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FC Product Updates: What’s New for August 2023

Welcome back to Fastcabling Product Updates! We have exciting news for you: our product line has just received some updates that we believe you will find valuable. In the past few months, our team has been working hard to develop new products that are cost-effective, fast, and reliable. We are thrilled to announce the arrival of an amazing new line of switches, cameras and other network equipment that are designed to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. Read on and see what’s new in Fastcabling.

2.5G Switches to Future-proof Your Enterprise Network

Running a business often requires heavy data transfer. With companies storing their data on the cloud, relying more and more on video conferences, and regularly sharing large files with clients and partners, using a 2.5G switch can definitely help you upgrade to a faster and future-proof network without a single bottleneck. FC has launched two 2.5G switches #5538-17 and #5538-69 to provide the necessary bandwidth for network devices such as NAS stations, 2.5G PCIe adapters, WiFi 6 routers and desktop computers to run at their designated speeds. Moreover, 2.5G switches can work with the existing CAT5e cables, so home users and business owners can easily cater to their urgent needs for higher bandwidth connections without replacing all of the legacy Ethernet cabling.

Long-Range PoE+ Solutions for Surveillance Systems

One of the biggest challenges for business owners and home users when it comes to installing new IP cameras is the distance. As previously said, PoE has a standard distance limit of 100 meters, whether for PoE, PoE+, or PoE++. Fastcabling has recently introduced two long-range PoE solutions to help you deploy PoE at extended distances.

• 24-Port Long-Range PoE+ Switch

Compared with #6320-24 and #6320-48, this 24-port long-range PoE+ switch can support long-range connectivity on all PoE ports, which is particularly useful if you have a large office space or if you need to connect IP cameras that are located over long distances. It comes with a DIP switch to extend your PoE+ signal up to 250M at 10Mbps (ports #1-16), and it also supports transmission of longer distances (≤500M) at 100Mbps on ports #17-24 when connected to a PoE extender. Additionally, it can connect up to 24 devices at a time, perfect for deployment in offices, factory floors, data centers, etc.

• 500M Long-Range PoE+ Extension Kit

This kit contains 2×4-port long-range PoE+ switches, delivering high-speed connectivity over long distances and providing max. power outputs of 30W for edge PoE devices. You can extend easily the distance to 500 meters without involving any PoE extenders, which significantly reduces failure points and electrical sparks along the way. As there is only data transmission between two switches, system stability is guaranteed in explosive atmospheres. Moreover, it also simplifies network management, allowing the administrator to control and monitor the PDs from a centralized point.

Ethernet Extension Kit to Extend Your Network over 300M

Fastcabling developed a waterproof Ethernet extension kit to extend your network outdoors. Designed with a durable IP66-rated enclosure, this waterproof Ethernet extender is resistant to harsh weather conditions such as rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. Moreover, by daisy-chaining two extenders, you can effectively reach a distance of 300M at a transmission speed of up to 100 Mbps. And a power injector is also included to power the extender, which eliminates the need for wiring a new cable for a power source since power and data can be delivered to the Ethernet extender simultaneously.

Rugged Switches for Outdoor and Industrial Applications

FC has introduced a new type of L2+ outdoor PoE switches that accept DC and solar power (36-60V) simultaneously. It’s manufactured and tested to meet the industrial standards for operation even in applications that require the highest level of reliability. Featuring advanced ERPS support, this outdoor PoE switch ensures optimum network availability and minimizes downtime with a recovery time of less than 20 milliseconds. Additionally, our research team also developed a brand new industrial managed PoE switch to provide continuous network connectivity and uninterrupted power supply even in the hardest environments. It’s designed to regulate fluctuating voltage and supply standard PoE to solar power systems. It provides various L2+ features, including VLAN, link aggregation, LACP, etc., to help you manage and maintain the industrial network more easily.

60/90W PoE Media Converters for Fiber Connectivity

These PoE media converters (#5850-69 and #5850-72) offer a significant improvement over our previous 30W model. Compliant with the IEEE802.3bt standard, they can provide a maximum power of up to 60W and 90W respectively. What’s more, with the added benefit of an included power supply unit, you’ll also save a lot on installation costs. With our 60W and 90W PoE media converters, you can expect lightning-fast data transfer speeds, seamless connectivity, and superior performance over long distances. Furthermore, they support both wall and DIN-Rail mounting, ensuring a neat and organized setup. Whether you’re running a small business or a large enterprise, you can rely on our products to meet your needs.

IP Cameras to Enable All-round Security

For those looking for high-quality IP cameras, we’ve developed a wide range of 5MP/8MP PoE cameras that come with motorized zoom, varifocal and fixed lenses. These cameras are perfect for outdoor installations and provide excellent image quality both day and night. And they are equipped with advanced human detection functions which allow security cameras to distinguish between human presence and other moving objects, such as animals or cars, and alert security personnel to potential threats. A significant amount of work can be done by human detection, such as people counting, pedestrian detection and gender classification. In addition, Fastcabling has also developed an IR PoE turret camera that supports dual lighting systems. Apart from the infrared LEDs, this camera also contains a PIR sensor that activates a powerful white light when someone enters its detection zone.

