Installing technology that requires both power and a network connection, like IP cameras and VoIP phones, can be rather problematic; wiring your devices with multiple cords can be a hassle. A PoE switch allows you to kill two birds with one stone, as this switch can supply both power and an ethernet connection with one cable.
A PoE switch’s ability to use one cable for both power and network cleans up a potentially messy entanglement of cables behind the scenes. Usually used for IP cameras, you can conveniently power up your surveillance system with just one cable. For your office, using a PoE switch for VoIP phones and WAPs make the workplace cleaner and more collaborative.
Here’s what we recommend for your network.
What to Look for in a PoE Switch
Consider these aspects when looking for a PoE switch:
- Type of Switch: There are two main types of PoE switches: unmanaged and managed.
- Unmanaged: These switches are setup-free, but they don’t have as many features as a managed switch would.
- Managed: These switches come with greater configurations but are generally more expensive and require skill to fully make use of them.
- Smart Switches: They combine both aspects of an unmanaged switch and a managed switch. They provide functionality while costing less than a managed switch.
- Number of Ports: Make sure you have enough ports to connect all your devices to your switch.
- Power Budget: The total power budget of your switch is the maximum power output it can provide for all of its ports.
Easiest to Use: Netgear GS116PP Unmanaged PoE Switch
This unmanaged switch requires no setup, making it convenient to use and hassle-free. On top of its simplicity, this switch is a great unmanaged pick, boasting a total power budget of 183 W and 16 10/100/1G ports. This switch is suitable for quiet areas, as it operates silently. Additionally, you can mount this device almost anywhere. You can also keep it mounted on a desk or wall for convenient placement.
NETGEAR 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged PoE Switch (GS116PP) - with 16 x PoE+ @ 183W, Desktop, Wall Mount or Rackmount, and Limited Lifetime Protection
This is an unmanaged, plug-and-play switch with a generous power capacity and 16 ports.
Budget Option: TP-Link TL-SF1005P Unmanaged PoE Switch
This is a low-cost, unmanaged switch that’ll support your smaller network. It has four 10/100 Mbps shielded ports with a total power budget of 58 W. Additionally, this switch will prioritize its high-priority ports when its watt limit is overloaded. If you’re working with only a couple of devices, this budget switch is the most effective for you.
TP-Link TL-SF1005P V2 | 5 Port Fast Ethernet PoE Switch | 4 PoE+ Ports @67W | Desktop | Plug & Play | Sturdy Metal w/ Shielded Ports | Fanless | Limited Lifetime Protection | Extend & Priority Mode
For your smaller network, this PoE switch offers four shielded ports, good for a few devices.
High-End Option: Ubiquiti UniFi Managed Switch US-24-250W
For any serious network needing a powerful PoE connection, this switch from Ubiquiti will get the job done. This switch comes with 24 Gigabit ports and a generous power budget of 250 W. As a managed switch, it comes with a number of useful functions and configurations to best fit your needs; by default, each port delivers 24 V. Additionally, this switch offers two 1-Gbps SFP ports for fiber and uplink connectivity.
Ubiquiti UniFi Switch - 24 Ports Managed (US-24-250W),White
For networks requiring a robust, powerful switch, this managed switch allows full control over your network.
Best Smart Switch: NETGEAR Smart Managed Plus Switch
Best for your home or small office space, this smart switch comes with the useful functionality you need at a cost-effective price. With 8 Gigabit ports and 53 W of total power, you’ll have ample space and power for your devices. With this smart switch, you’ll get enhanced configuration over your network like a managed switch, but for a smaller price.
NETGEAR 8-Port PoE Gigabit Ethernet Plus Switch (GS108PEv3) - Managed, with 4 x PoE @ 53W, Desktop or Wall Mount, and Limited Lifetime Protection
If you're looking for better control over your network, this smart switch offers just that---without breaking the bank.