Skip to main content

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding PoE Switches

PoE switches are network switches that can send both data and power over a single ethernet cable to and from any and all devices that you connect to. Among different network cabling processes, PoE technology is new and advanced. 

As such, opting for PoE switches grants you the advantage of choosing many featureful devices and components compatible with them. Hence, many are shifting towards them from the traditional stuff. Novices who are still in the cloud about PoE technology may find the topic confusing. 

So, let’s tell you about this device, what is a PoE switch used for, and how to use them. 

What Is a Power over Ethernet Switch 

A power over ethernet or PoE switch is a modern variation of your typical network switches. However, unlike the regular ones, PoE switches utilize different ways to send power and data in and out. Here, the method is called PoE technology. 

What Is a Power over Ethernet Switch 

As its name implies, PoE technology uses a single Ethernet cable for both the supply of data and power to other devices connected to it. While it may seem insignificant at first, when you look at the big picture, it is a game changer. 

Because of using only one Ethernet cable, an installer doesn’t have to go for separate cables for the power and data. It saves them from the hassle of integrating splitters, different electrical cables, a PoE injector, and, of course, a regular network switch. Thus, PoE switches can decrease the overall cost by a lot. 

What Does a PoE Switch Do? 

PoE switches act like a central control hub in a network setting for all the devices in it. As a network switch, you can control it remotely. The PoE switch supplies power over the Ethernet cable using the PoE injector. The latter stays in the middle of the former and another device, let’s say a surveillance camera. 

So, when the PoE switch enables the power flow, the PoE injector aids in adding the power to the Ethernet cable. Since there is one PoE injector for each device, the switch can thus open the path for the necessary power to each. 

Additionally, this network switch also doesn’t need any power outlet while working. So, unlike previously, when people needed to keep the switch near an outlet for power, it is not necessary now. 

Can a PoE Switch Be Used As a Regular Switch? 

PoE switches are like the advanced version of regular switches. So, you can use the former in place of the latter. When you do so, you don’t need an additional power outlet or supply for the setup. Hence, make sure to turn off the power while using a PoE switch as a regular switch. 

What Is a PoE Adapter Used for? 

A PoE adapter is a component in a PoE setup that injects power into the Ethernet cable so that it can travel to the connected devices. It is also known as a PoE injector. As you can understand from its name, it also works in adapting regular switches in PoE setup. 

So, once you connect a PoE adapter to a regular network setting, you can go for a non-PoE switch. As a result, even if there is no power outlet nearby for your device, you can still install it anywhere. 

Some Advantages of PoE Switches 

There are so many advantages a person can get by opting for PoE switches over regular ones. For instance- 

  • Flexible Application: Traditional switch and network setups aren’t suitable for all environments. It is so because it requires a power outlet and lengthy cabling space. But since a PoE setup doesn’t need any of those, it can be flexible regarding applications. 
  • Lower Maintenance Cost: While components with PoE switches are usually expensive, once you install them, any future maintenance cost will be significantly lower than a regular network setting. It is so because the troubleshooting is way quicker because there are fewer cables. 
  • Smooth Installation: Since there is almost half the cabling needed with a PoE switch, you can cut the hassle from the installation process by half. It also takes less space, looks less messy, and is easier to transport. It is vital in large institutions and organizations. 
  • Reliability: PoE switches are way more reliable compared to the regular power supply methods in other network setups. The usual sockets and wall outlets can cause overloads, underloads, and other accidents. 

Meanwhile, PoE switches can work as the central power hub and cut down all power supply in case of any accidents. Even such overloads and underloads are rare with PoE setups because their power is uninterrupted and stable. So, there is very little reason to worry about power fluctuations. 

  • Future Features: PoE-based technology and anything related to IoT are getting improvements every year, so setting a PoE switch with your network setting is an ideal move. Most devices compatible with PoE switches are getting new features, and they will continue to do so. 

So, you can easily use those modern and updated devices for your intended use. But if you were to use a regular setup, you would be unable to use them and would have to change the entire setting if they get too irrelevant in the future. 

Final Note 

Whether you are trying to set up a WAP in your organization, use a VoIP phone, or install some IP cameras as surveillance, a PoE switch is what you will need. It is currently the best bet you have unless you are on a very tight budget. But even if so, spending that extra amount will save you a hefty maintenance cost. 


nahidEditor, 10louder