POE Switch & How to test Power over Ethernet

Why bother with Powering devices over Ethernet?

Oftentimes you’d like to install a device such as a security camera. To install this device, you’d normally need two wires traipsing through your establishment. Usually, power comes a separate power cord and controlling the device using data requires using yet another cord, usually an Ethernet wire.

These two lines supply power and data. Data would send information to your device, allowing you to control it. For example, if you are running a remote control camera, any time you adjust the focus of the camera, this data is sent over the cable connected via Ethernet.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just have one wire running through your home or business? Enter Power over Ethernet (PoE). There are many advantages to using Power over Ethernet:

  1. With one less wire to run, your bill from a local electrician just went down!
  2. Your device doesn’t need to be next to a power outlet, or have a separate power source installed, thus allowing you increased freedom.
  3. POE is advanced. Power over Ethernet can protect your devices from being overloaded, underpowered, or being installed incorrectly.
  4. Because of its universal nature, Power over Ethernet can have a back up power source or be controlled easily – disable and reset devices at will!
  5. With power on your network, the possibilities are unlimited. Give your business room to grow with simple and effective installation and scalability.

What practical applications can PoE serve?

Power over Ethernet can control a variety of devices. 3 of the most popular applications are:

  1. VoIP (communicating via the internet).
  2. IP cameras (security cameras, or other video cameras). 
  3. and wireless devices such as RFID readers (security cards).

How can you add Power over Ethernet to your home and commercial buildings?

POE Switch – Power over Ethernet Switches

A POE switch is a popular way to add PoE to your network. A PoE switch has Power over Ethernet built in. There are a variety of options available to suit any application. Ask your local electrician for advice regarding which PoE to buy, or have them set it up for you.

Then, simply connect your network devices to the switch like any other Ethernet switch. The PoE Switch can and will detect what devices are PoE compatible and make the necessary adjustment. For example it will enable the power automatically!

Midspan – Power over Ethernet

What if your regular network links do not have PoE? Use a midspan, or PoE injector. Each network connection must be routed through the PoE injector. A midspan can be used by an electrician contractor to upgrade existing LAN to Power over Ethernet. As with a PoE switch, there are a variety of midspan options available. Also similar to Power over Ethernet switches, power is automatically supplied.

PoE Splitter – Power over Ethernet Splitter

The device itself, such as an existing IP security camera, can be upgraded to PoE. The camera’s network connection is tied into the PoE splitter, and taps into the Power over Ethernet. The power is then converted into low voltage power acceptable to power the device.

What types of tools make PoE and PoE Switch installation easier?

There are a variety of tools available to test and install Power over Ethernet devices. Wire Works Co Inc officially recommends the use of Net Prowler™, Cable Prowler™ or Net Chaser™ tools. These are products of Platinum Tools. When these network testers are connected to an Ethernet cable, a lot of valuable information can be found out, like:

  • Maximum power
  • Supply voltage range
  • Power supply mode
  • Which pairs are transmitting PoE voltage
  • Link Speed and capability
Platinum Tool's Net Prowler to test POE switch

Platinum Tool’s Net Prowler

Net Prowler features

  • IPV4 and IPV6 support
  • Determine CDP or LLDP protocols
  • VLAN identification
  • Map networks
    • Show MAC address of the device
    • Display device names
    • Determine IP addresses
  • Keep track of test results for internal review or archive by connecting to a PC with USB

Cable Prowler by Platinum Tools for use with POE switches

Cable Prowler by Platinum Tools

Cable Prowler features

  • Fault finding capabilities
    • Tone generation
    • Link light identification
    • Trace individual cores
  • PoE Voltage Testing:
    • The Cable Prowler is especially helpful installing Power over Ethernet.
      • Tests the presence of PoE on the network
      • Current link status
      • Keep a record of network tests
      • Identify
        • open circuits,
        • short circuits
        • incorrect RJ45 connections
        • measure the length of the cable or the distance to a fault
Platinum Tool's Net Chaser helping when installing POE switch

Platinum Tool’s Net Chaser

Net Chaser features

  • Can test for network noise
  • Detecting faults in the cable wiring
  • Ensure cables can support the speed required
    • Speed Certification to IEEE standards 802.3

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