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Comparing PoE vs Non-PoE Switch: Can They Work Together?

Updated on May 28, 2024 by
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A PoE switch is a regular network switch that has Power over Ethernet functionality integrated. It allows compatible devices, such as VoIP phones, network surveillance cameras or wireless access points to work in places where power outlets or network connections don't exist. But many people still wonder: Can PoE switches be used with non-PoE switches? Can they be connected to non-PoE devices? Here are the answers.

What Are Non-PoE Devices?

Devices that are not PoE (Power over Ethernet) do not draw power from network lines. They instead depend on AC or DC power sources. Examples of such non-PoE devices include personal computers and laptops.

Nearly every organization has multiple PCs within their network, utilizing Ethernet cables for data transfer and connectivity. Traditional offices, educational institutions, hotels, and multi-story buildings also use Ethernet lines for transmitting data.

As the need for security and control grows, simple Ethernet lines are no longer adequate for organizations, becoming a significant issue for many enterprises and their workspaces. This inadequacy is due to a total lack of control and security features, making such networks vulnerable to hacking incidents. They function like public spaces where anyone can intrude. However, PoE switches address this issue effectively. Crucially, these switches can be incorporated without altering the existing infrastructure.

But a question arises: Can you use a PoE port with non-PoE devices? This is what we aim to explore next in this article!

PoE vs Non-PoE Switch: Can They Work Together?

PoE and non-PoE switches are both network switches, is there any difference between them? Compared to a PoE switch, a non-PoE switch is surely cheaper, but it can't provide any power to any devices. But the PoE switch is not an independent entity in the entire network. It can access the aggregation switch at the upper end and the distributed switch at the lower end. General PoE switches have a port called uplink port, which is interconnected with ordinary switches, so, there is no problem of being unable to connect to other non-PoE switches.

PoE switch connects to Non-PoE switch

Can PoE Switch Pass Through Non-PoE Switch?

For those who have both PoE and non-PoE switches, they may wonder whether the PoE switch can supply power to the device through the non-PoE switch? The answer is NO!

PoE will only be provided to devices directly connected to the PoE switch, and only on request. PoE doesn't carry through additional switches, the last switch before the device has to be the PoE switch.

If you have a PoE switch and want to pass PoE to client devices, you should not use non-PoE switches in between, because most PoE switches will not turn on the power to ports that are connected to non-PoE client devices at all, and some older non-PoE switches not only fail to pass power, but they may make matters worse by shorting unused pairs 1 and 4 (connecting them to the ground). So, if you want a non-PoE switch to "power" other PoE devices, all you need is a PoE injector.

PoE Switch and Non-PoE switch connecting to PoE device

Can PoE Switch Be Used with Non-PoE Devices?

PoE switches are great, but can I still use them with other non-PoE devices? What happens if you plug a non-PoE device into a PoE port? Here are the answers.

PoE switches that comply with the standard PoE(we also call it active PoE switch), have a detection and identification function before power supply. When the device is connected, the PoE switch will send a signal to the network to detect whether the IP terminal in the network has a powered device that supports PoE. If it does, the PoE switch will only supply power to it, if it does not support PoE switches, it will not supply power. So, you can plug a non-PoE device into a PoE port. It will only transmit data. Don't worry if it will burn up your devices.

However, not all PoE switches are standard PoE switches. You have to verify the type of PoE, to figure out whether it’s active or passive PoE switch. The one to be wary of is the passive PoE. Passive PoE switches do not adhere to any IEEE standard, which means they always send electric current out over the Ethernet cable at a certain voltage regardless of whether the terminal device supports PoE or not. So using passive PoE switches may burn out the terminal non-PoE devices.

Note: Any PoE switch that shows support for IEEE standards 802.3af (15.4W max), 802.3at (30W max), and 802.3bt (60W or 90W) is active. Generally speaking, most modern switches support active, but you better check the specs.

How to Use PoE Switch With Non-PoE Devices?

