What is a PoE Switch? Benefits & Types of PoE Switches You Should Know
Businesses need efficient and reliable telecommunications networks. That means they have to have the smooth implementation of electronic links and switches that allow users to share and transfer data with ease. Technology in this field is advancing all the time, so to stay on top, they need the most advanced system. At the moment, most businesses utilize a structured cabling system. However, to advance their companies and ensure their network continues to run smoothly into the future, they need to include a network switch on these cabling systems. These network switches come in two forms, a normal, regular network switch and a PoE Switch (Power over Ethernet). Using a PoE Switch for a business network gives your business the best chance to improve and expand.
What is PoE Switch?
PoE technology gives the network the advanced functionality of using a single Ethernet cable for multiple actions, such as transmitting electrical power, data, and voice. The fact that you can use the Ethernet cable for power means you need less wiring and inputs to get the network working. PoE is used to simplify systems and installation techniques, as well as being cheaper. In addition, PoE power consumption is less than the mains voltage and is, therefore, safe to use on the equipment it was designed for.
The PoE Switch has the PoE functionality built-in and enables the communication of devices on a PoE network. Therefore, the PoE Switch is powered from the original PoE source but can pass electrical power through it, unlike a traditional switch. A conventional switch would need an additional device to establish a connection, usually a PoE splitter or injector.
What devices use a PoE Switch?
Structured cabling systems are the perfect system on which to implement PoE technology. PoE Switches are used for networks and connected devices that need power and to transmit data. There are various applications that use this technology, and the power required can differ somewhat.
Low Watt devices include:
- VoIP and Video Phones - these are the original devices used on PoE technology
- I.P. security cameras as they are usually installed high up and away from power terminals.
- Wireless Technology such as wireless access points, wireless network repeaters, RFID readers, etc.
- Remote systems
- Audio Devices
High Watt devices include:
Benefits of using PoE Switches (VS Regular Switches, e.g. reduced costs, adaptability)
There are many benefits of using PoE Switches:
- You only need one cable as it carries both power and network capabilities.
- Can easily expand a network even when power is problematic.
- They are easy to maintain and checked - you can monitor them remotely.
- You do not need an electrician to wire them in because they don’t need wiring.
- PoE Switches are far more accessible than regular switches.
- Cheaper to run - they don’t require power cabling, so you save on power cables and outlets and any other usual infrastructure needed for installation. Also, ethernet cables are cheaper.
- Easy to relocate without power outlets.
- Efficient energy distribution - PoE Switches automatically know the required power for each device and supply only that. This results in less power wastage, ergo it saves money.
- With the rise of IoT (the Internet of Things), PoE Switches will future proof your business will enable more devices on your network while optimizing usage.
Do PoE Switches have any limitations?
There are some limitations of a PoE Switch:
- It has limited power. If you want to power larger devices, they may require more powerful switches, which has an associated cost attached. However, PoE power is increasing rapidly.
- Running power through a PoE device is sometimes more costly than it is through a wall.
- As many devices are connected, if the power stops, all the devices stop too.
- PoE can only transmit data up to 100 meters - for large operations, you would need a PoE extender which increases the distance to 4000 feet.
- All devices have to be PoE compliant - if not a splitter or an injector is needed.
Main Types of PoE Switches
There are three main types of PoE Switches:
The Unmanaged POE Switch
This type is generally used in the home or for small businesses without I.T. teams and fewer than 5 to 10 computers. They are simple to use, i.e., plug-and-play, plus they are affordable. They do not allow for modification or management, and they don’t come with security features. This is not the option you need if you deal with sensitive, as you need more security options.
The Smart or Hybrid POE Switch
These Switches offer access through the Internet to configure ports and virtual networks, etc. and don’t require highly trained staff to use them. They are simpler and cheaper than managed switches but don’t offer the same variety of functions. However, they do have security features. You would use this type for VoIP and smaller networks and VLANs.
The Managed POE Switch
This is the most advanced and expensive type of switch. It offers a high level of control, management, and full security. If you need 24/7 monitoring, remote access, control, and scalability, this is the switch for you. They are found in data centers and enterprise networks.
Considerations when choosing PoE Switches?
If you are going to be purchasing a PoE Switch for your network, you need to make various decisions, especially regarding power supply options. These considerations will ensure you enhance your network effectively. Special thought needs to be given to areas such as the installation location and input specification to ensure you have the device is adequate for your PoE network. You also need to check the operation temperature and the IP rating (IEC60529) to ensure you have the right degree of device protection. Also, think about surge requirements and power connectors. You may also need to consider the amount of technical support you will require to run the network effectively.
FSP's PoE Switches Power Supply Solutions
FSP has several PoE Switch solutions which will effectively and efficiently upgrade your network:
- Adapters: we have several sizes and power options available to enable the safe and efficient conversion of currents and voltages.
- Open Frame Power Supply: we supply several different AC-DC switching power supplies for your network, delivering various levels of continuous power. All are suitable for many PoE applications.