose the right device for your needs.

Ethernet Extenders: The Basics

An Ethernet extender is used to extend the range of an Ethernet network beyond its traditional limitations. Depending on the type of extender, this can mean extending the range by multiple times the original limits. 


Ethernet extenders amplify and boost Ethernet signals so that data can be transmitted over longer distances while reducing the effects of signal degradation and interference. The increase an Ethernet extender can provide often depends on the specific type of material you choose to use and how it fits within your current setup and parameters. 


Ethernet extenders typically use existing copper-based Ethernet cables, such as coaxial or twisted pair cables, to extend the network. The solution you choose may depend on the specific distance you need to cover as well as your budget and the limitations of your space. 

Power Requirement

Ethernet extenders usually require a separate power source to operate. This means they will need to be plugged in or supplied with battery power, which can mean a bulkier setup or a less-convenient arrangement.


Using a standard Ethernet extender can offer a number of advantages:

  • They’re cost-effective compared to the major infrastructure changes often necessary to extend Ethernet range under other circumstances. 
  • Ethernet extenders offer flexibility in accommodating different cable types and lengths.
  • They are generally easy to install and make it simple to expand your existing network. 


While Ethernet extenders can offer substantial advantages, they can also have some drawbacks that any business should take into account before deciding on the right solution for their needs: 

  • Extenders may have distance limitations. Extending the distance of Ethernet transmission can cause signal degradation or even connectivity issues, depending on the extender type. 
  • Some Ethernet extenders may encounter compatibility issues with certain network configurations. Working with your provider to figure out your options ahead of time can make it easier to select the right choice for your needs. 

Power over Ethernet (PoE) Extenders: Understanding Their Function

Power over Ethernet extenders are used to extend both network connectivity and power delivery over a single Ethernet cable. When compared to using an Ethernet extender alone, PoE can make extended networks function much more smoothly while also providing additional benefits. 


PoE extenders transmit both data and electrical power simultaneously over the same Ethernet cable. This provides an extension of network connectivity to remote devices and an added convenience. 


PoE extenders utilize standard Ethernet cables to transmit both data and power to PoE-enabled devices, including:

  • IP cameras.
  • Wireless access points.
  • VoIP phones.

Since these devices carry their own power signals, PoE extenders can cut down on the number of wires needed to connect them to networks while also enhancing overall connectivity. Furthermore, PoE can extend both data and power to devices that might not otherwise connect effectively to the network. 

Power Requirements

PoE extenders draw power from a PoE switch or injector, eliminating the need for a separate power source at the remote device. This enables users to place devices in locations that might not otherwise have adequate power or that they might not otherwise be able to support. 


PoE extenders offer several advantages over traditional Ethernet extenders: 

  • They simplify the installation process. You do not need to have additional power outlets near your remote devices, which means decreasing the need for extended infrastructure changes when adding new devices in previously unconnected areas. 
  • PoE extenders offer increased flexibility. You can more easily deploy network-connected devices in locations where power access is limited, including areas of the building with previously limited access or wiring. 
  • Using PoE extenders can cut down on installation costs, especially when you’re dealing with a complex installation. 


While PoE extenders have clear advantages, they also come with limitations. For example, PoE extenders are limited by the maximum power budget provided by the PoE switch and injector. This means they may not be suitable for high-power devices that exceed the available power supply. Looking into the available options for your device before choosing a PoE extender is critical.

Is an Ethernet Extender Different from a PoE Extender?

A PoE extender can deliver the same advantages as a standard Ethernet extender, with the added advantage of delivering power along the same cable. While PoE extenders may not be adequate when powering high-energy devices, they can offer significant advantages, such as being able to place network-connected devices in areas where you might not otherwise have power. All with just a single cable. 

Choosing the Right Ethernet Extender for Your Network

Ethernet extenders primarily focus on extending network connectivity over longer distances, while Power over Ethernet extenders extend both network connectivity and power delivery using a single Ethernet cable. The choice between the two depends on a number of questions related to the requirements of your unique network installation. You may need to ask:

  • Do we need to deliver power to remote devices?
  • How much power do those devices require?
  • Where are our devices located? Do they have convenient power access, or do we need to extend access in order to make our installation more effective?
  • How far do we need to extend our network? Keep in mind that the limitations of the cables and options you choose may determine the right solution for your needs. 
  • What are our overall bandwidth requirements?

Finding the right solution for your Ethernet extension is critical. Make sure you understand your limitations and options as you move forward with your selection.

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