Best PoE switch pick | High Quality Recommendation

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.

Netgear Parameter Parameter



GS116NA
1.unmanaged
2.16 ports
3.Slient operation
4.Support 802.3af/802.3at

$72.99

Recommended reason:

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.

Cisco Parameter Parameter


SLM2008PT-NA

1.Smart managed
2.8-port(4reg-4PoE)
3. Support 802.3af/802.3at  


$146.64

Recommended reason:

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.

Fastcabling ParameterParameter

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  
$168.57

Recommended reason:

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.

Ubiquit Parameter Parameter

US-16-150W
1.Managed
2.16 ports
3.802.3af/at PoE compatibility
4.150W available power
$279.25

Recommended reason:

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.

How to pick the right PoE switch?

According to WiKi, “switch is a network device used for electrical (or optical) signal forwarding. It provides an exclusive electrical signal path for any two network nodes that access the switch.” Generally speaking, the network switch connects multiple ip devices together and provides the platform for these devices to data exchanging.

PoE (Power over Ethernet) switch is a special switch that can transport not only data but also power at the same time through single cat5e or cat6. For example, some of IP devices need to be connected to network in home or small office. Like all other electronic equipments, these devices require power and network communicating. With convenient switch, you have to wire 2 separated cables in order to send both power and data. PoE switch has integrated power source into network switch which can supply both within one cable. The extra power cord can be removed eventually. The PoE switch reduces the number of cables being used and simplifies system installation.

How to pick the suitable PoE switch? Consider the following points.

  • Managed vs Unmanaged

Managed     PoE switch provides the most comprehensive functions to manage your network including VLAN, CLI, IP routing, etc. User can access the switch by using web browser and set the limitations to each port. Those operations will be able to deliver more security for private and business network. Usually users require comprehensive knowledge to configure the managed PoE switch. The cost is always higher.

  • Umanaged switch is designed for users who don’t want to tweak the network setting. There is no web browser built-in to configure the parameters. It is simply plug and play. The features such as CIL, may not be available with unmanaged PoE switch.

There is new form of PoE switch appears now – visual PoE switch. The visual PoE switch had LCD screen Display built-in with some press keys on the front panel. User can access the switch by using the LCD screen and those press key. Visual PoE switch doesn’t own all the features of managed switch. Only the critical functions such as VLAN, PoE power assignment, network monitoring are available. The visual PoE switch is the form between managed and unmanaged. Providing necessary controls of PoE network while still maintains the easy of operating. It is fit for small and medium-sized company who needs easily use and higher security.333

The visual LCD screen brings extra benefit, it displays the critical information of the switch in real time including power budget taking by each ip device, data rate, and any errors messages from the switch. You don’t have to make a fuss when you meet exceptions because you know exactly which parts had gone wrong.

  • Power budget

PoE switch provides the data exchange as well as output DC power to the remote device. Check the specific before you choose the PoE switch, make sure you will have enough power budget for remote devices. The IEEE 802.3af PoE can deliver at most 15.4 watts while IEEE802.3at PoE+ can deliver at most 30 watts. Latest IEEE 802.3bt which has been named as next generation PoE is capable of output 95w high power. There is trap with these specifications. Those power budget is not the actual power the remote devices are receiving. For example, the IEEE 802.3at (PoE+) identify the maximum power injecting to the Ethernet cable is 30W, but maximum remain power has been set to 25.5w according to PoE+ standard. The power loss on the cable has to be considered when IEEE802.3 standard was developed. The remaining power for IEEE802.3af is 12W while IEEE802.3bt standard has 72W remain power.

Not only the power budget in single PoE port, but also the total budgets need to be considered as well. The PoE switch usually uses a sharing power source. A 24-port PoE+ switch with 380W total budget is capable of supplying 380W in the system, but it doesn’t mean you can connect 24 PoE+ (30W) network devices to this witch. Otherwise it will require 720W totally power budget, not 380W. It is necessarily to calculate the totally budget the system require, not only the maximum output in single ports. The PoE+ specific each ports is capable of output 30W, it doesn’t guarantee full 30W output on all the ports. It depends on the remaining power budget after taking by existed devices.

  • PoE ports – 4/8/16/24/48

There are different types of PoE switch with different PoE ports available. Usually the PoE switch has one or two extra uplink ports without power which can be connected to the main network. It is always better to preserve some ports for future usage. You never know when you will need to add the new device to the network. The second uplink port is developed these years which can be used for video recorder while setup the ip cameras surveillance system.

  • Cooling system.

The PoE switch has integrated the power sources which generate much more heat than convenient network switch. For most of electronic products, good heat dissipation and stability lead to better performance. Heat dissipation would straightly affect use life. Bad heat dissipation causes high temperature, which easily lead to short circuit and error. Especially when the PoE switch is deployed outdoors. The PoE switch need to have well cooling designed.

