How to Choose PoE Switches for IP Camera Systems?

Updated on Dec 13, 2021

A PoE switch provides power supply and data connection via network cables like Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat6. Nowadays, it is very common that many people and industries are using PoE switches for IP cameras to ensure their home and business safety. Usually, for different IP camera systems, different types of PoE switches are deployed. This article will mainly explain how to choose a suitable PoE switch for IP camera system and how to connect IP cameras to a PoE switch.

PoE Switches

Why Use PoE Switch for IP Camera Systems?

First of all, you have to know what a PoE switch is and how it works in IP camera systems.

PoE, short for power over Ethernet, is a technology designed to simplify cabling by simultaneously sending power and data over one Ethernet cable. Nowadays, PoE is commonly used in systems like security camera systems, not only because Ethernet cable is cheap and easy to run, but also because PoE and IP technologies support high-resolution cameras that offer improved video quality for IP camera systems. A PoE switch for IP cameras is a device used to connect and power the IP cameras via Ethernet cables. The primary function of a PoE switch in IP camera system is to interconnect the cameras to an NVR (Network Video Recorder) and transmit the data (video and audio) to be recorded in such a device. It normally comes with multiple ports to support more than two IP cameras. Other than that, PoE switch with more power juice can provide more power for IP cameras that require more power as common culprits like video loss and IP camera poor performance can happen due to insufficient power supply to IP cameras.

In short, the benefits of using a PoE switch for IP camera systems are as follows:

  • Longer runs - IP cameras can be installed in locations of longer distance;

  • More connected devices - more IP cameras can be connected together;

  • Larger power output - more power can be supplied for IP cameras;

  • Easier to manage - activity lights on switch will help troubleshoot the IP cameras;

How to Choose PoE Switch for IP Camera Systems?

After understanding the benefits of using PoE switches for IP cameras systems, we will guide you on how to choose a suitable PoE switch for your system. There are some important factors you need to consider, please keep reading.

PoE Switch Port Numbers

If you are looking for a PoE switch for places that need to have more than 4 IP cameras installed, you will have to check the port numbers of a PoE switch, such as 8-port PoE switch, 16-port PoE switch, 24-port PoE switch, or even 48-port PoE switch. The port numbers of a PoE switch largely depends on how many devices will be connected to your PoE switch and the overall power consumption of your IP cameras.

PoE Switch Power Budget

Another important factor to consider is the maximum power supplies of a PoE switch. The ability of a PoE switch to power-connected devices is largely determined by the size of its power supply, which ranges from just above 50W to well over 500W. This power budget directly affects how much power per port the switch can deliver to connected devices. If the maximum power supply of all your cameras exceeds your PoE switch power cap, then the PoE switch won't provide enough power for all your IP cameras. For example, a 24-port PoE switch with 370W power supply can power 24 IP cameras with IEEE802.3at standard (15.4W per port) while it can only power 12 IP cameras with IEEE802.3at standard (30W per port).

To determine how much power is available per port, you can use the below formula:

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

PoE Switch Bandwidth Capacity

IP cameras also require a network connection that is provided by the PoE switch apart from the power input. There are different types of PoE switches available in terms of bandwidth capacity. For example, fast-Ethernet PoE switches can offer you bandwidth capacity between 10 to 100 Mbps, while gigabit PoE switches would allow for 1 Gbps. With a gigabit PoE switch, the network connection with your IP cameras will not be bottlenecked; it will also ensure you to receive intact video as well as audio recordings from the cameras. Other than that, high capacity PoE switches allow you to install better quality cameras in your systems such as 2K or 4K cameras.

Unmanaged or Managed PoE Switch

The difference between unmanaged and managed PoE switch is that unmanaged PoE switch is a plug-and-play device with no setup required, which is very easy for deployment; while a managed PoE switch allows you to configure the network to your specification, offers better monitoring and analysis of network traffic, and also provides remote control and adjustment by network administrator, which gives you greater insight into the status of the network, the connected clients, and its power status.

For most homeowners, an unmanaged PoE switch fits the budget and works to meet the needs for powering PoE IP cameras. But for large surveillance projects such as factories or enterprises, a managed PoE switch will provide more flexible network solutions.

How to Connect IP Cameras to a PoE Switch?

Some users are under the assumption the IP systems are too complex. Here we take FS 8-port PoE gigabit managed switch as an example to illustrate how to connect the PoE switch with IP cameras. In this picture, different types of IP cameras, router, and NVR (Network Video Recorder) are connected to the 8-port PoE switch.

PoE Switch in IP Camera Systems

Here are the specific steps for an IP camera system adopting the PoE switch.

  • Connect the router to the LAN port on the 8-port PoE switch using an Ethernet cable (cat5e or cat6);

  • Connect the power cable to the PoE switch and to a power outlet or surge protector.

  • Connect IP cameras to port 1-8 on the PoE switch using the Ethernet cables.

  • Add the cameras to the NVR to view the cameras and enable recording. If it is required to check the views remotely, connect the router to the Internet.

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.


PoE switch offers simple and cost-effective wiring to power different IP camera systems. Just as the benefits illustrated in above contents, for some IP camera security systems, using PoE switches can expand the system to the maximum number of cameras and allow longer runs of IP cameras, etc. If you need a PoE switch for your IP camera systems, remember to follow this PoE switch selection guide. 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, please visit our website FS.COM.

Related Articles:

Understanding IEEE 802.3bt High Power PoE (Hi-PoE)

Everything You Needto Know About Industrial PoE Switch | FS Community

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