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Comprehensive Guide-How to Install IP Camera Using PoE?

PoE Cameras are commonly applied in IP surveillance system for home or business nowadays. Unlike traditional IP cameras powered with a direct direct source via a power cord, PoE cameras can take advantages of PoE. This post we are going to go through PoE basic knowledge and provide you with comprehensive guide to use PoE in practical IP camera installation.

Cameras with PoE

First of all, you suppose know that PoE cameras comes with different types, they may vary from image quality, monitoring area, or function as well. Bullet cameras, PTZ camera, dome cameras are typical types, they can be found on the market easily now. And the budget for installing IP cameras is not out of control, most of people or business can afford it. Moreover, camera with zoom functions, like PTZ cameras, vari-focal cameras, can meet applications with a request on flexibility.

Then we get back to the point, grasp the basic of PoE helps reduce doubts in learning the following PoE camera installation guide.

What is PoE?

PoE is the abbreviation for Power over Ethernet, which has been a novel wiring solution for network devices for decades. It allows Ethernet cable to carry power, that being said, power and data are transmitted simultaneously for the connected IP device over a single twisted pair Ethernet cable. This enhanced technology is widely used to power various low voltage IP devices, such as IP cameras, wireless access points, VoIP phones, etc.

Why Use PoE?

Reduce Installation Hassle and Cost

Set up IP cameras, it is known that power and network are two things required to deal with. PoE enables Ethernet cable to transmit power, you are able to get rid of the hassle to solve network and power separately. And this eliminates the need for a dedicated AC power outlet present around the camera’s mounting point. In this way, the owners or installers can get great flexibility on the placement of their cameras.

And it helps save investment, image if you choose to build commercial network without PoE support, a professional electrician is required to take care of the power line. The installation cost could be higher.

Stable PoE Wired Connection

Some prefer to employ WiFi cameras to build IP surveillance system because its handy wireless connectivity capability, but in some situations, it may brings issues to ensure the stability for the system. The main reason is the inherent limitation of WiFi transmission, including vulnerability to interference, limited coverage within a short distance, restricted to bandwidth, or something alike. Furthermore, WiFi camera only save network cabling, it still ask for power to work. Therefore, cabling seems inevitable, then why not just choose PoE cameras using PoE power solution, solve power and network issues at a time, and achieve a IP camera system with great stability or reliability.

Centralized Power System

Additionally, as mentioned previous, power can transmitted from the main network device over Ethernet cable, it is able to build a centralized power system with easier management and better protection on power source, realizing a safer video surveillance.

Safe PoE Cabling

PoE features low voltage cabling, you don’t need to deal with dangerous AC power, there is lower risk if you want to build the IP camera system by yourself. What’s more, when choose devices complied standard PoE as the main PSE(power sourcing equipment), it would be an addition to system safety thanks to its PoE detection mechanism.

How to Power PoE Cameras Using PoE?

Actually, there are various ways to deal with power for security IP cameras. If the AC power is presented closed to cameras, you just need to plug the enclosed power adaptor. While if the power is difficult to acquire, or you need to send the power from the monitoring center or somewhere far from the cameras. PoE power solution can get the job done easily and safely. Here we will list 5 power options using PoE for your reference.

Option#1:Power PoE Camera with PoE Injector

PoE injector is a hand tool make PoE camera work greatly with existing home or business networking system. Routers are used widely to build an IP network, but most of them are not compatible with PoE cameras, if just add the camera to it won’t work. And a PoE injector is the key for solving such problem for the reason that it allows you to add PoE to a non-PoE network. Here is the diagram to show how to use PoE injector with router and PoE camera.

PoE injectors do the job of power injection to router, and they are powered by plugging into wall power outlets, then AC power is converted to DC, which can be acceptable for PoE cameras. Adding a PoE injector to the existing network won’t cause data damage thanks to its seamless connection. And this is an easy plug-and-play job, which can be accomplished by the end-users themselves safely.

All in all, Using PoE injectors to power is highly recommended when there are only one or two new PoE cameras under the circumstance that there are adequate spare RJ45 Ethernet ports. If the PoE injector have to be installed in a harsh environment, indoor or outdoor, it is better to choose those specially designed to adapt harsh environment with high resistance to water, dust, extreme temperature, etc. It can reduce the investment in maintenance and replacement dramatically.

Option#2:Power PoE Camera with PoE Hub

If not just one or two units of PoE cameras need to install, using PoE injector as the power source is a bit inconvenience, as one PoE injector generally supports one PoE out, so installing each PoE camera requires one PoE injector to be added to the link. In this case, PoE hub is a choice. Look through the following diagram showed how to use PoE hub with PoE cameras.

All the IP cameras will be attached to the PoE ports on the hub. The corresponding data ports need to be linked to the backend network switch with a short patch cord. The PoE hub can be considered as multiple PoE injectors squeezing into a box and sharing the same power source. The PoE hub doesn’t provide any data exchange. Technically it just injects the power to the Ethernet cable. We don’t see the PoE hub these days. The next option PoE switch is more convenient to power multiple cameras especially when the PoE switch becomes affordable now.

