If you are working on a new surveillance project, you need to learn how to choose the best Poe switch for IP cameras. Let's talk about this topic.
First, you need to consider the number of ports necessary for your projects, but this is not the only factor that should affect your decision on which model is better.
It's common to see online stores offering Gigabit PoE switches for IP cameras and excessive marketing about speed, but do you really need a fast switch for your IP cameras? Or perhaps you are overpaying for the product?
Let's discuss the factors to consider when buying a switch for IP cameras.
What is a PoE Switch for IP Cameras?
A PoE switch for IP cameras is a device used to connect and power security cameras via network cables. Its primary function is to interconnect the cameras to an NVR (network video recorder) and transmit the data (audio and video) to be recorded in such a device.
This equipment is used not only for IP cameras but also for connecting computers, IP Phones, and other devices to a local network. So perhaps that old switch sitting on your cabinet could be used for your IP cameras 😉
The best PoE switch for IP cameras
OK, let's get this straight. The best PoE switch for IP cameras is the one that has the correct number of ethernet ports and can supply enough power for the security cameras connected to it. It's also essential to choose a good brand that follows the international PoE standard (802.3af/802.3at).
As long as you follow this recommendation, you certainly will get the best equipment for your project; nevertheless, you can also consider other important factors that could improve the overall quality of the installation.
The total power supplied by a PoE switch depends on the standard it's classified by. Some IP cameras, such as PTZ (Pan, Tilt, and Zoom), need more power because they have an internal engine that moves continuously.
The 802.3af standard
Considering the power loss over the network cable that brings the power to the camera, at a maximum distance of 328 feet (100m), you can use IP cameras that consume up to 12.4W.
You can find this information on the camera catalog or technical specifications.
Now, let's talk about the next standard.
The 802.3at standard
The 802.3at is another standard developed by the IEEE to increase the power supplied to a device to up to 25.5W, and that's enough for most of the PTZ cameras.
If you are using a PTZ camera such as the Amcrest PTZ or similar model, the 802.3at PoE standard is the one that must be used, so buy a PoE switch such as the BV-Tech, which can supply the necessary power to the camera.
Number of ports
Before choosing the best PoE switch for your project, consider the number of ports that will power the security cameras and how many devices such as computers or laptops will be connected to the switch.
Most of the time, you don't need a switch with all PoE ports.
Let's say you have 4 PoE cameras and a computer you want to connect to the same network; you can buy a switch with 4 PoE ports and 4 non-PoE ports.
The switch does not power your computer, so it's unnecessary to spend extra money on an 8-port PoE switch since you can buy a model that combines powered and non-powered ports as the model shown below.
This is the Netgear GS108PEv3 I purchased to use in my lab.
Consider buying a model like this for your project to save money.
Be careful with the advertisings that push the speed as the most important factor for your IP camera project. Most of the time, you don't need to spend your money on Gigabit switches because your cameras won't use them.
A Gigabit switch can handle billions of bits per second, and no IP camera needs that much speed. High-resolution (Full HD) IP cameras use around 2.5 Mbps to send video over the network, and even if you are using a 4K resolution camera, it won't consume more than 10 Mbps on your system.
The gigabit switch is used to handle the traffic from big servers, and your IP cameras definitely don't need that much speed.
For example, the TRENDnet 8-Port 10/100Mbps PoE Switch has 100Mbps ports that are enough to handle the traffic from the IP cameras.
This model can also power the cameras using the standard PoE 802.3af.
Managed and Unmanaged switches
You can choose between managed and unmanaged switches for your surveillance project. The difference is the intelligence embedded in the equipment; the first one is just a plug-and-play device, while the last one has smart features that allow you to control the data better.
You can log in to a managed switch using a web interface and configure its features such as VLANs, Multicast, and much more.
Most of the small surveillance projects don't need a managed switch, and even when people have one, they don't use such smart features just because either it's unnecessary or who is installing the cameras don't have the technical knowledge to understand how to set up such a device.
Before deciding for the best PoE switch for IP cameras, consider if you need to connect it to a regular computer network; if that's the case, perhaps you need to use VLANs to control the broadcast traffic.
Before choosing the best PoE switch for IP cameras, consider all the factors such as power, number of ports, speed, and available features.
Choose a switch that meets your IP camera surveillance project's requirements, and it's not overpriced.
I hope this article can help you; please share it with your friends.
Claudemir Martins is a former Samsung Engineer with 16+ experience in the surveillance industry. He has been traveling around 17 different countries to teach people how to design, and install CCTV systems.