PoE Door Strike?

By Brian Rhodes, Published Mar 01, 2012, 07:00pm EST

A true PoE / network door strike would reduce costs and simplify installations considerably. Indeed, one access control vendor is marketing a PoE strike. However, what real benefits does this PoE strike deliver? Is it a true innovation or a marketing ploy? Inside this post, we explain why this device is not really 'PoE powered' and delivers no unique value. 

Product Overview

The Trine Access Techology '4850-PoE' is a thin profile, frame surface mounted strike typically used for working with Panic Bars and Exit Devices. The most interesting feature is the device's low power consumption, requiring just 3.12 Watts (.260 Amps at 12 VDC) to operate. Power savings come from having one solenoid that actuates both halves of the strike jaws while other strikes use two.

The sales literature for this device [link no longer available] describes how power can be supplied from ethernet cables plus the marketing imagery they use visualizes this:

However, when compared to the way that most PoE devices are networked, this attribute can be significantly misunderstood.

Really PoE Powered?

Examination of this strike shows that it is not PoE powered in the manner it is marketed nor is it intended to be.

This strike is intended to be powered in the typical manner as other strikes are powered, via power supplied by a control module or external linear power supply. The differentiating aspect of this strike is its low wattage requirements. These requirements are low enough that the strike can be run from a PoE powered access control controller, but the indication that the strike itself is PoE powered is at best incorrect, and at worst, misleading.

Marketing Ploy

A 'PoE power-able' strike is not a benefit unless it is also networkable, since the strike must also be connected to some form of controller device or relay to function. The Trine Strike has no form of network interface.

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The marketing hook for this device is written "Power over Ethernet (PoE) systems are growing more popular, be prepared!" While we agree with this sentiment, this statement has very little application to the product it is associated with. 

An access door controller may be PoE powered, but that attribute is important only to the networked controller and not the securing hardware. Suggesting a benefit comes from using a PoE powered strike is akin to claiming a benefit of using a PoE powered varifocal lens.  With the substantial underlying controller component absent, the claim is confusing.

Many Alternatives

A typical network based door has significant extra power available to support many electric strikes on th market. A 'regular' PoE port supplies 15.4 Watts while a typical door controller may 'pass through' 8.4 Watts to external devices. Associating the card reader deducts a further 0.9 Watts and leave us with 7.5 Watts left to be consumed by other devices, such as strikes, RTE device, keypads, etc.

Many other strikes are compatible:

All of these would comply with the remaining power budget available from the door controller. While the low consumption of the Trine strike could give it an advantage in the right situation, further analysis indicates nothing remarkable about the product. The PoE claim is especially confusing when considering that PoE has no bearing on the utility of the device compared to other similar devices.

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