How to Choose the Right PoE Switch for Your IP Camera Systems?

When it comes to choosing PoE switches, you need to know that they come in many different forms. And we want to help you make sure you’re selecting the right one that’ll match your needs. IP Camera systems are an integral part of twenty-first century security, and the growing number of IP cameras has made it necessary to use specialized network hardware. A PoE switch provides power through a network cable such as Cat5e, or Cat6. A single cable can carry both power and data to each IP cameras at the edge.

PoE switches are one such device that is used in IP Camera systems to interconnect them at different locations. The market is filled with several choices of PoE switches in a variety of different configurations. So, when you’re searching for a PoE switch for your particular application, there are important considerations to be made. What factors go into selecting the right PoE switch for your situation? This article outlines some questions you should consider when thinking about how you choose the best PoE Switch for IP camera systems.

6 Factors You Should Consider When Choosing PoE Switches for IP Cameras Systems

PoE switches come in a variety of different sizes, features, and functions. When it comes to matching them up with your IP cameras, you have a lot of options to choose from. That doesn’t mean they’re all the same though! Even some similar PoE switches might not work well with specific cameras, so it’s important that you’ve done your research beforehand and have settled on the perfect one for you. Below are 6 essential factors which we think will help you decide which PoE switch is right for your system.

PoE Standard:

Many network applications require advanced PoE power capabilities. For instance, Pans, Tilt and Zoom (PTZ) types of IP cameras need much more power because of the internal engine connected to them. However, the total PoE capability of a switch depends on the underlying standard for Power over Ethernet. Although it is common to use the term PoE for the latest version, these are the best PoE switches that support standards such as 802.3af and others. There are three IEEE standards as the following:

IEEE 802.3af Standard: The 802.3af is a standard that provides a way to power devices via the network cable itself. It can supply up to 15.4W. However, only 12.95W is supplied to the camera given the power loss in the cables which is ideal for most IP cameras from industry-leading brands. If you are working with PoE switches and PoE injectors, it’s best to consult the documentation for your specific model to ensure compatibility.

IEEE 802.3at Standard: The 802.3at is another standard developed by the IEEE to provide power through your network’s Ethernet cable, up to 25. 5W. This makes it perfect for PoE Switches (Power over Ethernet Switches), which can supply power directly to PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) Cameras, so you don’t have to run a bunch of wires throughout your office whenever a camera is required, especially in situations where you require multiple cameras and want to avoid the visual clutter of all those extra wires everywhere!

IEEE 802.3bt Standard: This is the latest PoE standard developed by IEEE. The PoE 802.3bt (aka PoE++) employs all four twisted pair to send the power while the previous version only use half of the twisted pair. The PoE++ can achieve 90W PoE output from PoE switch or PoE injector, and the remaining power still can maintain up to 71W at the edge. It is satisfied the power hungry application such as WiFi 6 access point, PTZ camera with heater built-in as well as other applications.

Number of Ports:

If you want to buy a PoE switch for your business or home, it’s important to pay attention to the number of ports. The number of ports can help to inform you of the amount of equipment that it would be able to power. For instance, PoE switches with 8 ports, 16 ports, 24 ports, or 48 ports would be able to power 8, 16, 24, or 48 security cameras, respectively.

Besides, it is also important to understand the difference between the IEEE 802.3af standard and the IEEE 802.3at standard, IEEE802.bt standard we mentioned above when deciding on how many devices you can power from your PoE switches.

Full Wire Speed and Non-blocking:

A non-blocking Ethernet switch has a wire speed capacity, which means there are no delays in the transmission process across all ports and a complete transfer takes place for each packet. For instance, in a 16 port Gigabit Ethernet switch, which offers 2 Gbps full duplex capacity, the ports would handle 16 Gbps in total. However, in a surveillance network, Non-blocking switch is not necessary unless it is the core switch which will aggregate the video source from edge switches. Even it is a 4K IP cameras which will need about 10Mbps bandwidth. The H.265 compression has decrease the data rate sharply. The 16-channel IP camera will consumes less than 200Mbps bandwidth when H.265 compression is enabled.

PoE Switch Power Budget:

Meanwhile, the factor to take into consideration about a PoE switch is that the higher the power supply or wattage, the more IP cameras you’ll be able to power with your PoE switch. For example, if you’re using PTZ cameras then you may want to ensure there are enough watts for your devices because they generally require more power than fixed IP Cameras.

When purchasing a PoE switch for IP cameras, be sure to purchase a high-power PoE switch for extended video or reduce the overall number of PTZ IP cameras connected to one PoE switch so as not to overload the power supply and potentially trip a circuit breaker.

Choosing Gigabit PoE Switch or Not:

As mentioned earlier, a PoE switch not only powers your IP cameras but also handles network data traffic. A 10/100 Mbps switch may be fine enough for powering 8 PoE IP cameras, but for large IP camera like 16 IP cameras system. You might need to the Gigabit PoE switch or at least the uplink port support Gigabit speed. The PoE ports doesn’t have to be Gigabit, because most of the IP cameras only comes with 100Mbps. However, the uplink ports which will be linked to network video recorder aggregate video sources from the all IP cameras. The network data traffic could be larger than 100Mbps.

Managed and Unmanaged PoE Switch:

For your IP camera systems, you can choose between managed and unmanaged switches. Do you go with an ‘unmanaged’ or a ‘managed’ switch? The choice depends on the way that you want to control and monitor your network. If you’re dealing with something simple like plug-in devices, then an unmanaged switch is right for you. However, if (or when) the project gets more serious, it’s best to use a managed switch because of its smart features, which will allow you to configure VLANs, Multicast groups, and more with ease using the web interface!

Unmanaged PoE switches are simpler and cheaper than Managed PoE switches due to the lack of monitoring and management. They require more time for their set up, which renders them less flexible, but they have other benefits as well. However, it’s important to check your applications’ requirements when buying them because not all systems need managed switches, and unmanaged options might have worked well enough for some applications.

Conclusion

PoE switches are great for wiring up your IP camera systems. They can save a lot of running costs and allow for longer runs of devices that use power over Ethernet, such as your cameras. PoE switches are integral to any IP security system. Whether you’re just getting started or adding on to an existing setup, you need a nice reliable PoE switch, otherwise you’re going to have to get more power extenders. It is important to choose the right PoE switch for your system size and the kind of security you want. One more thing to remind, the PoE switch can only reach 100 meters (328ft) before the data start dropping. You can add the PoE extender to extend the PoE network byond 100 meters.

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