Option#3:Power PoE Camera with PoE Switch

If quite a certain of PoE cameras are required to be installed under the same network, or the IP camera system is built for larger scale applications like offices, factories, warehouse or others alike, then PoE switch is a better power option. Because PoE switches permit installers to get a customized IP surveillance system definite meet their installation requirement. Let’s go for the diagram directly tell you how to use PoE switches with network switches and PoE cameras.

The PoE switch is a network switch with a built-in PoE injector, and it can serve multiple ports to connect a certain of PoE cameras with less cabling hassle. PoE switches can integrate multiple PoE cameras with network switches without built-in PoE capability(which are universally applied in business fields before) over one main cabling. And based on the port numbers, the PoE switches can be classified into 4/8/16/32/64-port PoE switches.

To choose PoE switches as the power option for PoE cameras setup, there is apparent advantages. Firstly, you can choose managed or unmanaged PoE switches according to the needs for manageability and configurability. Managed switches give flexibility and efficiency on system setup and management. Unmanaged PoE switches offer simplicity. In addition, nearly every PoE switch will have at least 2 uplink ports for network connection and data uploading (router/network switch and NVR). To satisfy outdoor or industrial uses asking high reliability, there are outdoor PoE switches or industrial PoE switches available on the market.

Option#4:Power PoE Camera with PoE NVR

Majority of IP surveillance camera system needs a central network video recorder (NVR) to handle the recording, video and alarm management. Thus, if your IP surveillance system includes a NVR, taking PoE NVR to supply power for PoE cameras is a fair selection. See the diagram below to know how to connect PoE NVR and PoE cameras.

PoE NVR can be considered as a video recorder integrated with PoE switch, the PoE NVR can deliver power and data to the IP cameras at the same time, eliminating the need for installing an external PoE switch. But PoE NVRs available in the market may not possess advanced features like SNMP, PoE control and monitoring, etc. as the PoE switches do. Therefore, the PoE NVR is suitable for installing only three or four IP cameras, ideal for users with minimal network administration experience and small networks such as start-up businesses and homes. It’s an option to ease the pressure of the current NVR, offer additional security and avoid broadcast storms.

Option#5:Using Passive PoE to Power

There is a primitive method to send the power to the IP camera, but we don’t recommend you implement it unless you know what you are doing well. Any mistaking wiring could melt your IP camera directly.

There are 4 twisted pairs in standard cat5e or cat6 Ethernet cable. Actually, only two twisted pairs (12-36) are being employed to send the data in the fast network (10/100Mbps), which leaves two spare twisted pairs (45-78) to send the power. You can wire the DC12V low voltage power source to spare twisted pairs. The first important thing is polarity. Do not mix the positive and negative polarity otherwise you smoke your camera. There is no overload or overvoltage protection here. It is all on your own. Moreover, you only can send the power in a short distance, the voltage drop will become an issue when the distance becomes longer.

Step by Step Installation Guide and Tips for PoE Cameras Setup

Prepare Main Tools Needed

Figuring out what tools and material are required to finish the setup should be the first step. Here we cover you with the checklist.

  • PoE cameras
  • PoE injector/PoE hub/PoE switch/PoE NVR
  • Ethernet cable(Cat5/Cat6)
  • Drill
  • Fish tape

Test Equipment and Cable Before Cabling

Test all the equipment and cable is of great importance before the implement of cabling. As you know, it would be quite frustrated when confront situation like everything is ready and you are happy to verify the performance of the system but it fail to work normally, it will take quite some time to find out which part go wrong, especially if the cable were run or buried. So take some time to test all the needed things can save lots of trouble and time or money.

Confirm the Feasibility of Your Planned Route

It is suggested to walk along with the routes of cabling at least one time to check whether they are feasible and rational or not. It is known that due to its heavy weight and long length, wiring is definitely a tough job which is not so easy for installers to handle. The one-time success of the wiring is therefore the basic condition. And by going along with the planned cabling routes, obstructions and problems can be spotted, giving you plenty of time to seek for solutions to tackle in advance, saving the frustrations of unnecessary work and delayed deployment period.

Placement Matters a Lot

The placement issue of the camera is not only needs to know where to place, and actually should consider whether the placement can realize the maximum performance or not. In other words, adequate consideration of camera placement may lead to ineffective surveillance. Below listed some points that call for extra notice.

  • A qualified or ideal security camera system should get all the entrances or other relatively vulnerable parts of your homes or businesses.
  • Cameras are recommended to mount at high points for better monitoring and security.
  • Don’t make the light shine directly to the cameras avoiding overexposure.
  • Try to avoid placing cameras close to windows.
  • Make the camera to be covered getting better protection.
  • Cameras should be placed at locations where comply with the individual privacy and local laws and regulations.

