Can I Plug a PC Into a PoE Switch?

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As we know, most people inject the PoE on a cable at a voltage that ranges between 44 to 57 volts (DC). So, the question if we can plug a PC into a PoE switch can arise.

Well, note that your PC can still work if you plug it into a PoE port. That’s because the PoE switch can detect the devices that accept PoE and that don’t accept it. In such cases, the PoE switch will only use the data communications features and not transmit power. Thus, we can say that the PoE output current won’t affect or damage your PC. 

These days PoE switches are used in almost all modern network infrastructures. They offer a variety of features and controls to the admin. When you talk about a PoE switch, there is no one-size-fits-all kind of scenario. There are different switches available that solve various networking problems.

The structure of a PoE switch looks like a networking hub, where you can connect multiple devices. They have numerous ports. Thus, you can choose the number of ports that align with your necessity.

As far as plugging a PC directly into a PoE switch is concerned, it is possible. But there are many other factors that you need to take into account before thinking of it as a potential solution.

Let’s first try to understand the technology. Then, we will further discuss the viability of the solution.

What Are PoE and PoE Switch?

Over the years, PoE technology has made setting up networking infrastructure more accessible and affordable. Let’s discover how the technology works and what these PoE switches bring to the table.


There is a significant rise in internet-enabled networking devices in every industry that involves economic growth. PoE makes running those devices easier. PoE stands for “power over ethernet,” so it uses conventional ethernet cables to achieve the dual objective of transmitting data and power.

The ethernet cables have four wires; the PoE uses two wires for data transmission and subsequently two for power. As a result, it helps organizations in getting rid of excess cables. That, in turn, offers twofold value. First, it reduces the cost of networking infrastructure. Second, it expressively contributes to the aesthetics of the workplaces and warehouses.

Increasingly in the past decade, PoE has become a preferred choice for setting up a networking structure as nobody wants to work in an environment where wires are popping out from everywhere.

Apart from the larger organizations, the smaller commercial spaces like public libraries, cafés, supermarkets, and co-working spaces have also extensively adopted this technology.

PoE Switch

PoE switch is the tool that makes the whole infrastructure of PoE technology more powerful and profitable. It is a box-like device that has an inbuilt PoE injector. Moreover, it supports all types of ethernet cables from Cat5, Cat5e, to Cat6.

The PoE switches provide a variety of industry-oriented solutions. They are primarily classified into three categories, namely Unmanaged, Managed, and Hybrid switches. All three PoE switches are distinct and aim to solve different problems of different industries.

What Are Unmanaged Switches?

The unmanaged switches have security limitations, but they are good enough to do the job in smaller network setups. You can fetch the Mac address table and monitor the devices connected to your network.

If you use it productively, you can keep track of all Mac addresses. That is quite possible with smaller networks. You can also protect your network against any alien device.

What Are Hybrid Switches?

Likewise, hybrid PoE switches find a middle ground between unmanaged and managed switches. They primarily cater to the sectors that need standard security features on their network but with minimal cost.

They are a reasonable, cost-effective alternative to fully managed switches. Some organizations use them lightly to work on the ends of their network. At the same time, they keep managed switches at the center of their network infrastructure.

What Are Managed Switches?

The managed switches are at the top of the pyramid. They are relatively costlier than the other two. But they offer the most usefulness in terms of security and accessibility. They offer the most comprehensive solutions and mainly cater to enterprises that need highly secured networks.

So, you can swiftly deploy them in large networking setups. They provide excellent control to admins and make detecting slip-us in the network comfortable.

Can You Plug a PC Into a PoE Switch?

It’s a widespread curiosity among many people if they can directly connect their PCs to PoE switches. The root of this question is very legitimate, as PoE switches come with similar RJ45 ports as PCs.

But the problem with that is PoE switches transfer power simultaneously with data. That can be detrimental to your personal computer.

You can solve the issue mentioned above if you use an active PoE switch. An active PoE switch is nothing but a control that follows predetermined PoE standards IEEE 802.3af and IEEE 802.3at.

The active switches can automatically detect if the device connected to them needs power or not. If you are using an active PoE switch, you certainly connect your computer directly to the controller.

The active status of a PoE switch is valid for all kinds of PoE switches. If a manufacturer follows standard norms, he will likely follow them for all the PoE controls it produces. But you cannot go with this presumption. You still need to check the specifications of that particular PoE switch before using it.

The consequence of using a passive switch directly with a PC can be destructive in many ways. You might end up harming the motherboard of your computer or even risk your valued data.

Even so, you can trust the preciseness of active PoE switches. You will be safe if you directly plug in your PC to an active PoE switch.

This confidence does not stem from any experience. Instead, it’s the technology that detects if the device is PoE enabled or not. Let’s say the device, i.e., your PC is not PoE enabled. Then, an active switch will communicate only through data.

Is It Safe to Directly Plug a PC Into a PoE Switch?

There is undoubtedly no outright answer to this question. The answer to it could be either yes or no, both. If you can understand the factors that essentially make a difference, you will be capable of answering them yourself.

Let’s look at those factors one by one, so we can get to a convincing answer.

Standard PC vs. Smart PC

Let’s say you are using a standard PC and connecting it to a passive PoE switch. Well, it’s a dangerous combination! Plus, it’s unsafe. There can never be two thoughts on it.

Then, there are Smart computers that have the current protection jack built. Suppose you use a Smart computer with a passive switch. It can’t harm your computer, but you should still go with active PoE switches. Why? Let’s discuss it in the next pointer.

Application of “Always on PoE Switches”

Passive PoE switches are known as “passive” as they do not have any control mechanism. And they remain ON all the time. That means they will supply unnecessary power to your computer uninterruptedly. The energy your PC does not need at all. The passive PoE switches have their set of applications. But here, in this case, they will only harm your PC.

Final Thoughts!

We discussed all the variables that go for and against plugging a PC into a PoE switch. Moreover, we also discussed the safety of doing it. We know when it’s safe and when it’s not.

But if you are going ahead with any of these solutions, you need only two things. An active PoE switch coupled with a brand that you trust will unquestionably follow the set PoE standards. For more help on PoE switches, you can get in touch with HomeVision.

If you can take care of the two mentioned variables, you don’t need to think about all other factors that establish this solution’s viability.

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Hi, I'm Mr. Hua, The funder of HoweVision technology, I'v been woking industrial communication equipment for 8 years now, and the purpose of this article is to share with you the knowledge related to industrial communication from a China supplier's perspective.

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