How to Choose PoE Switches for IP Camera Systems?

Updated on Mar 24, 2023

PoE Switches for IP Camera Systems

Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches have become the backbone of modern IP camera systems. They simplify cabling, provide power and data over a single Ethernet cable, and offer versatile solutions for both home and business surveillance. However, choosing the right PoE switch for your IP camera system can be a challenging task due to the variety of options available. In this guide, we will explore the factors you should consider when selecting a PoE switch, empowering you to make an informed choice that suits your specific needs.

Benefits of PoE Switches for IP Cameras

Before delving into the selection criteria, it's crucial to understand why PoE switches are essential for IP camera systems.

  • Simplified Cabling: PoE technology allows you to transmit both power and data over a single Ethernet cable. This reduces the complexity of cabling and minimizes installation costs.

  • Extended Cable Runs: With PoE switches, you can install IP cameras at more extended distances from the power source. This flexibility is especially valuable for outdoor and large-scale surveillance systems.

  • Multiple Device Connections: PoE switches come in various port configurations, enabling you to connect multiple IP cameras and other PoE devices to a single switch.

PoE Switches for IP Cameras

Now that we understand the advantages, let's move on to the essential factors to consider when choosing a PoE switch for your IP camera system.

How to Choose PoE Switch for IP Camera Systems?

To choose a suitable, reliable and best PoE switch for your IP security cameras, there are few factors you need to consider: Port Numbers and Power Requirements, Power Supply Voltage, Power Budget, PoE switch port number, Maximal Power Supply, Bandwidth Capacity and Managed/Unmanaged PoE Switches.

  1. Port Numbers and Power Requirements

The number of ports your PoE switch has and their power capabilities is a fundamental consideration. Calculate the number of IP cameras you intend to connect to the switch, and assess their power requirements. FS offers configurations such as 8-port PoE switch, 16-port PoE switch, 24-port PoE switch, or even 48-port PoE switch, so choose one that meets your needs.

  1. Power Supply Voltage

Ensure that the power supply voltage of the switch aligns with the voltage requirements of your IP cameras. Using the wrong power voltage can lead to camera malfunction, causing irreversible damage.

  1. Power Budget

The power budget of a PoE switch determines how much power it can provide to each port. This budget varies from around 50W to well over 500W. To calculate how much power is available per port, use the formula:

Maximum per Port Power Average = (Switch Maximum Power Consumption – Switch System Power)/Number of PoE Ports

Make sure that the switch's power budget is sufficient for your camera setup.

  1. Maximal Power Supply

Check if the maximum power supply of the switch can meet the demands of your IP cameras. This is especially crucial if you plan to connect power-hungry devices like pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) IP cameras, which require substantial power.

  1. Bandwidth Capacity

IP cameras not only require power but also a stable network connection provided by the PoE switch. Different switches offer varying bandwidth capacities. For instance, fast-Ethernet PoE switches typically provide between 10 to 100 Mbps, while gigabit PoE switches offer 1 Gbps. Opt for a switch that ensures your IP cameras don't experience network bottlenecks.

  1. Managed vs. Unmanaged PoE Switches

The choice between managed and unmanaged PoE switches depends on your specific needs. Unmanaged switches are plug-and-play, requiring no configuration. These are suitable for home users and simple setups. Managed switches, on the other hand, offer advanced features like network optimization, remote control, and greater insight into network status. They are ideal for more extensive surveillance projects such as in enterprises or large facilities.

How to Connect IP Cameras to a PoE Switch?

Connecting IP cameras to a PoE switch might sound complex, but it's relatively straightforward. Here are the general steps involved:

  • Connect your router to the LAN port on the PoE switch using an Ethernet cable (Cat5e or Cat6).

  • Plug the power cable into the PoE switch and connect it to a power outlet or a surge protector.

  • Connect your IP cameras to the available ports on the PoE switch using Ethernet cables.

  • Add the IP cameras to your Network Video Recorder (NVR) for viewing and recording. If remote access is required, connect your router to the internet.

Connect IP Cameras to a PoE Switch

Note: If you are looking for a PoE switch to be used in harsh environments such as traffic control cabinets, factory floors, and outdoor places where the temperature is extremely low or high, FS newly launched industrial PoE switches can be a good choice.

These switches comply with IEEE 802.3af/at PoE standards and can automatically detect and provide the required power for your PoE devices. Other than that, they can also withstand a high degree of vibration and shock while operating in harsh environments from -40° to 75°C, which makes them ideal for outdoor surveillance deployment.

Tips for Selecting the Right PoE Switch for Your Needs

To make an informed decision, consider the following tips:

  • Calculate the total power requirements of your IP cameras and ensure the switch's power budget can accommodate them.

  • Future-proof your system by choosing a switch with additional ports for possible camera expansions.

  • If you are setting up cameras in harsh environments, opt for industrial PoE switches designed to withstand extreme conditions.

  • For large-scale surveillance projects, managed PoE switches offer more flexibility, control, and oversight.


Choosing the right PoE switch is paramount for building an efficient and reliable IP camera system. By considering factors like port numbers, power supply voltage, power budget, maximal power supply, bandwidth capacity, and the managed/unmanaged switch options, you can tailor your choice to your specific needs.

We also provide unmanaged/managed PoE switches with 8-port,16-port, 24-port, 48-port, and industrial switches for different IP camera security systems. For more information, check out FS PoE Switches.

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