How to choose a PoE switch? There is some basic knowledge to know before making the decision.
PoE switch is a special network switch integrated with Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. It can supply power and data at the same time as well as providing platform for data exchanging. The PoE switch can be classified in unmanaged, fully managed and smart managed types.
- Unmanaged PoE switch
Unmanaged means that users can’t manipulate the settings of the network and each ports. You can think unmanaged PoE switch as PoE ports extender. When there is no enough RJ45 PoE port in the field for new devices, adding unmanaged switch can simply provide the extension. Unmanaged PoE switch usually is connected to main network for uplink. It fits in the home and small business applications where people don’t want to tweak the settings.
- Fully Managed PoE switch for professional
Fully managed switch provides the comprehensive network settings to the operators. The PoE switch configuration is fully open. The user should be responsible for the setting of the switch. If the network go wrong, it is on your own make it right. The operators need to possess professional knowledge to operate fully managed switch. The switch can either access by web browser or Simple Network management protocol (SNMP). It is suitable for technician who wants to have full control of the network.
- Smart PoE switch for small and medium-sized company
The smart PoE switch can be considered as lite version of fully managed switch. The users also have access to switch through web browser. However, only basic functions are preserved. Without advanced functions, the PoE switch can be built with less powerful DSP hardware solution. Usually the smart PoE switch is cheaper than fully managed switch.
There is new PoE switch form appears these years. It is called visual PoE switch. A small LCD display screen is built-in, plus the press key buttons, the user can access and configure the PoE switch in the field without any special tools.
Price on the market: Fully Managed ＞ Smart/Display managed＞ Unmanaged
Besides, the power budget, port number and speed need to be considered while choosing PoE switch.
The PoE switch provides not only the data but also the power to the remote network devices. The IEEE802.3 standards pre-define the maximum output power of each port. IEEE802.3af provides 15.4W and IEEE802at (also name PoE+) provides 25.5W. IEEE802.3bt is the new generation technology which can inject 95W high power to Ethernet cable . It is important to understand only PoE switch and powered devices (PD) such as IP camera, access point, VoIP both comply with same standards will be able to deliver the pre-defined power budget. For example IEEE802.3at switch powers IEEE802.3af IP camera will only output maximum 15.4W, not 25.5W. Moreover, the totally power budget of PoE switch need to be aware. The PoE switch uses the share power source. The total power budget determines how much power each ports can be allocated when the system is full loaded.
The next thing is numbers of PoE ports you need. It depends on the IP devices in your network system. 4-8-16-24-48 ports PoE switches are available in the market. It is a good idea to preserve some PoE ports for future usage. You never know when you will need to add more devices to the system. The PoE switch will includes one or two uplinks ports which can be connected to main network. The fiber optical connection is available from some PoE switch for long distance and low latency communicating.
The speed and latency is another specification matter. If high speed and low latency is required, the full gigabit PoE switch is a good choose. For some special application, like the IP cameras surveillance system, the gigabit or fast PoE switch makes no difference, because the data rate of each camera is less than 15mbps. However, the uplinks port is better to be gigabit. There is where all the data gather together and pass through before reaching the up-stream network or network video recorder (NVR).
Here would show you some good products with reasonable budget and reputations.
| 1.unmanaged |
Netgear has certain popularity for networking products. Unmanaged means simply plug and play. 16 ports and IEEE802.3af/802.3at compatible are able to satisfy most home and small business application. Silent operations, no fan, work in the normal temperature such as indoor. Consider it when budget is tight.
3. Support 802.3af/802.3at
Cisco is always being networking industry leader and its products stand high quality. With smart managed, this traffic can be set and controlled through web browser for each port. IEEE802.3af/802.3at can meet most of basic equipments powered demands.
Visual Gigabit PoE
Switch with SFP
|1.Smart managed with 8ports |
2.LCD visual screen
3. Support 802.3af/802.3at and Gigabit
4. Network self-recovery/SFP slot
This LCD managed switch provides the simply and intuitive way to monitor and manage the PoE network. The critical information including the power, data, status are display on screen. No extra tools are required to maintain the network in the field. Network can self recovered automatically when remote IP devices are hangs or freezes. Consider it for small-medium business or office.
| 1.Managed |
3.802.3af/at PoE compatibility
4.150W available power
Ubiquiti has produced a lots of PoE switches. 16 ports and gigabit speed, this managed PoE switch is also 802.3af/at PoE compatibility and has 150W power source. It would be a good choice if don’t mind budget. Consider it when you want to monitor each port on the station. The PoE switch is the core component of power over Ethernet network. Other equipment such as PoE splitter, PoE extender may still require for standard PoE network. Click to check know more about other PoE devices.