Not every IP camera is Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled. If your customer’s existing security cameras aren’t PoE enabled, they will need to upgrade by using either a switch or a PoE injector for IP cameras. PoE injectors save you from using both a power cable and an Ethernet cord to power up and connect your IP cameras to your network. They’re cheaper, easy to set up, and a cinch to move if you need to adjust your devices elsewhere. Before you use a PoE injector, you’ll need to know what kind of switch that you’re dealing with.
What’s Your Setup? What Do You Need?
First, you need to determine whether you need the PoE injector. You’ll need one if you’re using a non-PoE switch. How do you know if you have a non-PoE switch? Plug your device into the switch and your switch will determine whether it is PoE or not. If it’s not, you’ll need the injector to power and view the data from your IP cameras.
- PoE switch: also called an endspan, you need no injector to power your device, just plug your switch directly to your IP camera
- Non-PoE switch: also called a midspan, it acts as a middleman between your switch and IP camera to enable power to your device
If you’ve determined that you need a PoE injector, you’ll notice that it is usually noticeably smaller than your switch. One side will have your PoE ports. The other your LAN ports.
If you’re using a wired IP camera, you’ll need an Ethernet cable to power up and transmit. What kind of Ethernet cable to use depends on what kind and how many IP cameras and their connection distance from the LAN.
- Category 5e: cheapest, slowest, crosstalk reduced, not especially scalable
- Category 6: limited distance, nearly no crosstalk, supports 10 Gbps up to 164 feet at 250 Mhz
- Category 6a: most expensive, practically no crosstalk, supports 10 Gbps up to 328 feet at 500 Mhz
Most wired PoE use a Cat5e or a 6 cable.
An IP camera and an Ethernet cord are all you need to start to use your PoE injector. Now that you’ve determined your setup, you can decide what kind of PoE injector that best fits the need of your client.
But what Kind of PoE Injector Do You Need?
PoE injectors are either active or passive, single or multiple port, Mode A or Mode B. The multiple port injectors can be a 4, 6, 8, or 24-port injector. A single port will work for a single camera. The more cameras, the more ports you need to power up your IP cameras. As a rule, use a PoE injector unless you have many IP cameras, which in case, a PoE hub makes more sense and is more data and cost-efficient.
Know your network speed since that’s also where the data flows. You might think that gigs are better, but most injectors and IP cameras operate just fine on 100Mb bandwidth.
- You’ll want a PoE injector that is active. An active injector is always a 48 volt. You can use passive, but that just dumbs down your system.
- You can either use Mode A or Mode B, but Mode A is your safest bet as you’ll be using pin pairs 1 and 2, 3, and 6. This works best with 48V IP cameras. However, if you’re using a 24V device, you’ll always use Mode B since it uses power over the spare pins. It’s not that one mode is better, it’s just that Mode A is more standard and that 24V just works with Mode B only.
It’s important to note that not all IP cameras use the same amount of power. Use a power supply that handles within 80 percent of the max rating for your expected load.
How To Use Your PoE Injector
Now that you know which Ethernet cord and what category cable will work with your particular setup, here’s how to use your PoE injector to get your IP camera network up and running.
- Make sure all your equipment is in working order before mounting your IP cameras.
- Plug your Ethernet cord into the injector’s PoE port as well as into the IP camera port.
- Mount your camera where there’s good lighting.
- Use another Ethernet to plug your non-PoE switch to your injector.
As you can see, using your PoE injector for IP cameras isn’t brain surgery. Just plug your cord into your injector and camera, mount your camera and there you go. You’ll get anywhere from 15W to 70W per port on an active switch.
An Interoperable Future: PoE Certification
A press release cited by Market Watch states that there will be nearly 40 billion connected devices by 2025. The ensuing IoT infrastructure demands that secure and cost-efficient solutions will be needed to manage those devices. A PoE enabled network will provide cost installation savings, flexibility, less chance for failure, and centralized power management whether you’re using a VoIP phone, PoE enabled wireless access point, or IP security cameras.
The next logical step for PoE past the current standards is interoperability. According to the Ethernet Alliance, the launch of the Gen2 Power over Ethernet (PoE) Certification program is underway. If you’re a PoE stakeholder, it will be especially important for you to know how the certification process will work and affect your PoE-enabled systems and devices.