What’s the Difference Between PoE NVR and PoE Switch?

“I’m going to install two IP cameras in my house. If the NVR already has PoE switch built in, just use that? Actually, I have no idea whether to use a PoE NVR or a PoE switch matching with them. So, what’s the difference between them? Can some one help me?” This article intends to explore the differences between PoE NVR and PoE switch. Let’s break down the differences and the pros and cons of each in details so that you can make an informed decision.

What is PoE? 


Power over Ethernet (POE) is a technology that lets network cables carry DC power. PoE connections offer greater flexibility in terms of where you can locate a device, because with a PoE connection, there is no need for the additional power cable. This reduces the complexity of installing in awkward locations.

You can find two kinds of PoE capable devices today: power sourcing equipment (PSE) and powered devices (PD). Sometimes a device functions as both a PSE and PD. Power over Ethernet (POE) technology sends 10/100/1000 Mbps of data and 15W, 30W, 60W, and up to 90W of power budget to devices over Cat5e and Cat6 Ethernet cables for a maximum distance of 100m.

PoE benefits organizations in 5 five primary ways — 1. reduced installation costs, 2. increased installation safety, 3. responsive deployments, 4.high performance data-gathering capabilities, and 5. productivity enhancements. POE has many applications, but the three key areas are: VoIP phones, IP cameras, Wireless access point.

What is PoE switch?

A switch is a device that allows devices on a network to communicate. A PoE switch has the Power over Ethernet functionality built into it, delivering power and data over the same cable for easy installation. It is a dedicated device that contains multiple Ethernet ports to provide power and network communications to IP devices. This allows a PoE switch to expand the reach of an NVR system because you can connect IP cameras to the PoE switch rather than the NVR. A PoE switch expands a network created by a router. Therefore, it must be connected directly to a router on the same network as your NVR. Most PoE switches have limited power, so you can only power smaller devices.

What is PoE NVR?

PoE NVR is a network video recorder with built-in PoE switch meant for use with PoE based IP cameras. Equipped with a PoE switch, the PoE NVR provides both power and network to the cameras via a single Ethernet cable. There is no need for an additional PoE switch, which will reduce the cost of equipment in theory. Simply run one CAT5e/6 cable from the camera to the NVR, and it will provide power to the camera while streaming video/audio/data all over one single cable.

The Difference between PoE NVR and PoE switch

From the above, you will see that both PoE NVR and PoE switch can provide power and data transmission. However, the former is limited in minimal network administration experience while the latter can expend the network freely. With PoE NVR, all the cameras have directly wire back to the NVR as the PoE switch is integrated to recorder box which is good and not good. If the system is small such as 4-channel IP camera system, PoE NVR makes the setup quickly. However the flexibility gets worse while the cameras are increasing. With PoE switch, multiple cameras can connect to different switch before it return to the NVR. Thinking that a PoE switch needs to be placed anywhere near your NVR or router would be a mistake when there are many camera in the system. It makes the most sense to place your switch as close to the biggest cluster of cameras as possible. This can make for a lot of short cable runs from IP cameras to switch. From there, it’s just a matter of running a single cable from that switch back to your router. The end result is that you simultaneously put all of your IP cameras on your network by running that one cable.

There’s no way to conceal the fact that purchasing an NVR with a built in switch is going to be cheaper. A standard NVR purchased together with a dedicated PoE switch will probably cost you about 25% more than the alternative. If you still have a demand for the same type of “camera hardwired to NVR” setup and your NVR is out of warranty, you’ll now find yourself needing to replace the entire NVR instead of the much cheaper network switch. The PoE switch is being integrated into the PoE NVR, if the PoE NVR go defective, the both NVR and the switch has to be replaced.

The PoE NVR is going to require that you run your cable the same way you would with an analog system. In this scenario, you’re going to be running a cable for each camera all the way back to the NVR to create your hardwired connection. Your cable length is limited, in this case, to the standard 328 feet unless the PoE extender is being deployed.

PoE IP Camera VS Analog Camera

To start with the topic, let’s make clear the definition between PoE IP camera and analog camera. PoE IP camera, also called IP camera, is a digital video camera. It receives data over the Internet through Ethernet cable. Every IP camera has its own IP address in order to connect to network to transfer images. Analog camera captures analog video image and transfers it with coax cable. The analog camera needs to convert the video to analog so that video can be received by analog devices.

Actually the comparison of IP camera and analog camera is the comparison of the traditional and new technology.

4 main differences of these two cameras will be discussed in the following.

  • Video Quality.

Undoubtedly, IP camera has higher video quality than analog camera. It offers wide or narrow field of view and better zoom-in capability. Since it uses digital signal to transmit the video, it can recognize the faces and numbers clearly. Compared with IP camera, analog camera has a overall lower video quality. Zoom-in capability doesn’t exist in the camera and the site range is limited. Not to mention the facial and number recognition.

  • Distance

IP camera has 100 meters distance limitation with Ethernet cable. Because the IP camera sends digital image, the clarity of the image will be 100% percent maintained and sent back to NVR. Analog camera can be set up to 300 meters over coax cable. Although analog connection is longer, the clarity will lose as the distance increases.

  • Cost

 Building up IP camera system is expensive. The cost of IP cameras is higher than analog cameras.

  • PoE capability

 IP camera can be powered by twisted Ethernet cable instead of running the electrical wire. But analog camera is not PoE-supported.

Except for the different features below, PoE IP camera and analog camera are powered and connected to different devices. IP camera needs to be linked to Network Video Recorder(NVR) to record videos down. There is a product called PoE NVR which can provide both power and network solutions to cameras. To build the NVR system Cat 5e/Cat 6 Ethernet cable should be applied to transmit data. Besides, IP camera is not necessary to link directly to the NVR. As the camera is on the same network that connects to the NVR, the videos can be recorded down. However, analog camera can only be connected to Digital Video Recorder(DVR). Analog cameras connect to the DVR via the coaxial cable. In the DVR system, power will not be sent directly to cameras. So, if you choose to use the DVR system, you have to solve the problem of power.

Generally speaking, IP camera and analog camera has its own pros and cons. Hope this article would give you some tips on choosing the camera system. Click here to learn more about the differences between DVR and PoE NVR.   Click here to know how to Set up Home IP Camera System with Power over Ethernet.