PoE Switch VS. PoE Injector: Which Should Choose for PoE Networking System Setup

The Internet has become an important part of our daily lives. In order to make life more convenient, there are various network devices on the market, such as IP phone, wireless access point and IP camera. These devices not only need to get the network through the Ethernet cable, but also need to get the power through the wire. When the number of devices is large, the wiring will be complicated. How to solve this problem?

Recently, PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology has been widely used, which can transmit power and network simultaneously through a single Ethernet cable. PoE devices include power sourcing equipment (PSE) and powered devices (PD). PSE is a device for transmitting power, and then PoE switches and PoE injectors are PSEs. Devices that receive electricity are called PDs. People often ask:  PoE switch vs. PoE injector: Which one should choose? This article will compare these two PSEs to help you make a choice.


What is a PoE switch?

PoE network switches or Power over Ethernet switches are built-in PoE injection network switches. Therefore, it can transmit both power and network to the PD directly connected to it through a single Ethernet cable. PoE network switches are considered to be one of the smartest ways to invest in your network system.

PoE switches are mainly used with IP cameras, VoIP phones and wireless access points (WAP). You can usually buy 4/8/16/24/48 port PoE switches. PoE network switches can be divided into many types, such as unmanaged, managed PoE switches, outdoor PoE switches, industrial-grade switches, and 800m long-distance PoE switches. PoE switches provide power and establish network connections for IP cameras that support PoE through network cables such as Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6.

What is PoE Injector?

Power injectors are also called PoE injectors or midspans. They are small, simple hardware devices connected to your network, allowing you to power other devices through your network. There are two types of PoE injectors, including passive PoE injector and active PoE injector.

In order to add PoE to conventional non-PoE network connections, PoE injectors are often used. Although all ports of PoE switches can be used for power supply and network transmission, some older switches without PoE function cannot be used with PoE devices because they can only transmit network but not power. Fortunately, if you just want to use PoE technology, you don’t need to upgrade all your existing switches to PoE-compatible switches. Compared to replacing your original network infrastructure, PoE injector is a cheap and easy way to allow some PoE devices to be used with non-PoE switches.  

The injector injects power into the data obtained from the non-PoE switch and transmits the power and network to the PD through a single Ethernet cable (such as Cat5e and Cat6 cable). The two main benefits of using power injectors in your network are cost and flexibility.

PoE switch vs. PoE injector: The choice depends on network requirements.

Among the two PoE PSE devices mentioned above, PoE network switches are currently the most commonly used devices. Because of its high efficiency and cost-saving advantages, PoE switches are often the first choice when planning to establish a PoE network for homes or offices.

However, before PoE switches became popular, non-PoE switches were usually used in home or office network construction. When you need to add some PDs with PoE to these network systems, what would you do? In this case, you don’t need to discard the existing non-PoE switch and buy the new ones with PoE. PoE injectors can be added to each PD, saving you the trouble of upgrading switches. However, it should be noted that the PoE injector is only suitable for PoE network systems with a few PDs. If you want to add dozens of PDs, it is more appropriate to choose a PoE switch.

As the company continues to expand and homes become more and more intelligent, PoE switches are an effective part of taking your network in the right direction. Any network device that requires a small amount of power to operate and communicate on the network can be plugged into the PoE switch. PoE injectors can still meet some special needs. The latest IEEE802.3 bt standard can provide 95W high power, and the 95W PoE injector is a good choice without changing the existing network infrastructure. 10G PoE injector is another device that injects power into a 10G network. So how to choose PoE switch and PoE injector depends on the actual situation. The PoE switch has integrated the power supply in the switch, and the PoE injector is used as a power supply that can increase the power to the twisted wire and transmit the network and power to the front-end IP devices.

Practical Tips to Improve your WiFi Signal

Confronting awful WiFi signal coverage is annoying right? When you are walking into the stairs, the WiFi suddenly disappeared. If you have tried the common solutions like upgrade firmware and play with antenna to improve your WiFi signal, but they didn’t make good result. Here are some practical tips to offer. First of all, let’s figure out what causes the poor WiFi connectivity.

