Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches are a great way to transmit both data and power to devices over Ethernet cables. This eliminates the need for separate power cables and outlets, making PoE switch ideal for powering devices like wireless access points, IP cameras, VoIP phones, and more. So PoE switches are extensively used in homes, offices, and various other places.
Choosing the right PoE switch for your needs can be challenging with so many options on the market. So in this buyer’s guide, we’ll walk you through the key factors to consider when selecting the best PoE switch for your needs, including:
- PoE power budget – How much power does the switch provide for connected devices? This is important for ensuring you have enough power for all your PoE devices.
- Port density – The number and type of Ethernet ports on the switch. Do you need PoE+ ports for higher power devices? SFP ports for fiber connections?
- Switching capacity – This determines the overall bandwidth and speed supported by the switch. Important for handling high data loads.
- Layer 2 vs Layer 3 – Layer 2 switches are plug-and-play while Layer 3 offers more advanced functionality like inter-VLAN routing.
- Management options – Easy remote web/cloud management versus more complex on-device CLI management.
- Reliability and warranty – Buying from reputable brands and checking warranties gives peace of mind.
- Budget – PoE switches range from entry-level models to high-end enterprise solutions. Set a budget and find the right fit.
We’ll compare top PoE switches across these criteria and make recommendations for the best options at different price points. Whether you need a basic PoE switch for your home office or a fully-managed gigabit PoE switch for your business network, this article will help you find the perfect PoE switch for your needs and budget.
List of The Best PoE Switch
Check out the thorough reviews of the best PoE switch in 2023 below.
The 5-port PoE configuration of this TP-Link network switch highlights 4 PoE ports and a Gigabit Non-PoE port. This Gigabit PoE switch automatically detects and delivers power through all IEEE 802.3af compliant Powered Devices.
The electrical power is conveyed with data in a single cable. Consequently, it allows you to extend your network to places where there is an absence of outlets or power lines. Also, you can use this switch to fix devices like IP cameras, IP phones, APs, etc. Considering the fast data speed transmission and versatility, this TP-Link 5 Port switch can be the best PoE switch. The robust metal case and wall-mounting/desktop design make this PoE switch suitable for varied environments.
- The included PoE ports support 10/100/1000 Mbps speed.
- The total PoE power budget is 65W and each port receives 30W.
- The implementation of advanced software features prioritizes traffic and assures superior quality of voice or video data transmission through port-based 802.1p/DSCP QoS and IGMP Snooping.
- IEEE 802.3X flow control promises reliable data transfer.
- The actuator type is the push button.
- The product dimensions are 3.94 inches x 3.86 inches x 0.98 inches.
Pros And Cons
Netgear designs this 8 port unmanaged PoE switch for desktop or rackmount installation. All 8 PoE+ ports can be upgraded using a distinct power module. This Unmanaged PoE switch is extensively used for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Smart Managed Pro functionality makes this 8 port switch suitable for large organizations that demand advanced configuration and control. With this functionality, this PoE switch facilitates safe configuration, access, and administration of complex enterprise networks. Due to the fanless design, the fan noise is minimized. Also, plug and play solution eliminates the need for configuration which makes the switch perfect for small businesses.
- 8 PoE+ ports come with a total power budget of 123 W.
- Considering the energy conservation, Netgear designs this switch to comply with IEEE802.3az energy-efficient Ethernet mode.
- There is support for wall, desk, and rackmount placement. All essential mounting accessories are included.
- The range of operating temperature is 0 to 122.0°F.
- Intelligent Cloud offers fully integrated management, visibility, and control anywhere, from any device.
- This switch employs advanced configuration and remote access through the NETGEAR Insight application as well as cloud portal for outstanding flexibility.
- ProSAFE Lifetime Protection is included.
- The actuator type is the push button.
- The product dimensions are 4.02 inches x 1.06 inches x 9.29 inches and the weight is 1.3 pounds.
Pros And Cons
When you need to connect network PoE devices like IP cameras or wireless access points or VoIP phones or IP video encoders or access controls, etc., you can use this TRENDnet 10 port PoE+ switch. The extra SFP slot supports single-mode as well as multi-mode (100/10000base-FX) fiber SFP modules for those fiber networking applications that demand long-distance transmission.
The robust metal housing protects the switch from external damaging elements. The fanless design is perfect for use in noise-sensitive environments. In terms of data transmission efficiency and switching capacity, this unmanaged gigabit PoE+ Switch is one of the best PoE switches.
