Do I need a PoE switch?

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Laptops have superseded bulky desktops, and induction cooktops have replaced regular gas stoves.

In such a digitally advanced era, unimaginable without a network connection, uncountable cable wires present everywhere depict a condition of chaos and disorder.

All modern devices use lengthy cables to transmit power and data separately. There are separate wires for transferring different things, such as power and data.

With the increased power demand, the use of cables is expanding, giving rise to more complexities.

To make our internet technologies more advanced and compact, the concept of PoE arose.

PoE stands for Power over Ethernet which allows network cables to carry electrical power. It ensures higher power transmission with a lesser number of cables. It eliminates the need for AC or DC power supplies and outlets. And if that’s not enough, the remote installation costs far less than the fiber as no electrician is required.

You can use PoE by using a  Gigabit Ethernet switch. The Internet of Things(IoT) widely uses this technology these days in devices like IP cameras, telephones, Door access video phones, WAP (wireless access points), VoIP phones, and many others.

Usually, any device requires a network connection and connection both for functioning. When the network device is PoE-compatible, there is no need for a separate electrical connection as a single cable provides both electrical power and data connection.

Let us now move on to the long-awaited question!

Do you need a PoE switch? Well, the answer depends on factors like your necessities, budget, and which type would be suitable for your individual or business purposes. We leave that to you to decide once you go through what it is, and what are its advantages and limitations.

A PoE switch has a built-in PoE Technology. When the switch is connected to a PoE-compatible network device, it automatically enables electrical power without requiring a separate data cable.

Benefits of PoE Switch

  • Easy installation: PoE switches need a network cable only and don’t require a separate electrical connection. A network cable is less complicated to install and, thus, can be easily installed by anyone. There is no need for a qualified electrician.
  • Adaptability: There is no need for additional requirements for a power outlet. PoE switch eliminates the need for an outlet. Therefore, the devices can be installed anywhere to create wireless access points and can also be repositioned easily.
  • Cost efficiency and Time-saving: There is no additional requirement for electrical wires and outlets, leading to a reduction of expenses and saving your precious time wasted in purchasing or maintaining other cable wires.
  • Saves Power Resources: A PoE switch automatically detects power consumption by PoE-powered devices and supplies only the necessary amount of power. This ability to utilize power reduces power waste and saves money and resources for individuals as well as businesses.
  • Safety: PoE technology also protects network devices from overloading, incorrect installation, and underpowering problems.


PoE is not ideal for sending network data over long distances or in extreme temperatures.

  • Distance limitations: PoE switch generally transmits power up to a distance of 100 meters (or 328 feet). You can use devices like PoE extenders, media converters, and powered fiber cables to extend the range of PoE switches.

Once you are decidedly sure that you want a PoE switch, you need to know some basic things like the varieties of switches available out there.

Which type of PoE switches do you need to buy?

There is a variety of PoE Switches, such as low-priced switches with few unmanaged ports to complex multi-port rack-mounted units with highly involved management.

Active And Passive PoE Switch

An active switch is the standard PoE switch that automatically distinguishes between the PoE and non-PoE devices. It interacts with PoE non-compatible devices as a normal switch without supplying any electrical power.

Whereas, A passive POE switch starts sending electrical current over the ethernet cable without checking the compatibility of the devices. Such kinds of switches may fail non-PoE devices like computers and laptops.

Based on Ports

Switches come in anywhere from 4-port to 54-port models. Based on the number of ports available, the 8, 12, 24, and 48 port PoE switches are normally seen in the market.

Which port number will be most suitable for you depends on the number of users or devices your network assists.

The larger the network; the greater the number of ports you will require.

We advise you to go for a switch that possesses more interfaces than you require. It is always better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it.

Another concern worth pondering is the choice between a 16-port switch or two of the 8-port switches.

This question is extremely common and can depend on certain factors like a financial budget, network management, the urgency of uptime,

and space available. If most of the factors are not problematic, then, by all means, you should go for two switches rather than a single switch.

This is because when the whole network relies on a single switch and if by chance experiences a failure, the entire network would be down. However, if you are using two switches, even if one of them fails, only half the network will be down but still function until there is an alternate solution.

Managed or Unmanaged PoE Switches

A managed PoE switch enables access to one or more interfaces for the configuration or management of features such as Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), port speed, VLANs, etc. It will give you more power over the LAN traffic and offer many intelligent features to control it.

On the other hand, an unmanaged switch only allows the Ethernet devices to communicate with one another, such as a network printer. It comes with a restricted configuration and does not allow any modifications in this setup.

Advantages of A Managed Switch

Compared to an unmanaged switch, a managed one has several advantages like administrative controls, network monitoring, restricted communication for unauthorized devices, etc.

A managed PoE switch offers you cost-effective and profitable PoE solutions for various businesses too.

For example, if you need to connect to a Network Video Recorder (NVR) for better surveillance network building or IP camera consideration, a managed PoE switch is a favorable choice.


If you are not comfortable buying a PoE switch at the moment, you can also transform a non-PoE or a regular switch into a PoE one.

How to upgrade a Non-PoE switch to a PoE switch?

You can use a PoE injector or midspan and a PoE splitter to upgrade non-PoE networks or devices into PoE-compatible ones.

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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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