PoE Guide

The Ultimate Guide to PoE

Develop Team

What You Need to Know about Power over Ethernet in 2023

If you’re just beginning to explore the possibilities of PoE, this guide aims to equip you with essential knowledge about PoE technology, its applications, power standards, network considerations, managed vs. unmanaged options, alternatives, top PoE switch providers, and what to look for in a reputable PoE provider. By the end of this article, you'll have a better understanding of PoE and a handy buyer's checklist to help you select the ideal solution for your specific requirements.

Key Topics:

  • What is PoE?: Understand the concept and benefits of Power over Ethernet and how it revolutionizes network connectivity.
  • Applications Suitable for PoE: Explore various devices and systems that can leverage PoE, such as IP cameras, wireless access points, VoIP phones, and more.
  • PoE Power Standards: Discover the different power standards within the PoE ecosystem, and their respective power delivery capabilities.
  • Managed vs. Unmanaged: Learn about the differences between managed and unmanaged PoE switches and their advantages and use cases.
  • Alternatives to PoE: Explore alternative power options for network devices and understand when PoE may not be the most suitable choice.
  • Network Considerations: Gain insights into Gigabit Ethernet versus SFP uplink.
  • Top PoE Switch Providers: Discover leading providers of PoE switches and what makes them differ from one another.
  • Characteristics of a Reputable PoE Provider: Learn about the essential qualities to look for in a reputable PoE provider, ensuring you receive high-quality products and excellent customer support.
  • Buyer's Checklist and Questions to Ask: Get a checklist of key considerations and questions to ask when evaluating PoE solutions, empowering you to make well-informed purchasing decisions.

What is a PoE?

Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology revolutionizes network connectivity by enabling data and power transmission through a single network cable. This eliminates the need for separate power cables, simplifying installation and reducing costs. PoE is commonly used for devices such as IP cameras, wireless access points, and VoIP phones, making it a fundamental component of modern network infrastructures.

The advantages of using PoE for your network are numerous:

  • Reduced installation costs - With PoE, the requirement for additional power cables is eliminated, resulting in significant savings on installation expenses.
  • Increased flexibility - PoE allows you to place your devices where they are needed, without being limited by the location of power outlets. This flexibility enhances the design and scalability of your network infrastructure.
  • Improved reliability - By centralizing the power supply, PoE ensures a stable and reliable source of power for your devices. This reduces the risk of interruptions and enhances the overall reliability of your network.
  • Enhanced safety - PoE eliminates the need for high voltage AC power, mitigating the risk of electrical hazards and improving safety in your network environment.

What applications are a good fit for PoE?

Two office printers

When it comes to finding the perfect power solution for various applications, Power over Ethernet (PoE) can be a versatile and efficient choice. Whether you're setting up a security system, setting up an office with essential equipment, or diving into an immersive gaming experience, PoE can offer  both flexibility and convenience.

  • CCTV or Security System: With the growing emphasis on security in our modern world, businesses and homeowners are increasingly turning to CCTV systems to protect their properties. However, powering these surveillance systems come with its own set of challenges. That's where Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology comes into play. PoE switches for security cameras, can provide both power and data connectivity through a single Ethernet cable. With PoE, you can easily install and manage your security system without the need for separate power outlets near each camera. A standard PoE switch can typically handle the power requirements of a security camera, which typically range around 30 watts.
  • Office Work: In an office environment, PoE switches come in handy for powering essential equipment such as printers, scanners, and other office devices. It ensures a clean and organized workspace while providing reliable power to your office equipment.
  • Networking Devices: PoE switches are an ideal choice for a wide range of networking devices, including access points and Wi-Fi repeaters. With PoE, you can easily deploy and manage your network infrastructure without the need for separate power sources. This makes installation and expansion of your network a breeze, while also simplifying maintenance and troubleshooting.
  • Gaming: For gaming enthusiasts, PoE switches offer a convenient solution to power gaming setups. The streamlined setup not only reduces cable clutter but also ensures consistent power delivery, maximizing your gaming performance.

PoE Power Standards

When it comes to 802.3at and 802.3af PoE standards, the difference may not be immediately obvious. With so much jargon to navigate, selecting the right one for your setup is crucial to avoid powering up only half of your devices.

802.3af (PoE), each port delivers 15.4 watts, while 802.3at (PoE+) provides a higher power output of 25.5 watts per port. But what do these numbers mean for you? Generally, 802.3at and 802.3af are cross-compatible. However, here is a list of devices that may require one standard over the other:


  • Basic devices like VoIP phones
  • Wireless access points
  • Fixed lens security cameras

PoE + Switch

  • Devices that require higher power including video phones
  • PTZ security cameras
  • Access control systems

Managed vs. UnManaged?

