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Why You Need a PoE Switch?

Today, in the context of more and more IoT projects such as smart cities and smart buildings, PoE switches show greater growth potential. This article will address some common questions about PoE switches by clarifying the features, benefits, and limitations of PoE switches.

What Is PoE?

PoE is a special networking feature, which allows network cables to carry both - electrical current and data to a device at the same time. Although data and current are transmitted using the same cable, they use a different set of wires. This technology governs the working of any networking equipment, and helps ensure the interoperability between different devices connected in a network.

What Is A PoE Switch?

PoE devices comprise power sourcing equipment (PSE) and powered devices (PD). PSE is a device that transmits power, and PoE switches are PSEs. The devices that receive power are known as PDs.
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. This means you can power devices using network cables.
 
A PoE switch provides power that can be used to run other devices via the Ethernet cabling. If your network has distributed switches, it’s also possible to get PoE pass-through switches. These are themselves powered by PoE from a central source but can also pass power on to endpoint devices such as cameras or phones.

PoE Switch vs. Non-PoE Switch: Why You Need a PoE Switch?

The reason why you need power over Ethernet switches will be obvious when comparing PoE switch vs non-PoE switch. As the most basic switch, the non-PoE switch refers to the switch that is not PoE enabled to supply power for end-users over Ethernet, but can only send data to network devices. To acquire PoE, users have to deploy a midspan power sourcing equipment (PSE) like the PoE injector between the switch and PDs.
 
This injector or other midspan PSEs can add electrical power while receiving data signals from the cable connected with the non-PoE switch, and then deliver both data and power to PDs (Learn more about PoE injector from What Is a PoE Injector And How to Use It?) In this application, the injector or other midspan PSEs will also need a wire for power. However, for a gigabit PoE switch application, things will become easier. For a PoE switch, only one power cable for the switch and one network cable to connect PDs are required. Then the PD can be directly plugged into the PoE gigabit switch port for both data transmission and power supply. With PoE switches and devices, you can build a convenient wireless network.

Benefits of PoE Switches

Based on the working mode of PoE vs. non-PoE switch, the PoE switch brings benefits over the following aspects:
Flexibility
  • Getting rid of the restrictions of non-PoE switches needing additional PSEs and extension cables, the PoE switches gain great flexibility for users’ network cablings. It enables PDs like IP surveillance cameras to be installed based on where it needs to go. Besides, a combination of PoE switch and wireless technology can even make the cable-free environment be possible.Simplicity
  • Without the need to consider additional PSEs and installation locations like a non-PoE switch, the PoE switch simplifies the whole network deployment. In addition, good PoE switches also enable simple network management protocol (SNMP), which provides a simpler way to supervise and manage the switch.Cost-Efficiency
  • With PoE network switch, there is no need for users to purchase and install additional electrical wires and outlets, which creates significant savings on installation and maintenance costs and time.

Limitations of PoE Switches

Distance Limitation
Distance Limitation: The distance that PoE switches can transmit over Ethernet is generally up to 100 meters. For those large campuses, restaurants, and enterprises deploying PoE, the 100-meter distance limitation is a challenge. However, there are still methods to extend PoE range—devices such as power extenders or powered fiber cables.

Three Key Applications of Industrial PoE Switches

Owing to the above-discussed advantages, PoE switches are used in various applications. The following are three key applications:
  • IP Cameras: Most networked surveillance cameras used in offices and industrial locations are PoE-driven. These camera systems receive power and data from PoE switches. Nowadays, it has become mandatory to use these switches to ensure the safety of people and surroundings. PoE switches manufactured by VERSITRON allow a user to extend their IP Camera signaling over fiber optic cable for enhanced security and distance extension.
  • Wireless Networks: PoE switches have contributed to the growth of wireless networks. They help avoid huge installation costs associated with access points and controllers to a great extent. Bluetooth Apps, RFID readers, and Wifi devices are devices that utilize wireless networks for their functioning. These devices can be easily relocated to a new site depending on use.
  • VoIP Phones: This PoE application utilizes a single connection to the wall socket. PoE switches have contributed to the increasing use of VoIP phones for business communication.

Do I Need Special Cables for PoE Switches?

No. Generally, the Ethernet cables that should be used for PoE switches only depend on the data rate of the PoE port, for example, 10/100M can use Cat3 or better cables; 1000M needs Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 cables. When you're able to deploy 2.5G/5G/10G PoE devices in the future, you may need Cat6a or better cables. But you can never be wrong to buy good quality Ethernet cables made of oxygen-free copper.

Can I Connect a PoE Switch to Another PoE Switch?

Yes, you can. Power is supplied by the PSE to PD only when it detects that the device is capable of handling the power. Since the two PoE switches both function as PSEs, they will just do data communications.

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