What if you need to connect non-PoE devices to a PoE switch? Here are the steps you can follow:

1. Check Compatibility

  • PoE Standards: Ensure your PoE switch supports standard compliant PoE (IEEE 802.3af, 802.3at, or 802.3bt). These standards are designed to be safe for non-PoE devices.

2. Direct Connection (Safe with Compatible PoE Switch)

  • Built-In Protection: Many modern PoE switches automatically detect whether a connected device is PoE-compatible. If the device is non-PoE, the switch will not send power, only data.

3. Using a PoE Splitter

  • Function: A PoE splitter separates the power and data from the Ethernet cable. It supplies the appropriate voltage to the non-PoE device.

  • Installation:

  • Connect one end of an Ethernet cable to the PoE switch and the other end to the PoE splitter.

  • Connect the output cable of the PoE splitter to the non-PoE device's power port.

  • Connect the data output from the PoE splitter to the Ethernet port on the non-PoE device.

4. Using a Non-PoE Injector

  • Function: A non-PoE injector (or midspan inserter) adds power to an Ethernet cable going to a PoE device, effectively making a non-PoE switch port into a PoE port.

Note: If you're connecting a PoE device to the switch, ensure the injector provides the correct standard of PoE required by the device.

5. Port Configuration

  • Managed Switches: If you have a managed PoE switch, you might have the ability to manually disable PoE on specific ports through the switch's configuration interface.

Can PoE and Non-PoE Devices Be Used with PoE Switches Simultaneously?

The PoE switch can automatically identify the terminal device that needs power, whether it is a PoE device or a non-PoE device. Therefore, PoE does not interfere with normal switch operation. PoE and non-PoE devices can be mixed on the same switch at the same time. There is no problem at all. In addition, many PoE switches can automatically disable the PoE port of the signal for ports that do not need it, making them more power-efficient.

PoE Switch connecting to PoE devices

Can I Use PoE Switch as Normal Switch?

Yes, a PoE switch can also function as a normal switch. For instance, just like a regular switch, a PoE switch can transfer data over an Ethernet cable. PoE switches can also transfer power, unlike normal ones. So, if you want to use a PoE switch as a normal switch, all you have to do is turn off the power button. It should then be able to function as a regular switch.

Can I Use a PoE Port for a Non-PoE device?

Likewise, the answer is yes. PoE switches have auto-sensing PoE ports. This means that the PoE port will detect if the connected device is a PoE device or not. But you have to check if the PoE device is 802.3af or 802.3at compliant to make sure that it is compatible with the PoE switch. In addition, you can also choose to disable the PoE capability per port on the PoE switch.

Optimize Your PoE Network with FS PoE Switches

When setting up a PoE network, using reliable and high-performance equipment is critical to ensure seamless connectivity and power delivery to your devices. FS offers a range of PoE switches designed to cater to various networking needs, whether you're outfitting a small office, a large enterprise, or an industrial environment. FS PoE switches are compliant with IEEE standards (802.3af/at/bt), ensuring compatibility and safety for all connected devices, whether they are PoE or non-PoE.

Key Features of FS PoE Switches:

  • High Power Delivery: FS switches support up to 90W per port, perfect for powering high-demand devices such as wireless access points, IP cameras, and VoIP phones.

  • Intelligent Management: Many FS PoE switches come with advanced management features, allowing for the configuration of traffic prioritization, QoS, and VLANs to optimize and secure your network.

  • Energy Efficiency: FS PoE switches can automatically disable PoE on ports that do not need it, conserving energy and reducing operational costs.

Choosing FS PoE switches means you get robust, reliable, and secure network performance. Start building your PoE network with FS today to experience superior connectivity and convenience. To explore more about FS PoE switches and how they can elevate your network infrastructure, visit our page today.

Conclusion

To sum up, PoE switches are capable of effectively powering non-PoE devices. As long as the selection of a suitable PoE switch is made in accordance with the devices being used, they can operate without any harm. With more and more workplaces now turning to smart wireless solutions, PoE switches are becoming a necessity for businesses. Therefore, it is important to choose the right PoE switch for your business to build an efficient PoE network.

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