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Get Smart With PoE
Ten Reasons Smart Power-Over-Ethernet Switches are the
Wise Choice for Upgrading IP Surveillance Networks
An ever-increasing number of today’s businesses, school districts and healthcare
facilities are delving into Smart Ethernet switches with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE)
technology—and reaping big benefits for their IP Surveillance networks.
PoE Switches: The Basics
With PoE technology, IP cameras are powered using the
same LAN cable (typically a UTP Cat5e or better) that
also carries the IP video data. Normally, at the center
of the network is a PoE switch—a traditional Ethernet
switch that has the additional capability of “injecting”
PoE power (48VDC) on the LAN cable. A PoE switch will
commonly have 4, 8, 16, 24 or 48 ports, although other
variants are also available. This switch provides power
and data to the IP camera on each port—using a single
LAN cable—up to 330 ft. (100 m.) away.
PoE switches fall into three basic categories:
unmanaged, smart and managed.
• Unmanaged switches provide basic connectivity
between networked devices at a low cost. However,
they aren’t capable of changing settings or functions.
They tend to be easy to use and good for simple
connectivity only.
• Smart switches have a Graphical User Interface (GUI)
with easy-to-understand controls, and are managed
via a web browser. They provide intuitive guidance to
users and are ideal for those who have no advanced
network training.
• Fully Managed switches have a GUI, and also a more
technical Command Line Interface (CLI), which allows
network administrators to create scripts to program
and manage multiple switches. Fully managed
switches have a full suite of capabilities that are often
beyond the needs of a basic IP surveillance network.
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Why PoE Smart Switches Over
Unmanaged Switches?
When designing an IP Surveillance network, here are
ten reasons it makes smart sense to “step up” from an
unmanaged PoE switch to a Smart PoE switch.
Reason #1: More Bang for the Buck.
When working with budget-conscious customers,
many system integrators and network designers
normally specify unmanaged PoE switches, due to
their simplicity and low cost. However, upgrading
to a Smart PoE switch can net big value. The cost
increase is minimal, and yet the added capabilities,
tools and benefits for the surveillance network (and
administrators) can be compelling.
Reason #2: Easier Administration.
Smart PoE switches feature an easy-to-use,
browser-based user interface and straightforward
communication. An administrator simply browses
to the IP address of the switch. The administrator
can then use an intuitive graphical user interface
(GUI) that becomes a simple vehicle for configuring
and monitoring important elements and features in
the network.
Reason #3: Remote Reboots and Power Control.
With smart switches, an administrator can remotely
turn on and off the PoE power to each camera via
the graphical user interface. This comes in especially
handy when a camera needs to be rebooted. This
action can be manually controlled at any time from
anywhere on the network, including over the Internet.
Using PoE cameras
and switches is a
win-win strategy
because it offers:
• Flexibility: End devices
can be installed where
it’s hard to get power,
and they can easily be
moved to wherever
there’s a LAN cable.
• Simplicity: Only a LAN
cable is needed to the end
device, which minimizes
cable clutter.
• Safety: No AC power
is needed for outdoor
• Cost Savings: There’s no
need to install power outlets,
which saves on electrician
and permitting costs.
While the task of manually provisioning VLANs can sound daunting and complicated, D-Link Smart
PoE switches support a feature called Auto Surveillance VLAN, which enables the Smart PoE switch to
automatically detect any D-Link (or other manufacturer’s) IP camera on the network.
The administrator need not be at the camera’s location, nor be in the
same room as the PoE switch, which avoids truck rolls, saves time and
money. PoE ports can be powered up/down one at a time, many ports
at a time or all ports together.
Some Smart PoE switches, such as business-class solutions from
D-Link, even support Time Based PoE—an option that allows
administrators to set a time window that determines when each
camera is powered on and off. This can be useful for networks
that need to be shut down during certain times of the day, or for
automatically scheduling IP camera reboots on a periodic (daily) basis
with no manual intervention.
Reason #4: Real-Time Power Statistics and
Power-Saving Features.
Under certain conditions, network administrators need to know the
real-time power consumption for each switch port, including the
overall PoE budget utilization. Capturing this data simply isn’t possible
with an unmanaged switch. A Smart PoE switch, however, can provide
the following power consumption statistics in real time:
• PoE power utilization per port, including Power (W), Current draw
(mA) and Voltage levels (VDC)
• Overall system power, including the total system PoE power budget,
amount of PoE power currently being used and the remaining PoE
power still available
off, the signal power to that port will be reduced. By reducing signal
power consumption, less heat is produced, resulting in extended
product life and lower operating costs.
Reason #5: Auto Surveillance VLAN.
A Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) uses an Ethernet Switch to
partition a physical network, thereby creating distinct broadcast
domains. VLANs are especially useful when an IP Surveillance network
shares the same network infrastructure with other functions or
applications, such as a corporate data network. By assigning the
IP Surveillance traffic to a separate, distinct, high-priority VLAN, the
traffic is assured to pass through the network swiftly and securely.
While the task of manually provisioning VLANs can sound daunting
and complicated, D-Link Smart PoE switches support a feature called
Auto Surveillance VLAN, which enables the Smart PoE switch to
automatically detect any D-Link (or other manufacturer’s) IP camera on
the network. With no manual intervention, traffic from each camera
is automatically assigned to a high-priority VLAN, which guarantees
the quality and security of the surveillance information, even during
periods of high network congestion.
Reason #6: Smarter Management of the PoE Power Budget.
Smart PoE switches also have a distinct advantage when it comes
to managing the PoE power budget. As the network grows and
additional cameras are added, a PoE switch will be asked to supply
more power. When an unmanaged switch reaches its power budget
maximum, it will prohibit turn up of any additional ports. On the other
hand, a Smart PoE switch allows an administrator to manage increased
power demands in a much more controlled manner, through userdefined port-priority assignments and policies.
Reason #7: Ability to Set PoE Power Threshold Limits Per Port.
Under some conditions, a network administrator may need to set a
limit to the amount of power applied to any particular switch port for
an IP camera. This is especially useful for IP cameras that don’t “selfreport” their power classification to the switch automatically.
Figure 1. Sample Smart switch graphical user interface (GUI) showing
real-time PoE port settings and status.
Setting power limits cannot be done with unmanaged PoE switches,
but it’s quite easy to do with a Smart PoE switch. Most Smart PoE
switches allow administrators to configure a power threshold per
port based on pre-defined IEEE 802.3at Classifications (i.e., 4.0W, 7.0W,
15.4W or 30.0W). Others even allow administrators to define a custom
power limit (from 1-30W) for any designated port.
Also, Smart PoE switches may often support power-saving features
that are not found in unmanaged PoE switches. For example, when
a Smart PoE switch senses that an RJ-45 port is link down, or the
connected device (camera) is idle, has been disconnected or turned
Reason #8: Better Cable Diagnostics.
Smart PoE switches enable administrators to easily examine the quality
of the copper cables connected to each switch port. Tests can be
initiated from anywhere on the network and run on each port during
installation or troubleshooting to determine any potential cable errors.
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More and more security professionals are beginning
to realize the tremendous benefits of upgrading to
Smart (managed) PoE switches.
• An Ethernet link goes up or down (e.g. an IP camera establishes
or loses a link)
• PoE power turns on/off for any port
This is a distinct advantage over unmanaged switches, which don’t
have this functionality. Diagnostics data includes:
• A short circuit occurs on any port
• A “Power Deny” action occurs on any port
• Cable connection: OK / Short Circuit / Open Circuit.
• Cable Fault Distance: If a cable fault is found, the test results will show
the distance of the fault from the switch port.
• Cable Length: If test results show OK, they will also show the total
length of the cable.
Reason #9: Automatic Loop Detection.
Smart PoE switches may also feature a loop detection function, which
can locate unintentional loops in a network. If a loop is detected, the
switch automatically shuts down the port and alerts the administrator.
Loop detection can be enabled on a single port, a range of ports or all
ports simultaneously. Without such protection, undetected loops can
wreak major havoc and cause serious traffic flow disruptions.
Reason #10: PoE Traps and Alerts for Administrators.
Unmanaged PoE switches have no ability to alert the network
administrator after a change or disruption to the network. Smart
switches, however, can send “traps” or alerts to a network management
system (typically SNMP-based) when such challenges arise. For example,
a Smart PoE switch can send a trap/alert to administrators when:
In Summary
Unmanaged PoE switches are considered a mainstay of IP
surveillance networks because they are low-cost, easy-to-use and
good for simple connectivity. However, more and more security
professionals are beginning to realize the tremendous benefits
of upgrading to Smart (managed) PoE switches. Not only do
they represent minimal cost increases, they provide network
administrators with a simple, easy-to-use interface through which
the IP surveillance network can be configured and monitored from
anywhere, anytime. They also offer additional tools that enable
administrators to enjoy faster network installation, easier network
maintenance and upgrades, and better visibility into network health.
It all adds up to time- and cost-savings that are attractive selling
features for today’s budget-conscious organizations.
For more information on how you can use
Smart PoE switches from D-Link to optimize your end-to-end
IP Surveillance networks, call or email us today at:
888.331.8686 | | Email: [email protected]
D-Link and the D-Link logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of D-Link Corporation and/or its subsidiaries in the United States and other
countries. All other company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
© 2013 D-Link Corporation/D-Link Systems, Inc.
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