- 10 ports are categorized as 8 Gigabit PoE+ ports, a Gigabit port, and a Gigabit SFP slot.
- The switch interface includes the aforementioned ports, wall mount, and LED indicators.
- The maximum PoE+ power delivery per port is up to 30W.
- The total PoE power budget is 58 W which supports up to 8 PoE devices.
- With the PoE technology, users just require one set of cables to deliver power and data simultaneously.
- All the 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports support a switching capacity of 20 Gbps. It ensures that the switch supports modern network installations.
- The range of operating temperature is 14 to 131°F.
- The product dimensions are 9 inches x 4.3 inches x 1.1 inches and the weight is 2.48 pounds.
Pros And Cons
NETGEAR GS316EP 16-port PoE switch is a perfect solution for powering PoE applications like IP cameras for surveillance, VoIP phones, wireless access points, etc. It is equipped with fundamental and advanced network management features to optimize the overall performance of enterprise networks. The graphical user interface is responsive and the web browser is easy-to-use. These aspects lead to effective management of the entire switch.
- 16 ports are categorized as 15 PoE+ ports and an Uplink 1G SFP port.
- 15 PoE+ ports come with a total power budget of 180W.
- The easy-to-use software interface provides abilities to secure, configure, and manage your network.
- Basic management features are QoS, VLAN, and IGMP Snooping.
- Advanced management features are advanced Per-Port PoE control and uninterrupted PoE.
- The product dimensions are 14.09 inches x 6.69 inches x 5 inches and the weight is 5.16 pounds.
Pros And Cons
With a huge port density i.e. 18, you can connect all your devices with this Aumox gigabit PoE switch. If you want a network switch with huge port density and multiple installation options then this Aumox model can be your best POE switch. The available installation options are wall, desk, and rack placement. The 19 inches length perfectly fits more switch shelves. So, you benefit from more mounting options to perfectly fit the switch as per your needs.
Rugged metal housing and industrial-grade fans lead to fast heat dissipation. These fans are silent contributing to more durable operation in a wide range of environments. This implies that the switch works steadily irrespective of the environment.
- 18 Base-TX RJ45 (10/1000 Mbps) ports include 16 PoE ports that automatically detect and power PoE devices.
- The maximum PoE budget for all 16 ports is 250W.
- The maximum PoE power for each port is 30W.
- This 18-port Gigabit switch is compatible with IEEE802.3af/in network standards. This feature makes it compatible with PoE cameras, IP phones, WiFi access points, gaming devices, etc.
- Plug and Play interface ensures automatic detection of devices when the network cable and power cord are connected. No need to configure anything.
- Full gigabit port, high-speed data transmission is carried with AUMOX functions.
Pros And Cons
26 gigabit ports in this MokerLink PoE switch contain 2 gigabit SFP upLink ports and 24 gigabit POE+ ports. Different network devices like servers, switches, routers, etc. can be connected for long-distance transmission. The reason why this 26-port PoE switch is durable is that it is encased in sturdy metal housing. The fanless design guarantee quiet operation and double-sided cooling holes lead to efficient heat dissipation. Typically, this PoE switch is extensively used for wireless access points, IP cameras, computer networking devices, etc.
- The switching capacity is 52 Gbps.
- Each port can attain a speed of 1 G simultaneously.
- The maximum output power is 300W and each port obtains up to 30W power.
- Being IEEE 802.3af/at compliant, this switch promises reduced energy consumption.
- The plug and Play interface suggests that you just need to connect the power cord and the Ethernet cable to the device. No need for any configuration.
- Port numbers 1-8 supports Qos and priority data forwarding to guarantee an important uninterrupted link.
- Port numbers 1-24 are compatible with VLAN. They are isolated from each other and they communicate with two optical ports to decrease network congestion.
- Port numbers 17-24 support extends to 820.2 ft 10 MB/s.
Pros And Cons
Are you looking for an energy-efficient PoE switch with fast switching? If yes then this NETGEAR 28 port PoE gigabit switch is one of the best PoE switches for your needs. It supports rackmount and desktop mounting. The implementation of cloud managed functionalities suggests that this gigabit switch is appropriate for modern Ethernet networks. For those business applications requiring PoE and multiple ports, this Netgear switch is an ideal solution.
- Total 28 ports are categorized as 24 PoE+ ports and 4 1gigabit SFP ports.
- All 24 PoE+ ports come with a budget of 190W.
