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Onboard POE or POE switch for IPC

Onboard POE or POE switch for IPC

Hey everyone, we’ve been covering a lot on POE lately and wanted to tackle Onboard POE vs using a POE switch. Both of these options are potential solutions for powering and networking IP cameras for use with a recorder or possibly on their own.  Is there an honest and clear winner when discussing these two technology options? We set out to figure out if there is in fact a clear-cut winner and the result might just surprise you. Before we get into that though, let’s talk a bit about POE in case you need a refresher. Afterward, we can talk about the differences between Onboard Poe and a POE switch armed with better insight. Let’s get started. 

POE is shorthand for Power Over Ethernet and is currently the number one way to connect IP cameras and power them. In the past, most cameras used at any given location were COAX cameras for use with DVRs. These cameras required separate cabling for their power, and for their video data, possibly even a third cable if there was audio, and even a fourth cable for PTZ functions. That’s a lot of wiring! When IP cameras first came on the scene they also had to be powered externally. However, it wasn’t long before the advent of POE came about and changed the playing field in the CCTV world forever.

The reason POE changed the game is that all of the power and data needed to make an IP camera operable can be transmitted over a single cat5e or cat6 ethernet cable. This made it so new installations of IP cameras were far less expensive in terms of the materials cost, as well as labor cost and time too. Not to mention less clutter, and wiring means fewer failure points and lessens the likelihood of issue resulting in more time and money spent on troubleshooting. Standard POE, provides up to 15.4 watts of power to a distance of 100 meters. For standard POE IP cameras, there are a couple of different ways to get this POE and data to the camera. One method is by using a POE switch, and this is a fairly common option. Another option is to use an NVR that has an onboard POE. As mentioned earlier, we’re going to discuss which of these options might be better, and why.

Onboard POE NVRs will have anywhere from 4 to 16 ports embedded, which are POE ports capable of outputting standard POE power.  There are also some NVRs that can do POE+ which is a bit more power than standard POE, but these are less common. The benefit of one of these recorders is that they often present a very plug-and-play experience as opposed to a POE switch-based setup. For smaller businesses or residences, an onboard POE NVR is usually a great idea. It also guarantees that your camera will be isolated, and not part of the regular ISP network provided to most small businesses and residences. These smaller network hardware given out by most ISP for more basic connections don’t handle the constant traffic of camera data as well as a dedicated network. Having those cams data handled by the dedicated networking hardware within the recorder can greatly help. Further, the initial setup for these systems is usually made simpler by the NVRs auto configuration. It will give an IP address to each camera, and initialize them if they are new.

There are some drawbacks to these types of NVRs though if you need more dynamic control over your camera system. Firstly, they tend to max out around 16 onboard cameras, and you’ll end up having to use external POE switches anyway for those that support more cams, but only have 16 ports. Secondly, you will not be able to access any of the cameras individually under normal circumstances. This is because the cameras aren’t on the main network but on the NVRs private network. For small systems with simple setups, this is basically a non-issue. However for those who need to access complex AI configurations, setup camera databases, manage onboard SD cards, an onboard POE setup fails to deliver compared to using POE switches.

A POE switch is like any other network switch, expanding the available ethernet ports to access a given network. POE switches however also provide power over ethernet as their name implies. This means you can connect cameras to these switches, and add them to a recorder over the network. This allows you to also access each camera individually via that same network and manipulate their settings from their individual interfaces. If done correctly it’s possible to set this up on a privatized network also, which can be accessed by a properly configured PC to see the cameras when no other network can. This type of setup is far less plug and play, and requires a decent understanding or background in Computer networking hardware, software, and terminologies. It also helps to have experience in CCTV, so if you’re going to consider this kind of setup, make sure you or someone you work with is knowledgeable in these fields.

So as explained, better is a subjective term and both of these types of setups have their pros and cons. Onboard POE is better for smaller installations that need fewer complex features due to its convenience, and close to plug and play setup. External POE switch setups are better for larger systems or more advanced users that need dedicated access to their cameras.

Thanks for joining us today as we talked about power over Ethernet technology for IP cameras!  For any questions on product compatibility, availability or any other information don’t hesitate to give our Sales Pro’s a call at 561-288-5258 . Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more Tutorials and CCTV info. Until Next time, Stay Safe!

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