The WiFi employs 2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz to transmit the signal in the air which is easier to weaken by the obstructions such as the walls. One wall will weaken WiFi signal to 80%, and two walls will go down to 50% left. Some people think 5.8Ghz WiFi router can improve WiFi signal, which may not always true. If the WiFi is weaken by obstructions, the 5.8Ghz WiFi router only makes it worse. Although the 5.8Ghz WiFi router is capable of carrying higher volume data, meanwhile it compromises the penetrating capacity, which means its transmission distance is shorten than the 2.4Ghz WiFi router. An instinct way to bypass the obstructions is relocating the WiFi router. However, sometimes you will have no condition to move the router. Because WiFi router has to set closed to the network entrance. The first practical tip is that you can use a repeater to receive the WiFi signal from the main router and transmit forward to the destination. Look at the image below. There are 4 walls between the WiFi router and the bedroom which causes the dark zone. Now if we place a repeater at the living room will reduce the obstructions to 2 walls. The key is to find the path for the WiFi signal to bypass the obstructions, usually it is the L shape. The repeater should be placed at the turning point of the L.

There are two ways to repeat the WiFi signal. If you already have an old WiFi router in hand, now this is a chance to re-use it. What you should do is to connect your old router to the main router through WiFi. Actually it is not complicated as you think.

  • Re-use your Existed WiFi Router

Firstly, power up the old router and make the connection by using a laptop or Mobil phone, then login the router in the web browser. If you don’t remember the IP address or the login account, usually you can find the information at the bottom of the router. Find the reset button and depress for more than 10 seconds after the router is powered up. This operation can restore the factory setting which allows you to login with default account. In the Wifi setting page, you can see the WDS option unchecked. Mark the checkbox and it will present the network search option in the page. Use this search option to connect this router to your main WiFi network. There are two more steps to go through. Turn off the DHCP and change the IP address of this router in case that it may have IP conflict with your main router. Once you have done these setting properly, the WiFi router will work as WiFi repeater.

  • Pick WiFi Repeater

If you feel too much bother to tweak the setting in the router, you can simply buy a WiFi repeater. WiFi repeater (aka WiFi extender) works much similiar as your old router here. But the setting is simpler. The DHCP and IP address conflict issues are avoided by the default setting as the product is designed for WiFi repeating purpose. Simply plug the repeater to the AC outlet, it will create internal WiFi which allows you to access by using the mobile phone or tablet. After you login the repeater, you can connect the repeater to your main WiFi network, and the repeater will start forwarding the WiFi which works exactly the same as the above WiFi router.

  • Move Antenna Outside

The WiFi signal is being transmitted through the antenna. While there are thick walls that weaken the signal, move the antenna to another side to bypass the walls which could improve the WiFi signal. This solution doesn’t always work, because some of the WiFi signal could be consumed while transmitting along with the extension cable. It’s too weak for the remained signal to spread out. People mentioned to turn to high power antenna, I don’t recommend it, as the antenna needs to match the original power design of your router. Replace with high power antenna while the router can’t provide enough power which makes the case worse.

WiFi router and repeater try to bypass the obstructions by changing the direction. It only reduces the obstructions but not eliminates it. The seconds practical solution is to mix wire and WiFi connection. Use the wire cable to transmit network signal to the dark zones and create WiFi signal from there. There are several ways to make it.

  • Powerline Adaptor

The power line adaptor takes used or existed AC power line to transmit network data. The network signal is converted before being injected to the power line with adaptor and picked up at other AC outlet by another adaptor. After that, it will generate new WiFi signal. If you have WiFi birdhouse camera in the garden, it relies on the WiFi connectivity. Use the power line adaptor can easily extend the WiFi signal closed to the camera as long as the AC outlet is nearby. Two important things about the power line solution. The adaptor only works in the same electric meter. Both transmitter adaptor and receiver adaptor need to stay in the same meter. And the second thing is that power line requires qualification cables in the building. If the building is very old with poor cabling job, the power adaptor may have problem to transmit the data.

  • PoE WiFi access point

PoE WiFi access point receives network signal by using the Ethernet cable and generates new WiFi dignal in the field. The connection between PoE WiFi access point and the main router is cable link, which can provide reliable high speed up to 1000 gigabytes. Moreover, multiple WiFi access points can be deployed to improve the WiFi signal to coverage different areas. The advantages of PoE WiFi access point is both power and data can be transmitted to the access point by using signal Ethernet cable. Wherever the cable is, the power source follows. The power is added to cable at the router by using the PoE injector.