If you are planning to add new network devices, you may be considering acquiring a new Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch. There are numerous options and an abundance of technical terminology, which can quickly become confusing if you're new to this field. To clear up any uncertainty, we’ll delve into the two primary categories of PoE switches: unmanaged and managed. We will take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each, providing you with the necessary information to make an informed decision based on your specific requirements.

Unmanaged PoE Switches

The most basic type of switch you can purchase is an Unmanaged PoE Switch. This category of switch is highly valued for its simplicity and effectiveness. When you set up an unmanaged switch, all you need to do is plug in your devices, uplink into your network, and you're ready to go.


Another significant advantage of unmanaged switches is their affordability. You can expect to pay anywhere from 25% - 50% less for an unmanaged version of the same switch. For most common purposes, there really isn't a downside to using an unmanaged switch. However, if you have more complex setups or network designs, they may not provide the level of control you need.

Managed PoE Switches

If you are seeking more control or have a complex network setup, opting for a managed solution could be the better choice. Managed switches provide an interface that allows you to monitor and configure each port's traffic according to your specific needs. This level of control enables you to effectively manage, troubleshoot, and monitor your network.

In addition to enhanced control, managed switches offer additional layers of security that are absent in unmanaged switches. Features like authentication, port security, and private VLANS contribute to safeguarding your data and network integrity.

However, it's important to consider a few potential downsides of managed switches. The inclusion of advanced features comes at a premium cost, with managed switches typically priced 25% - 50% higher than basic models. Additionally, setting up these features may pose a challenge for first-time users. If you are unfamiliar with network configurations, expect to invest some time in reading and researching, possibly consulting online resources such as YouTube tutorials, to fully grasp the setup process.

Alternatives to PoE?

Hands on a laptop with multiple options hovering over

When it comes to alternatives to PoE, the options available depend on the specific device you are using. In some cases, you may not have any alternative and PoE is the only viable option. This is particularly true for certain brands of access control systems commonly found in modern door access or video intercom setups.

However, for other devices, you may have the option to use a power transformer, similar to the ones used for charging your phone. While this can be a viable alternative, especially for individual devices, it can become cumbersome and challenging to manage when dealing with a large number of devices. Having to plug them into various outlets and finding adequate power sources can become a logistical challenge.

While PoE may not be the only option in all cases, it often proves to be the most convenient and efficient solution, especially when dealing with multiple devices in a networked environment.

Network Considerations

When you research POE switches for your network infrastructure, you'll likely come across the terms Gigabit Ethernet and SFP uplink. 

Gigabit Ethernet is an Ethernet standard that supports data transfer rates of up to 1 Gbps, providing ten times faster speeds compared to Fast Ethernet. This technology allows for quicker file transfers, seamless video streaming, and improved overall network performance. In a Gigabit Ethernet network, data is transmitted through either copper or fiber optic cables.

SFP Uplink, or Small Form-factor Pluggable uplink, is an innovative technology that empowers network administrators to surpass the physical limitations of their switches. By utilizing SFP uplink ports on a POE switch, you gain the flexibility to expand your network by establishing connections with other switches, routers, or servers via fiber optic cables. This becomes advantageous when the distance between devices exceeds the capabilities of traditional copper Ethernet cables.

Top PoE switch providers 

Workers in a conference room

Providers for Large Corporations

In the current market, there is a wide variety of PoE switch providers available. When it comes to larger businesses, Meraki or Cisco switches are ideal for fulfilling their extensive needs and specific requirements. However, it's important to note that these options come with a higher price tag, typically around $10,000.

Providers for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

BV Security PoE switches offer a hassle-free plug-and-play experience for small to medium sized businesses. It’s simple to connect your devices, such as cameras and networking devices, and you're good to go. However, unlike switches from larger enterprise companies like Cisco or Meraki, which often require a dedicated full-time employee for management and maintenance, BV Security products eliminate the need for constant monitoring and control. With BV Security PoE switches, you can set up your network quickly and efficiently, without the need for extensive technical expertise or ongoing management.

Providers in Retail Stores

PoE providers such as TP-Link and TrendNet offer convenience by being readily available at retail stores like Walmart. However, they fall short in terms of support. If you encounter any issues with their products and try to seek assistance, you may find yourself at a dead end with store employees who lack the necessary knowledge.