Drill Required Holes

After make the decision on the placement, drilling holes required in the setup is the step with manually operation. You can divide this job into two parts. One the drill holes for the cable from the main control room to the respective placement locations of the PoE cameras. And the other is the holes for the mounting the cameras. Ensure your drill makes holes suitable for the cable size. Try to avoid drilling on an exterior wall to keep it resistance to water, cold or heat.

Pull the Wires

The next step is to pull wires to accomplish the connection. If install camera outside, two persons to cooperate can ease the difficulty. One person stands at one side to keep the cable to be even, and the other runs the cable slowly, and reduce cable tangled issue. To make use of fish tape is able to enhance cable pulling process with more simplicity and effectiveness.

Choose Proper Mounting Methods

PoE cameras have different types, and they also vary from mounting methods, ceiling mounting, wall mounting, and pole mounting are opted to meet different installation requirements or applications. Choose the proper one according to your needs, and to confirm if the cameras support it or not.

Implement Essential Protection

For IP surveillance camera system, especially for the outdoor type, it is quite important to implement protection measures to ensure the stability and durability. Usually the cable can be hanged in the air or buried under the ground, it is better to add plastic tube, like PVC conduit to protect the cable. And you should concern the harm of surges, especially under lightning days. Try to secure the whole PoE system with enhanced surge protection by adding PoE surge protectors at both sides.

Turn to Experts to Solve Specialized Work

If encounter specialized works like bury cable underground or hang cable in the air, this not a simple work can be done by users or installers lacking professional knowledge or skills. Ask for assistance from experts in the responding fields.

Don’t Forget Adjustment and Settings

To fit different applications and requirements, and the mounting environment as well, the field of view or viewing angle of the cameras should be adjusted to get optimal performance and monitoring area. It is a useful way to get the unwanted or useless parts eliminated from the monitoring area, and the recording space provided by NVR is able to be made the best use.

Additional Considerations

How much power do security cameras use?

Make clear how much power the ready-to-set security camera is consumed is of crucial significance, otherwise, the camera won’t start working because of deficient input power. And the way to know the how much power needed depends on power consumption and installation distance.

Power consumption of the cameras are generally revealed in the product brochure or specification tag attached on the cameras. As PoE is centralized power solution, then you need to calculate the total power budget required.

Installation distance is another factor to be considered due to power loss in line. Power indeed is lost partially in the cable during the transmission, and generally, the farther the distance is, the more power is lost. Once the distance is reached the limited amount, then PoE cameras can’t be powered because receiving sufficient power.

Installing IP camera beyond 100 meters is not that simple.

Above we talked that installation distance will affect the received power for PoE cameras, and if install IP camera in the distance beyond 100 meters, it needs additional consideration as PoE comes with its limitation on transmission distance. PoE technology utilizes Ethernet cable for connection, while Ethernet cable actually only can supply a maximum of 100 meters(328ft.) of data transmission. Beyond this, the signal begins to degrade, reducing the speed and reliability of the connection. Fortunately, we still can find solutions to make a successful connection beyond 100 meters using Ethernet cable. For a long distance IP security camera system setup, you are able to use PoE extender or PoE extension solution to solve long distance IP camera setup easily.

Connection cable is a crucial factor to system reliability.

The use of qualified PoE devices and cables is the guarantee of the stability of the whole system. You are supposed to choose one with pure copper cable to avoid voltage drop problem. Cat5e and Cat6 cable are two types of Ethernet cable for common use. The pure copper can decrease the power loss on the cable, otherwise power loss will turn to new issues if low quality cable is used. It will be converted to heat inline and create voltage drop at the other end of the cable. If the cable are sold at a too low price, it may need to confirm the quality repeatedly.

Why not use PoE?

PoE compatible devices require a high investment as common network devices like routers or network switches with low price. And in fact, centralized power system has its pros and cons, safety is the pro, and high risk is the con. For instance, one PoE switch is able to connect multiple cameras, but if the PoE switch is broken, that means all the connected PoE cameras will stop working at the same time. Moreover, PoE only can meet low voltage IP cameras with low power consumption as the maximum power PoE can support only can reach 90W by now.

PoE is not all the same! 

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) defined PoE with standards, which combines with other vendors to attempt to solve power supply issue. And PoE technology has been through decades of development so far. PoE varies from different standards to supply different amounts of output power, including IEEE802.3af(12.9W), IEEE802.3at(25.5W), and IEEE802.3bt(71W) standard. For IP cameras, IEEE802.3af/at is enough, only if your camera is the special ones, like pan-tilt-zoom(PTZ) cameras equipped with heaters, in this case, IEEE802.3bt PoE injector or PoE splitter is suitable.


PoE technology is mature and safe to use now. Installing IP camera using PoE can be finished by yourself simply if you have grasp the key points should know in the setup. But if you are still interested in the needed things to build a IP camera system, this post may help.

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