  • Long distance WiFi PoE extender

As we know that the cat5/cat6 cable connection is limited to 100 meters. If the WiFi signal needs to be extended over 100 meters, such as from the lake to the house, you may need the PoE extender to repeat the network signal. The PoE extender can repeat the network signal up to 500 meters. The PoE WiFi access point will be installed at the end of 500 meters and create the WiFi signal to cover the area. It’s of great convenience that the PoE extender doesn’t require power source closed to each repeater. The power is added to the cable inline by PoE injector. The power adaptors are eliminated in the daisy chain setup.

The last but not least, sometimes the poor WiFi is not caused by the obstructions, but jamed with neighbor’s WiFi, because there are too many WiFi working in the field. I saw people has more than 25 WiFi hot spots picking up in his phone, the WiFi signal is so craw so it gets jam. Sometimes you experience the poor WiFi connection occasionally such as at night or at weekend. Properly the WiFi is too crowded. People use WiFi more often in these time frames. You can simply check the WiFi hot spot with mobile phone. If in such case, except for bringing your WiFi more closely, you can switch the WiFi channel in your WiFi router to avoid the jam.

  • Channel switch

What is WiFi channel?

Think of the walkie-talkie which has different channels to communicate with each other. The WiFi router has around 13 channels, it is set to auto selection in default. What you can do is to login your WiFi router and manually switch the channel to test whether the situation improved. It is important to choose the moment to make the change when WiFi connectivity became worse. Only this moment you can know which channel is being jam. Reboot the router after you switch to new channel, your mobile device will make the WiFi connection to the new channel.

The above is the all the possible solutions that I offer for help. If you do have any new idea or all above tips still can’t improve your WiFi network, please leave a message in the comment section. Here is the article about how to set up home network with PoE switch.

What is PoE IP Camera?

Before moving to the PoE IP camera, let’s make clear what is IP camera first. IP camera, also referred to Internet Protocol camera, is a digital video camera which captures image and transmits it over the network. IP camera needs power and communicating network to function.Therefore it has to be used with Ethernet cable to send data and the power to supply the camera. PoE IP camera has integrated with Power over Ethernet technology. Both data and power are transported through single Ethernet cable(Cat 5e/Cat 6) and videos are transmitted in the same cable. The PoE IP camera simplifies the cabling job and gets rid of the power adaptor closed to each cameras.

There are many ways to power a PoE IP camera. We will go through each of them below.

PoE IP camera can be connected and powered by PoE NVR. PoE NVR, or name PoE network video recorder, is little different from the traditional NVR. PoE switch is built in the video recorder, which can provide power and data to the cameras. Cat 5 or Cat 6 ethernet cable is the standard network cable to transmit data and supply power in PoE. To link PoE IP camera to PoE NVR, only one Ethernet cable is needed. Simplified installation reduces time and cost. PoE NVR can record video files and export it as forensic footage. It isolates IP video camera system from the main network. Usually PoE NVR has four or eight Ethernet ports. If you want to set up few IP cameras in the system, PoE NVR is a good choice.

PoE switch can also power PoE IP camera. The PoE switch connect to the cameras for power supplying and data exchanging. Using PoE switch can link multiple IP cameras and the network video recorder all together. You can choose the number of ports of PoE switch based on the system design. There are 8/16/24/48 ports PoE switch available in the market. This solution is made for those who want to set up PoE IP cameras for small-medium system.

The third way to power the PoE IP camera is by connecting to a PoE injector. The injector can add the power to Ethernet cable and the power is transported to remote IP camera as well as data. Power is taken from AC outlet before converting to DC48V. Usually the injector has two RJ45 ports. The data port will be linked to network hub to receive the data. PoE port will be connected IP camera for transporting the power and data. Since there is only one PoE port, single injector can power one PoE IP camera with this solution.

The PoE injector is able to work with PoE IP camera. If the camera doesn’t support PoE, a PoE splitter can be added to convert non-PoE IP camera to PoE available. The PoE injector and splitter usually work in pair. PoE splitter receives both data and power from the injector, and then separates them into two different outputs to the IP camera.