- Intelligent software with an easy-to-use interface offers effective managed control for secure configuration, access, and SNMP management (NMS 300).
- ProSAFE Lifetime Protection is implemented.
- The product dimensions are 10.13 x 1.7 x 17.34 inches and the weight is 8.32 pounds.
Pros And Cons
How To Pick The Best PoE Switch?
Choosing the best PoE switch for PDs (powered devices) like wireless access points, IP cameras, etc. can be challenging due to ample available options. The following buying guide aids you to eliminate confusion.
1. Managed or Unmanaged PoE switches
The prominent difference between managed and unmanaged PoE switches is the competence to configure the switch.
Fundamentally, unmanaged network switch utilizes a fixed-configuration design and doesn’t permit any modifications to the configuration. Typically, they are recognized as plug-and-play devices. You may find unmanaged PoE switches commonly used in small homes or office networks that don’t need any complicated configurations.
Managed PoE network switches can configure, manage and administer the networks. These switches provide more advanced features to effectively control network traffic like VLANs (virtual local area networks), SNMP (simple network management protocol), etc. Hence, users can easily adapt the switch settings as per the actual system requirements. Furthermore, managed PoE switches are designed for demanding workloads, huge amounts of traffic, and deployments that demand custom configurations.
2. Port Density
PoE network switches are commonly available in 8/12/16/24/48 ports. Some PoE switches may have more ports. The choice for the same depends on the number of end devices being required by the network.
For example, a PoE switch with 8 ports is suitable for residential use. On the other hand, the one with 48 ports is more suitable for data centers and enterprises where there is a need to connect plenty of networking devices. It is always a smart decision to buy a PoE switch with more ports to support network growth in the future.
3. Data Speed
The majority of PoE Ethernet switches can support 10/100/1000Base-T. Some even support faster speed like 1/10G. It is found that in the majority of cases, PoE switches utilize Ethernet cables to connect power devices. It implies that these switches are backward compatible with the older legacy Ethernet devices that support 10/100Mbps. There is no need to upgrade them to fiber connections.
PoE switches with 1/10G uplink ports can be connected to an aggregation switch within the higher layer to enhance the bandwidth. Always try to get a PoE switch that supports a fast data rate so that it can enhance the overall performance of your network.
4. PoE Compatibility
All PoE switches cannot work with all power devices although they are functionally good. So, you need to check the compatibility between your chosen PoE switch and power devices. Also, make sure the PoE switch you choose supports the PoE standard required by power devices. For instance, if the power devices of users use PoE++ standard then he/she should choose a PoE++ switch because a PoE switch or PoE+ switch is incompatible with his/her power devices.
Another aspect to take into account is to ascertain the power supply mode. Check whether the power supply mode of the PoE switch is compatible with that of the power devices.
Frequently Asked Questions When Picking The Best PoE Switch
1. What is the difference between a Layer 2 PoE network switch and a Layer 3 PoE network switch?
A Layer 2 PoE network switch is only compatible with MAC (media access control) addresses and is independent of IP addresses. It doesn’t assess IP addresses while the frames flow through the switch. Typically, these switches are used in small networks.
A Layer 3 PoE switch can perform all jobs that a Layer 2 switch does. Furthermore, it can transfer data between various LANs or VLANs since the layer 3 switch directs the data packets by subnetting and IP addresses.
2. What is an active PoE switch?
An active PoE switch is typically categorized into Poe, PoE+ and PoE++ switch. It provides adequate power to PDs after a negotiation. Therefore, it avoids unnecessary hazards in situations where the cable is attached to non-PoE devices or damaged.
3. What is PD detection in PoE-powered switches?
PoE switches including the best PoE switch use power detection to know if a PoE-powered device is connected and the type of protocol to use. Typically, PoE switches turn on the port only after a powered device is detected.
Finding the right PoE switch to meet your power, port, and performance needs doesn’t have to be difficult. By understanding key factors like power budget, port types, switching capacity, management options, and reliability, you can zero in on the ideal switch for your situation.
We’ve covered top options across consumer, SMB, and enterprise needs, at varied price points. The NETGEAR GS108PE provides a solid entry-level 8-port gigabit switch on a budget. Moving up, the TP-Link TL-SG116P is a great choice for small business networks. And for large networks, the Cisco Business CBS250-48P-4G packs robust management software and power for advanced setups, which meets enterprise demands. While prices and features vary widely, any of the PoE switches recommended will serve you well if matched to your use case. Be sure to determine your port, power, and management requirements upfront to make the right selection.
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