A trending topic within the CPE power supply industry that raises many questions on the pros and cons of each approach. In this article, we are going to examine the benefits and disadvantages of both formats.
From an economic standpoint, one clear benefit of a wall-mount power supply over a desktop is the fact that it removes the need for an AC cable. Eliminating the cable results in cost savings of around 50c per unit. Very often, for reasons explored below, desktop PSUs are specified with universal AC input range which also increases cost typically by 15c to 30c per unit depending on the power level. Most commonly, their wall-mount counterparts are generally single range. This can make a substantial difference to the overall cost for large shipments.
Operators and CPE equipment manufacturers who plan to deploy a product across multiple countries have three basic choices to consider:
- Utilise country specific versions of a wall-mount power supply which are aligned with the voltage range and AC socket style of the deployment location.
- Utilise a wall-mount power supply with interchangeable AC plug inserts, due to the mechanism which enables the interchange this approach is more expensive than a dedicated country specific power supply but still cheaper than supplying a desktop model.
- Adopt a single desktop power supply with Universal voltage range and then change only the AC cord. Whilst there can be some supply chain efficiencies associated with this approach, the unit cost will always be greater than with the wall-mount alternative.
Aesthetic / Modernisation
PSUs are continually being modernised. As technology advances, the need for power supplies to become more compact increases. Ensuring that PSUs fit in with these aesthetical advancements of the industry is critical. Wall-mount supplies have the advantage that they already offer a more compact solution to their desktop counterparts which can also enable smaller packaging, thus providing more logistical benefits, including a higher volume of products for a given container size.
Consumer expectations for miniaturisation are driving smaller and smaller CPE form factors and as the aesthetic is becoming more important power supplies are also expected to shrink in size. Improvements in power conversion components driven partially by energy efficiency legislation enable more efficient and compact designs than were previously achievable. NetBit is now regularly supporting 42W applications with wall-mount products and the power limit is trending higher with products which can support 55W in development.
In parallel with miniaturisation there has been an increase in the use of in-house design teams for Industrial Design (ID) & User Experience (UX). This has been driven by a desire to improve the aesthetics of the gateway/set top box and ensure that the power supply mirrors that design. In practice, this means that operator specific colour, texture, shape and branding may need to be adopted and in this regard, both wall-mount and desktop power supplies can be customised to match the application requirements with little to choose between the two options.
Overall, it is clear to state that both types of PSU pose varying benefits and disadvantages. Weighing up all the pros and cons, it is important for you to consider which option best caters to your needs and seek expert advice before making a final decision.