Installing PoE switches outdoors requires careful planning. The switch you use must be built to meet the demand for outdoor applications such as video surveillance, traffic monitoring, and remote control systems that require a reliable and durable network infrastructure. But most importantly, you need to make sure the switches are properly installed. In this article, we will introduce 7 useful tips when installing PoE switches for outdoor applications.
1. Choose industrial-grade PoE switches
The industrial PoE switch is constructed with robust metal frames, which are resistant to corrosion, impact, and other wear and tear. It also has advanced cooling functions and shows excellent resistance to shock, vibration, and exposure to chemicals. Moreover, the industrial PoE switch also features advanced power protection mechanisms that prevent electrical surges, overloading, and other issues that can cause network downtime and damage to connected devices. In addition, they can operate in a wide temperature range, from -40°C to 75°C.
2. Use weatherproof enclosures
The outdoor environment poses many challenges and risks to your network because most PoE switches are vulnerable to water damage, which can impact their performance and reliability, resulting in significant operational losses. However, with proper installation and maintenance, PoE switches that are housed in waterproof enclosures are more reliable and less prone to downtime or failure, thus contributing to optimal network performance. Most enclosures are designed to meet IP67 ratings or NAME 6P requirements, which provide superior protection against environmental factors such as dust, dirt, water, and other penetrative elements, and offer resistance to other environmental hazards such as corrosion or submersion. The waterproof enclosures are normally constructed from heavy-duty materials like polycarbonate and stainless steel, and equipped with a hinged cover and built-in knockouts for connectors.
3. Consider climate control
When installing PoE switches outside, climate control should always be considered because extreme temperature fluctuations can cause the switch to malfunction. Most PoE switches are designed to operate within a limited temperature range, and if the temperature exceeds this range, the switch may fail or experience reduced performance. Additionally, the moisture accumulated inside the enclosure will eventually damage the internal components and cause electrical shorts, which can damage the switch and any connected devices. Therefore, it is essential to provide adequate climate control and ventilation to ensure the PoE switch’s optimal performance and longevity in outdoor applications.
4. Protect cable connections
Deploying PoE switches outdoors often requires a high level of cable protection against the elements because outdoor environments are also prone to dust and debris, which can easily get into the cable connection and cause damage. Most waterproof enclosures are equipped with silicone rubber gasket seals to prevent dust and water from getting inside and damaging the internal components. If your enclosure doesn’t have any, you can apply sealants around the cable connections to prevent water damage and ensure reliable connectivity. Moreover, you can use cable ties to secure the cables and keep them organized, which helps prevent any unintentional damage to the connections.
5. Install PoE surge protectors
Lightning is a serious concern when deploying PoE switches outdoors. Even though power surges are not common and are largely environmentally impacted, your switches may get damaged in a thunderstorm. The easiest way to protect your PoE switch is to install an outdoor PoE surge protector. It helps keep the surge voltage within a safe threshold so that the dielectric strength of the PoE device will not be exceeded, and discharge the excessive currents and surges to the ground. Moreover, grounding your PoE switches is critical in outdoor environments. It helps to prevent damage to the PoE switches and the connected devices by providing a path for electrical discharge and protecting against voltage surges, spikes, and lightning strikes. By following the proper plan for grounding, you can ensure that the outdoor PoE switch operates safely and effectively in any environment.
6. Choose the right location
Factors like distance, accessibility, and exposure to the elements should also be put into consideration when deciding the right location for your PoE switches. If the PoE switch is placed too far from the power source, the voltage drop can cause electrical noise, leading to network disruptions. Similarly, if the switch is too far from network equipment, the distance can cause signal attenuation, reducing the quality of the network connection, but this problem can be easily addressed by using fiber optic cables since they are capable of transmitting signals over long distances. And you’d better put your switches in a secure location that is not easily accessible to unauthorized personnel. Moreover, your PoE switches should be placed in a high or dry location but away from direct sunlight, a place where they are accessible yet protected against damage from harsh weather.
7. Choose the right cabling
Choosing the right cabling for outdoor PoE switches is essential to ensure a reliable and secure network. The primary jacket type you’ll need for any outdoor installation is CMX rated. The CMX cable shows great tolerance for extreme temperatures, water ingress, etc., and it can also prevent degradation due to UV light. Even though the double-layered CMX cable doesn’t have water-blocking tape and gel filling, it can deliver optimal signal transmission performance in outdoor deployments. And always use certified cables from reputable manufacturers to ensure the highest quality and best performance.