Last way to power PoE IP camera is to use passive PoE injector. The passive injector doesn’t have any protection for the power transporting. The users should possess the basic know-how to operate passive PoE splitter. The passive PoE injector simply forwards power from the external power adapter to remote IP cameras. It can only power up low voltage device. The passive PoE injector is the primitive PoE solution which works in a short distance.

The cable distance is limited to 100 meters in PoE system. Using PoE extender can extend the network beyond 100 meters.

Different Types of Power over Ethernet Adaptor

PoE adaptor (also name PoE injector) is a product which can send power and data through single Cat 5e/Cat 6 to remote powered devices. The PoE adaptor provides power solution to a wide range of network equipments such as IP cameras, access point and VoIP phone. Due to transparency to TCP/IP protocols, no configuration is required. The PoE adapter is a plug and play product.

PoE adaptor has different types based on power voltage. There are 12V/24V/48V adaptor. 12V PoE adaptor is the most primitive adaptor. As we know, an Ethernet cable has four twisted pairs. Two of the pairs are used for data delivery, and the spare pairs sent power to remote devices. No protection protocol is used in this type of adaptor. When the 12V adaptor is powered, electricity will be sent directly to PoE devices. Usually there is passive splitter at the other end to separate the power for remote device. As the voltage will drop down sharply while the distance is increasing, the 12V PoE adaptor can only be used in the short distance transportation.

Another type of PoE adaptor, 24V adaptor, can supply more power to devices. The DC24V injects the power to the Ethernet cable and the DC12V regulator is required at the remote device in order to output correct voltage. 24V adaptor sends power to 50 meter far. Voltage drop is being taken care of by the voltage regulator.

The last type of PoE adaptor is 48V adaptor. Before introducing the 48V PoE adaptor, one point should be known. That is passive and active PoE adaptor. Non-standard adaptor has no built-in PD signature detection. The adaptor will release DC48V directly when the powered device is plugged in at the end of RJ45 connector. The standard PoE adaptor will verify the remote device before adding the power to the Ethernet cable. The PD signature guarantees the safe process for power over Ethernet solution. Signature detection can avoid the device burned out and protect from the power surge. If the powered device fails to be verified as standard PoE devices, the adaptor will stop the power.

12V PoE adaptor can be used in 12V IP access point and other low voltage devices in short distance. A passive splitter is needed to split the power from the data. As no protection is added, you must have basic knowledge about how to operate the passive PoE adaptor. If you mix up with the twisted pairs, the remote device will be damaged immediately. The 24V PoE adaptor usually works with specific products. The regulator has to be included inside to convert to DC12V. It is better to limit the distance to 50 meters because of the voltage drop. The standard 48V PoE adaptor complies with the IEEE 802.3 specification. As long as the powered device also meet IEEE802.3 standard, the solution is plug and play. The adaptor can deliver data and power up to 100 meters.

To learn more about PoE adaptor or injector, check how to choose the right PoE injector for your network.

How PoE Injector Works with Splitter for Power over Ethernet?

When building a network system, PoE technology is always good to be considered. PoE (Power over Ethernet) makes power supply and data exchange via one Ethernet cable possible. PoE injector and splitter are two major equipments for transporting the power and data over single ethernet cable. The injector adds the electricity power to Ethernet cable, and the splitter separates the power from the data at the other end. Injector usually has two RJ45 ports, one for receiving data from switch and another for sending out power/data combined signal to the remote devices. Similar as injector, the splitter also has two RJ45 ports. Instead of sending out power and data, the splitter receives data and power and then separates them for non-PoE device.

PoE injector and PoE splitter usually work in pairs. The injector sends out power and data to splitter, and PoE splitter separates data and power into two different cables to make devices work. The PoE injector and splitter solution is designed for non-PoE devices or a mixture of PoE compatible and non-PoE compatible devices.

Except for PoE injector and splitter, a non-PoE switch is required in a typical network system. A non-PoE switch provides platform for connected devices to exchange data. As the PoE injector doesn’t process the data, it has to be connected to a non-PoE switch for data exchange. The PoE injector usually has AC input so it should be plugged in AC power outlet. Now the injector can take the power from outlet and combine it with the data from non-PoE switch before sending out. The splitter stays at the other end of the cable closed to powered device (PD) such as IP camera, access point, VoIP. These powered devices receive the power and data separately from a splitter.

