PoE Network Switches for IP Cameras
In order to connect your IP cameras to the best NAS for home surveillance, you’ll need some form of interface that’ll allow for so many connections. This is where a network switch comes into play. We’re recommending power-over-ethernet (PoE) switches that can provide power as well as data connections to all your IP cameras.
How to choose the best PoE switch for IP security cameras
Before picking just any PoE capable switch, it’s important to consider a few factors that will be important when looking to add a few IP cameras. Compared to normal network switches, PoE switches (like the excellent EnGenius ECS1008P) are able to provide both power and data through a single connection, save on your home wireless bandwidth, and utilize a single UPS for operation during a loss of power.
Not all PoE network switches are made the same. There are differences in the total amount of power each switch is able to provide. You can usually find switches with a maximum throughput of around 50W for decently priced options, but some can go up to 100W or even higher. Most IP cameras will require around 15W, so you can calculate just how much you’d need with home security.
It’s always a better idea to buy a switch with too much power available rather than not having enough further down the line should you decide to add additional IP cameras.
PoE vs. PoE+
You may have seen PoE and PoE+ ports on switches, so what’s the difference? PoE (or simply IEEE802.3af) is a little slower than PoE+ (but you can call it IEEE802.3at) and caps out at 15W per port, while PoE+ pushes this up to around 30W per port. Just because each port supports up to 30W, you’ll still need to keep within its total power limit.
As the available power for all your cameras, it’s important to consider the number of devices you plan on connecting to the hub. Each camera will require a single 1Gb port, so too will any other devices you need to connect locally. If the switch doesn’t have a specific uplink port, one of the available Gb ports will need to be used.
Unmanaged vs. managed
Once you’ve agreed on the number of ports and amount of power required, next up is how to choose between a managed or unmanaged network switch. It’s pretty simple, in that unmanaged switches are more basic in what you can configure but are more affordable.
Managed switches allow you to connect to an admin panel and really dive into some settings. They’re more expensive, but you’ll be able to achieve more and personalize it to your network.
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