How Does a PoE Switch Work?


All modern industrial devices use long cables for power transmission. With these devices demanding more power, the use of cables is increasing, and creating more complexities. This is where power over ethernet (PoE) technology makes a difference. It assures higher power transmission with a lesser number of cables than other contemporary technologies. Like any other technology, the PoE is administered through various devices such as PoE switches. What are PoE switches and how do they work? This post answers everything you want to know about these devices.

A Basic Introduction to PoE Technology

PoE is a special networking feature, which allows network cables to carry both - electrical current and data to a device at the same time. Although data and current are transmitted using the same cable, they use a different set of wires.  This technology governs the working of any networking equipment, and helps ensure the interoperability between different devices connected in a network.

PoE devices comprise power sourcing equipment (PSE) and powered devices (PD). PSE is a device that transmits power, and PoE switches are PSEs. The devices that receive power are known as PDs.

PoE Switch

PoE Switches and their Working Explained

A power over ethernet (PoE) switch configuration is easy to understand, owing to its simple construction. The switch features several ethernet ports to ensure consistent power supply and network communications to devices connected to it. These switches may be operated in any of the following configurations:

  • Mode A Configuration: In this configuration, the switch delivers power and data through the same wire.
  • Mode B Configuration: In this configuration, the switch delivers power and data through different wires.

Most industrial PoE switches feature 5 or 8 ports, whereas non-industrial PoE switches may have 8, 24 or 48 ports. These switches are classified into two types – managed and unmanaged switches.


Three Reasons to Consider PoE Switches for Your Industrial Applications

These switches have gained immense popularity in recent years, owing to the following benefits that they offer.

  • Reliability: Unlike other traditional power distribution sources, the PoE switches consolidate the power distribution on a single source. These switches are universally compatible and can be used to reset or disable devices. Additionally, these switches can be equipped with an uninterrupted power supply.
  • Flexibility: The PoE switch requires no additional cables, because it transmits data and power through the ethernet cable. The devices connected to the switch can be easily repositioned to a new location as per the requirement. The powerful combination of wireless technology and PoE creates a cable-free environment, which assures hassle-free working of devices connected to them.
  • Cost-efficient: The PoE switch reduces the need for additional electrical power cabling, as in other traditional technologies. These switches can be easily fitted anywhere, and they require no expert intervention for installation. All these assure significant savings in terms of installation costs, maintenance costs, and human efforts.

Three Key Applications of Industrial PoE Switches

Owing to the above-discussed advantages, PoE switches are used in various applications. The following are three key applications:

  • IP Cameras: Most networked surveillance cameras used in offices and industrial locations are PoE-driven. These camera systems receive power and data from PoE switches. Nowadays, it has become mandatory to use these switches to ensure the safety of people and surroundings. PoE switches manufactured by VERSITRON allow a user to extend their IP Camera signaling over fiber optic cable for enhanced security and distance extension.
  • Wireless Networks: PoE switches have contributed to the growth of wireless networks. They help avoid huge installation costs associated with access points and controllers to a great extent. Bluetooth Apps, RFID readers, and Wifi devices are devices that utilize wireless networks for their functioning. These devices can be easily relocated to a new site depending on use.
  • VoIP Phones: This PoE application utilizes a single connection to the wall socket. PoE switches have contributed to the increasing use of VoIP phones for business communication.

After understanding how the PoE switch operates and its increasing use in various industrial applications, it is important to source them from a reliable manufacturer and supplier. VERSITRO is a leading manufacturer and provider of industrial PoE switches in different configurations. These switches can support ethernet, fast ethernet, as well as gigabit ethernet applications over fiber for enhanced and secure communication links.