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I am all in favor of getting this fully defined dow to the last knat.
My current thought is that it should mean a PSE sourcing power and/or a PD sinking power supplied by a PSE.
A PSE that is in standby and/or searching is not "active".
We could make it more precise by specifically limiting to an explicitly defined set of state machine states
Not if we limit the definition in the standard. If they go outside or beyond what we define then I guess they would be in "proprietary active" land.
We had lots of discussion about this and frankly I'm not sure where we ended up (Actually, the door is still open on all questions until we establish the scope of Sponsor Ballot).
Whether we sanction it or not, people will do it in the field unless we provide explicit cautions that give them good reason not to (or that is done for us by UL or NEC).
I am happy to join those who would preclude any 802.3 support for such a system. It would certainly makes things simpler.
For my interest in the use of the term "link section" it removes the big ugly complicating case.