These days home design is deeply intertwined with technological functionality, especially for professionals who work from home (which is increasingly common during the COVID-19 pandemic). Flawless Internet access and IoT-readiness are critical for home entrepreneurs.
Fortunately, you can accomplish these without turning your home into a gauntlet of cables, cords, wires, and modems. You can have a smart home without it looking like you live inside an actual computer mainframe.
In the very near future – one could argue this is already true – a good home design won’t be complete without ensuring a solid wi-fi connection, smart home features, IoT functionality, and adaptability. Additionally, you want these features while minimizing overall power consumption.
What good will it be to have a beautiful home if your house guests can’t check their email? How much money do you want to burn setting up a home office if you can’t maximize your network connectivity?
The answer is a smart hack that will save you money on both installation time and equipment cost without sacrificing a clean, modern home design.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) networking switch
A Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch is a networking device that transmits both network data and supplies power via an Ethernet network cable. There are different port sizes, ranging from 8, 12, 24, and 48, where eight is suitable for smaller networks, and 48 is for much larger ones. PoE networks consist of a power cord and a PoE switch. However, using a non-PoE switch is possible in a PoE network.
Difference Between PoE and Non-PoE Switches
A non-PoE switch does not provide power out of the interface. However, an existing non-PoE switch coupled with a PoE injector can provide both power and data while preserving the existing switch. Adding a PoE injector does not convert an existing switch into a PoE switch. A PoE switch will work both PoE compliant devices and non-PoE devices. However, a non-PoE switch cannot support the configuration of PoE devices.
Make Your Home Devices IoT-Ready
The number of network-connected devices that require power and transmit data is expanding exponentially. It estimated by 2025, the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices will reach 21.5 billion. The rapid expansion of network connectivity significantly increases the importance of PoE technology and infrastructure. Three main types of devices require a PoE connection, these devices include:
- IP Cameras and security technology are always evolving. The reason for the significant improvements is PoE networks, which provide a powerful connection, enable fast deployment, and allow for simple repositioning.
- VoIP Phones were the original PoE instrument. A PoE network allows for these devices to connect to a single wall socket, which enables remote powering down.
- Wireless access points are mostly PoE compatible, which allows for remote repositioning. RFID readers are also PoE compatible, which allows for swift identification and simple relocation.
- Smart Home Automation is a more recent technology that utilizes PoE technology. These include heating and cooling systems, LED lighting, electric car charging stations, and voice assistance.
Benefits of PoE switches
The benefits of a PoE switch relates back to accessibility. Adding additional power cables and devices drive up the cost of a network system. Likewise, Ethernet cables are less expensive than their non-Ethernet counterpart. To keep costs to a minimum, consider using a PoE network and switches.
Reduced infrastructure cost is only one example. Other benefits to PoE switches include:
- Adaptability: PoE devices do not require power outlets enabling them to move effortlessly from one location to another. Likewise, they are functional in hard to reach places or in areas that are not near a power outlet. A prime example would be security cameras, which are sometimes not within reach of a reliable power source.
- Minimize Power Consumption: PoE switches automatically detect the amount of power consumed by PoE devices. It then supplies only the necessary amount of energy required for the system, which minimizes energy waste and reduces costs.
- Future Proof: IoT systems are expanding rapidly and are only expected to increase in the future. Having PoE switches in a network system ensures your infrastructure can handle the ever-increasing number of devices that optimize PoE technology.
Main Types of PoE Switches
There are three main types of PoE switches that are suitable for a different set of demands. These include unmanaged, managed, and web-smart switches. Understanding the capabilities of each kind and knowing your specific set of needs is essential when choosing the right PoE switch.
- Unmanaged PoE Switch: An unmanaged switch is an affordable and undemanding solution. Unmanaged switches are suitable for home networks or small businesses and offices with less than ten computers. They are typically plug-n-play, so setup is quite simple.
- Hybrid PoE Switch: A hybrid switch is a little bit more expensive than an unmanaged one. However, they support slightly larger networks and provide some security features. They are great for VoIP phones, low-level IT admins, small VLANs, and labs.
- Managed PoE Switch: A managed switch provides the highest amount of security and great for enterprise networks. However, they are the most expensive. But are perfect for highly-trained IT- admins, management, and control, both on-site and off-site.
Maximize Your Home’s Network Connectivity
The power of PoE networks are here, and it does not look like they are going anywhere anytime soon. According to Machine Design, the capacity of PoE networks are only going to increase, leading to a broader range of device application and solutions. Likewise, PoE switches are vastly superior to their non-PoE counterpart in functionality and ability and are suitable for basically any network size and specific needs.
As a final note, if your home is in a remote area without a reliable power source, PoE switches will make your personal and professional life much easier.