At the NFPA Technical Meeting held on June 16, 2016 in Las Vegas, the voting members of the NFPA considered several certified amending motions involving the proposed 2017 NEC revisions related to powering over LAN cable. The members voted to uphold the recommendations of NFPA technical panels 3 and 16. As a result, new sections 725.144 covering the Transmission of Power and Data and 840.160 covering Powering Circuits have been incorporated into the 2017 edition of the NEC. In addition, a new subsection on listing requirements for LP cables has also been included. See Wire-Talk, April 2016 for details of the pending revisions. The addition of these requirements address the safety issues associated with the installation of LAN cables for powering equipment.
UL’s fact-finding investigation on powering over LAN cables clearly showed that the existing requirements in the NEC are not sufficient to ensure safe installations of LAN cable carrying power (see Wire-Talk, December 2015). The use of powering over LAN cable has been rapidly expanding with disruptive technologies like PoE lighting driving the demand for more use of LAN cables and higher power levels. Things are moving and changing faster than anyone had anticipated and the NEC needs to consider safety issues associated with the broad range of existing and developing systems. The NEC code panels recognized that there was an immediate need to include appropriate requirements limiting how much power LAN cables could safely handle in bundled installations.