Is Your Network Running Slow? Upgrade to a POE Switch and See the Difference

Is Your Network Running Slow? Upgrade to a POE Switch and See the Difference

Is your work suffering due to dropped video calls and frustratingly slow file transfers? Or you’re tired from a spinning wheel of doom while trying to stream your favorite show? Whatever the case may be, a slow network can spell disasters for both productivity and entertainment in today’s data-driven world. 

You need access to an agile network that’s both reliable and provides fast data transfers, thus allowing you to stay ahead of the competition or enjoy a seamless entertainment experience. Perhaps even both. 

Enter POE switches. Having a POE, or Power of Ethernet, the switch allows your home or business network to run more efficiently and reliably. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and uses of POE switches.

What is a POE Switch?

A POE switch is a network switch with the ability to provide DC power and data to network devices using a single Ethernet cable. This is particularly useful if the receiving device has no access to any external power source, like a wall outlet, making these switches perfect for connecting IP cameras, VoIP phones, smart building lights, audio systems, etc. 

In other words, the POE switch combines data signals and electrical power into a single Ethernet cable, which then powers and connects the remote-powered device. These devices rely on twisted-pair cables, which are pretty widespread worldwide, making them incredibly easy to install, even by inexperienced users. 

Additionally, they eliminate the need for separate data and power supply cables, which further aid the ease of installation and the simplicity of running a physical network infrastructure. 

Different Types of PoE Switches

There are three distinct types of PoE switches, and understanding the difference between each type can help you decide which one is the best for you. 

Unmanaged PoE Switches

Unmanaged PoE switches are mostly used in private residences and small businesses since they’re relatively cheap and don’t require any expertise to set up—they’re mostly plug-and-play devices. This also limits network management and network security, which is rather slim in itself.

Managed PoE Switches

Managed PoE switches do all the stuff unmanaged switches can’t do—they provide high levels of network security, control, and management. These switches grant 24/7 monitoring and remote access to a network, paired with exceptional security features. 

Besides optimizing network speed and resources, managed PoE switches are also scalable, which leaves room for network growth, if necessary. However, since they’re more specialized, they also require a skilled technician to set up the network. 

Smart PoE Switches

These switches are great for smaller businesses with smaller networks, as they’re comparable to managed switches but with somewhat limited capabilities. They typically don’t require any specialized setup by an experienced technician and usually offer only basic management functions. 

They allow users to configure ports and network resource allocation, but they lack monitoring, remote-access management, and other more sophisticated features and functions. 

Benefits of Using PoE Switches

The benefits of PoE Switches clearly outweigh those of using non-PoE switches. Most home-used devices are plug-and-play, which makes installation and configuration quite straightforward. Additionally, their independence of AC power outlets allows for easier installation regardless of the electrical infrastructure.

PoE switches are highly-cost effective, as they allow users to transmit power and data through a single Ethernet cable, even to key, hard-to-reach locations. This cost-efficiency factors into the fact that they’re becoming prevalent in industrial environments, as they allow for easier monitoring and management of automated equipment and workforce. 

Key Considerations

There are several key considerations when deciding on a PoE switch, ranging from its use case to features and power delivery—most basic devices can deliver up to 30 watts of power, while pricier options designed for industrial applications go up to 90 watts. 

It’s also important to know how many ports you require for connecting different devices. When it comes to port count, most basic PoE switches have four ports, but there are also 8-, 16-, 24-, and 48-port versions. Note that the price scales with the number of ports. 

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a cost-efficient and reliable way to provide data transfers and power through a single Ethernet cable, then you should look into PoE switches. They’re rather simple to install and don’t require any additional cabling other than the aforementioned Ethernet cable. 

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