There are three IEEE 802.3 standards for PoE technology. As long as PoE injector and splitter comply with IEEE802.3 standard, it guarantees the power transporting with pre-defined power budget in the system safely.

Different standard provides different power budget. IEEE 802.3at, 802.3af and 802.3bt standard are commonly used. IEEE 802.3af supplies 15.4W, which is the lowest among the three standards. 30.8W power can be provided when the injector and splitter are compatible with IEEE 802.3at (also named PoE+). The IEEE 802.3bt standard is the next generation PoE which increases maximum PoE power up to 95W by taking all 4 twisted pairs wires to transporting the power.

Voltage is another factor in the PoE injector/splitter power system. DC12V and 5V are two main types of power voltage being used in the market. A lot of PoE splitter are designed for DC12V power output. If you use low voltage device like IP camera, 12V PoE splitter is the right one.

Both Cat 5e/Cat 6 ethernet cable can be used to setup PoE injector/splitter power system. Cat 5e/Cat 6 consists of four twisted pairs of wires. Two of the twisted pairs are used for data sending in fast network, which is also called data pair. The spare pairs could be employed to transport the power. Pure copper Ethernet cable should be chosen because pure copper can reduce the power loss on the cable. The electricity transporting on conducts will generate energy loss and be converted to heat. If the low quality cable is picked, the power loss will become serious.

Using PoE injector and splitter solution simplifies network system setup. The AC outlet is removed at the front end and the power is sent by the injector from the center. It is cost-effective and money-saving. Attention should be paid when choosing the PoE injector and splitter.

Power over Ethernet voltage 12V-24V-48V-57V

The power over Ethernet inject the power to cat5e or cat6 network cable, so the remote ip devices is able to retrieve both power and data from single cable at the other end. According to the standard EN62368 (for AV & IT Equipment), the limit at which under no safeguards are required is DC60V or 2mA. We are seeing different voltage not higher than or equal to DC57V are being used on power over Ethernet. Let’s talk about the differences about these voltage on power over Ethernet.

One thing need to be addressed before we move ahead is the voltage drop. While using cable to send the power, there is always power loss inline cable which will be converted to the heat. The consequently result is the voltage drop at the other end. If the voltage drop down lower than the remote devices require, the whole system will stop working. For example, the WiFi router requires DC9V, but the remain voltage is only 7V after 100 meters transporting, the power will not be able to supply the WiFi router.

DC12 voltage power

This is the raw solution. The power is injected to the spare pairs of the Ethernet cable and being sent to the remote network devices. There is no process and protection for the power. This is the most simplest PoE solution which could still work for short distance and low power consumption on indoor application. If use this solution to transport power longer than 20 meters, the remain voltage will drop down sharply at the other end.

DC24 voltage power

It is popular in some telecom application. Some of electrical devices require DC12V input. Injecting DC24V to the cable can adapt to the voltage drop after medium distance transportation such as 50 meters. The other side usually requires voltage regulator to convert remain voltage to DC12V. There is around 12V margin to adapt to the voltage drop, that is why the maximum distance could be longer.

DC48 volts power

DC48V is the specification from IEEE802.3 PoE standard. According to IEEE802.3, the power is capable of transporting up to 100meters as well as data. The other end requires regulator to convert to lower DC output such as 12V or 5V. IEEE802.3 also specified the power budget within 100meters including PoE PoE+, PoE bt. The higher power consumption, the higher the current inline, so the sharper voltage drop will be. As long as the products are IEEE 802.3 compatible, the voltage is no need to be concerned. Both issues has been considered when the standard was developed. Not only IEEE802.3 standard PoE use DC48V. Some of the passive PoE also use DC48V.

Over DC48 voltage

In these years the higher voltage such as DC55 has been applied to power over Ethernet including IEEE 802.3 compatible products. The benefits of high voltage PoE is reducing the power loss cable inline and relase the voltage drop issue. For example the IEEE 802.3bt PoE power system can transport 95w power over single Ethernet. If use DC48V, the voltage drap becomes seriously when the power is being full load. The DC53V is taken in, so the remain voltage is still enough after 100 meters transporting.

IEEE 802.3 PoE is considered as safe power system. That is because not only the power voltage has been designed for Ethernet cable, but also PD signature is introduced in the standard to guarantee the power PD signature is being sent to the device.

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