  • Network Self Recovering

Some of the network may hangs and freeze after long time running. Usually unplugged the network cable from PoE port can force remote device to reboot and bring back the connection. Some of PoE switch has ability to self recovering, It will detect communication link between remote IP devices, such as VoIP camera, access point. Once remote devices are hangs or freezes, the PoE switch can reboot devices automatically by switch off the power and switch on after.

So let’s sum up all the picking points:

1. Managed or unmanaged and visual PoE switch

2. Power budget (IEEE 802.3 af/at/bt standard)

3. Enough PoE ports.

4.Product performance(heat dissipation/cooling system)

5.network Self recovering(camera/access point)

Consider PoE products when you upgrade the existed system.

It saves cost and installing time. Where the network goes, the power source followed.

Consider PoE when you upgrade new devices

Some of you may have faced power issues while planning to upgrade the existed system or network devices, such as how to obtain clean and reliable power for the new devices? As we know, the power source is critical to electronic equipment. Sometimes it can even determine the use life of the whole system. In this article I would give you brief idea about how PoE system works and what are those products using PoE in the market. If you’re going to set up new equipments for your business, it would also help you know more about PoE.

In the old time, the power and data are always transported through different cables. If you take a look at the security camera, there must be two ports at the pigtail connector. One is for network, another for the power source. Sometimes you can even see the outlet closed to the camera. It is because the camera requires low voltage. The power adapts or needs to be added to convert AC power to DC12V. This is a lot of trouble, isn’t it? PoE technology can remove those outlets and allow single Ethernet cables carrying electrical power as well as data to supply your new network devices. There is no doubt that PoE delivers great value when you want to upgrade existed devices.

  • How Power over Ethernet (PoE) works?

There’s two technical term about PoE – Power Sourcing Equipment(PSE) and Powered device (PD). The PSE is the equipments which can inject the power to cable and the PD always stays at another end of the cable receiving the power. The power is added to the cable and transported as well as the data until it reach the PD which could be your PoE IP camera, access point, VoIP, etc. I understand you may have question. Is it safe to transport both power and data in single cable? It is definitely safe. The PoE complies with IEEE802.3 standard. The PSE always detects the signal before releasing the power to the remote PD. If the PSE doesn’t receive correct signal from PD, the PSE will never release the power. Even for the legitimate PD, the PSE will increase the power step by step and keep checking the signal until it works stably. This process calls PD signature verification.

The below is the key benefit of using PoE

  •      Remove outlet, Reduce installation time.
  •      Steady power supply and network.
  •      No-PoE product can also be used.
  •      Backup power with emergency situations.
  • PoE get rid of power outlet

The PoE technology combines both power and data together and transport in single network. This feature delivers great flexible when deploying the network equipment. Where the network goes, the power source follows. The power source are not longer the limitation. Moreover, PoE can supply clean and stable power to the equipment which can keep system running 24/7.

For example, people are upgrading the analog cameras to IP camera in their backyard or office. In the past, they need to put up a power source and network cable then it can send power and data to IP camera. While choosing PoE products, single cable will be enough. The power outlets are removed in the field. It saves the installation time and cost.

  • What are those products using PoE today?

Technically any low voltage products can be integrated with the PoE technology. There are some common PoE products in the market including PoE injector, PoE Switch, PoE extender, PoE splitter. PoE NVR.

  • PoE switch       

With the ability to provide power over Ethernet from each interface while still being able to forward frames. The PoE switch has integrated both network switch and power together. It looks no different from common switch. Only when the PoE devices are plugged in, the PoE switch can supply power as well as network. People always ask whether PoE switch can take in NO-PoE devices or not. The answer is Yes. When No-PoE device is plugged in, the PoE switch only provides the network. PoE switch is convenient choice when you need to upgrade network facilities as well.

  • PoE extender

Extend Ethernet network beyond 100m distance limit. The network signal will become unstable such as connection drop, high latency when cable distance is over 100 meters. The PoE extender is the prefer solution to extend Ethernet distance without breaking IEEE802.3 standard. As the PoE extender can take the power from PoE injector or PoE switch. No power outlet require in each of the extender. PoE extender can provide stable data translation for long distance (100m-500m).

  • PoE injector

Add the power to Ethernet cable and send to the remote PD devices. This is most common PoE solution before PoE switch. Using the injector, the No-PoE network can be transformed to PoE capability. The PoE injector are usually being added after convenient switch. The data will pass through the injector without any processing.

  • PoE splitter    

Supplies power to non-PoE devices by splitting power from data and feeding it to a separate input. Opposite to the PoE injector, the splitter separate the power from data. If the new network device doesn’t support PoE. The splitters can make the PoE works. Adding the PoE injector closed to the network devices will be able to receive the power and data from PoE switch or PoE injector.

  • PoE NVR

PoE NVR becomes popular in these few years. The NVR is the recording equipment in surveillance system and PoE NVR has integrated PoE switch to a video recorder. So the ip cameras can wire back to the rPoE NVR. It simplifies the surveillance system structure.

I will update this page once new PoE device is appeared in the market. The below is the video how to set up PoE ip camera system.