Characteristics of a reputable PoE provider


By choosing a reputable PoE provider, you not only acquire a quality product that functions effectively and stands the test of time but you should also gain peace of mind knowing that reliable support is readily available. Characteristics of a reputable PoE provider include:


  1. Personalized and Prompt Assistance: A reputable PoE provider offers personalized and timely support. Instead of going through frustrating phone trees or waiting for callbacks, you should expect to speak directly to knowledgeable and friendly professionals who are dedicated to resolving your issues promptly. This ensures minimal downtime for your business and system.
  2. Direct Support Accessibility: While PoE switches you can purchase directly at retail stores may offer convenience, they often lack the necessary support infrastructure. When you encounter problems with their products and seek assistance, you may find yourself facing limited options and employees who are unfamiliar with the technical aspects. In contrast, a reputable PoE provider prioritizes customer satisfaction and provides support through various channels, including direct messaging, phone calls, and even in-person visits to their office if you're in the area.
  3. Comprehensive Warranty Coverage: A reputable provider will stand behind their product quality and offer a warranty that covers any potential issues that may arise. Whether it's a malfunction or a component failure. The goal with a warranty is to provide a customer a swift resolution to any problems and reduce any downtime.

Buyers Checklist/Questions to ask

Check list


Are you in the market for PoE switches and injectors to enhance your network infrastructure? With the multitude of options available, selecting the right products can be a daunting task. That's why we've prepared this PoE buyer's checklist to assist you.

PoE Buyer’s Checklist


  • Power Capacity: Ensure that the switches and injectors have sufficient power capacity to meet your devices' requirements. Consider high power capacity for power-hungry devices like IP cameras or access points. 
  • Number of Ports: Check if the switches and injectors have an adequate number of ports to connect all your devices.
  • Compatibility: Verify the compatibility of PoE switches and injectors with your devices.
  • Quality and Reliability: Prioritize high-quality and reliable products when investing in PoE switches and injectors.
  • Ease of Use: Consider the ease of setup and management when selecting PoE switches and injectors.

How to Install your PoE


Looking to install a PoE switch for your network but unsure where to begin? BV Security has you covered with our selection of user-friendly unmanaged PoE switches. We'll also provide a step-by-step guide below on how to effortlessly install a PoE switch in just five simple steps.


Step 1: Choose the Right Location


  • Select a well-ventilated location away from heat or moisture sources.
  • Ensure easy accessibility for troubleshooting purposes.


Step 2: Connect Your Devices


  • Use Ethernet cables to connect devices such as IP cameras, access points, and VoIP phones.
  • Double-check cable connections to avoid network issues.


Step 3: Connect the Power Cable


  • Use the appropriate power adapter for your PoE switch.
  • Refer to the manufacturer's specifications for the correct voltage and amperage.


Step 4: Configure Your PoE Switch (Optional)


  • If you have a managed PoE switch, access the web-based management interface to configure settings like VLANs, QoS, and PoE.
  • For unmanaged PoE switches, no configuration is required as they are ready to use out of the box.


Step 5: Test Your Network


  • Ensure all devices are connected and accessible within your network.
  • Perform network speed tests to verify optimal performance.


What sets BV Security apart from other providers in this space?


Comprehensive Support: When purchasing a network switch or a PoE switch for any purpose, you have the option to grab one off the shelf from other providers. However, BV Security offers dedicated support throughout your entire buying process. You can reach out to us before making a purchase, and we will guide you in selecting the best solution within your budget. Even after your purchase, if you face difficulties during setup or need troubleshooting assistance, our team is just a phone call away. In case of any issues or problems, we provide a warranty program that allows you to request a replacement unit.


Extensive Warranty Coverage: BV Security offers a two-year warranty that covers any potential malfunctions or issues that may occur with the product. If you encounter any problems, a simple phone call to our support team is all it takes to initiate the resolution process. Just provide the model number, and if necessary, we will promptly ship out a replacement unit to minimize any downtime or disruptions. Our primary goal is to ensure that you receive the necessary support and get back up and running as quickly as possible.


Fast Shipping: We understand the importance of timely delivery, which is why any order you place with BV Security will generally ship out on the same day. With our well-stocked warehouse and thousands of PoE switches available, orders received before 4:00 PM Central Time will be processed and shipped via FedEx or UPS the very same day. 



If you have any questions unique to your situation or need help finding the right solution, please feel free to contact one of our experts at (847) 619-2288. Additionally, you can reach us via email support@bvsecurity.com or visit our website https://bvsecurity.com/ to view available products and latest guides.

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