Smart Home Cameras Giving You Peace of Mind

One of the biggest benefits of using a smart home camera is being able to know what’s going on while you’re away. FC has launched a collection of indoor cameras that enable you to monitor the interior of your home via live or recorded video. Some of their distinguishing features include remote monitoring, 2.4 GHz WiFi connectivity, infrared night vision, push notifications, two-way audio, and SD card recording. First, there is the PIR-shaped camera that is designed to blend in with the home’s decor and provide round-the-clock surveillance for your home without being obtrusive. Additionally, there are mini WiFi cameras that can be placed in discreet locations and still provide high-quality video and audio. Another unique option is a dome-shaped camera, which can be installed on the ceiling and provide a horizontal field of view of 76°.

Surge Protective Device to Improve System Reliability

To protect your network from power surges, we’ve developed a surge protective device that is designed to protect your devices from power surges and other electrical disturbances. This device is perfect for protecting your valuable equipment from damage caused by lightning strikes or other power surges. It can offer 2.5kV surge protection for your home and other commercial applications. This surge protector is made from flame-retardant materials, so it will not pose any additional fire hazards. It supports a rapid response time of less than 25ns helps to minimize the risk of damage to your valuable equipment. Moreover, this protector also provides an extra level of protection with a built-in fuse protector.

MPPT Solar Charge Controllers to Optimize Energy Harvest

Fastcabling has designed two types of MPPT solar charge controllers (20A/40A) to maximize the energy produced by your solar panels and prevent your battery from discharging. The new MPPT solar charge controllers can contribute to 15-20% higher efficiency than a PWM controller with a maximum conversion rate of no less than 95% (tracking efficiency >99.9%). Another big update is the addition of a digital display, making it easier for you to keep track of how much power your solar panels are generating, and how much power is being used by your devices. And we have made it rugged enough to withstand the elements. And they are compatible with various battery types, including gel (default), AGM, liquid, and lithium.

Final Words

We understand that choosing the right network equipment can be a daunting task, but we are confident that our range of products will exceed your expectations. And we pride ourselves on providing state-of-the-art network solutions that are both reliable and cost-effective. For those who don’t know where to start, please feel free to consult our team of experts. We can help you design, implement, and manage a network that meets your needs and budget.

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Wireless Bridge: A Game-Changing Solution to Installing Multiple IP Cameras Outdoors

Installing multiple IP cameras outdoors can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to wiring. The traditional method of wiring each camera separately can be time-consuming and expensive, and harsh environmental conditions can damage wires and disrupt connectivity. However, there is a game-changing solution to this problem – wireless bridge technology. It provides an easy, cost-effective, and scalable solution for your IP security camera system and ensures the security of your surveillance footage. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of using a wireless bridge and how it can help you install multiple IP cameras outdoors with ease.

What’s Wireless Bridge and Its Benefits?

A wireless bridge is a network device that uses radio waves to connect two or more LAN segments that are physically separated by distance, usually hundreds of meters to tens of kilometers apart. It is impossible to use only one wireless bridge, but more than two, while APs can be used alone. Wireless bridges are commonly used in outdoor surveillance systems to connect multiple IP cameras to the internet or a central access point. It works by receiving a wireless signal from an access point and converting it into a wired Ethernet connection, which can then be used to connect multiple IP cameras. By deploying the wireless network bridge, you can cover a larger physical area with higher throughput to build a point-to-point (P2P) or point-to-multipoint (P2MP) connection between cross-building offices, neighboring districts, nearby towns, etc.

The benefits of deploying wireless bridges include:

1. Easy Installation

Wireless bridges are very easy to install. Unlike traditional wired networks that require an expert to run cables, a wireless network can be set up in minutes. All you need to do is plug in the bridge, configure it with the access point and you’re ready to go. It’s that simple.

2. Lower Cost

Wireless bridges are more cost-effective than traditional wired networks. With wireless bridge technology, you can save the cost of installing extra cables and power outlets, and connect all cameras to a single access point, making it easy to configure. Additionally, you can cover larger areas with a wireless bridge at a lower cost than with a wired network.

3. Reliability

Wireless bridges are very reliable. They can transmit data over long distances without degradation, interference, or loss of signal quality, which makes them ideal for outdoor installations where cable damage can be a concern. Compared with wired connections, they are also less susceptible to interference from other devices. This means that you can enjoy a stable and uninterrupted connection, even in areas with high levels of interference.

4. Security

Wireless bridges use the latest encryption protocols to secure data transmissions between devices, ensuring that your data cannot be accessed by unauthorized users, which is extremely important when it comes to surveillance footage, as it contains sensitive information that needs to be protected.

5. Flexibility

Wireless bridges offer flexibility in terms of camera placement. You can place the cameras wherever you need them without the restriction of cable lengths, which enables you to choose the best location for each camera without worrying about the need for a cable. They’re also highly scalable, allowing you to add more cameras to the system.

What’s Point-to-Point Wireless Bridging?

A point-to-point (P2P) wireless bridge allows you to transmit data from one location to another location in a seamless manner. It provides a secure and reliable link to share data, video, and audio between two locations and only communicates with each other. P2P wireless bridges are usually used to provide a direct link for both short and long-range connections where a line of sight is available and delivers data at a comparable speed to a fiber optic network (100Mbps, 1000Mbps, 10Gbps, and more). They are commonly used in industrial settings, video surveillance systems, IoT systems, disaster recovery links, etc., where network connectivity is needed between large numbers of devices. Given that they only connect two locations, they’re fairly easy to manage and monitor, as well.

How to Set Up a P2P Wireless Bridge for Your IP Cameras

The wireless bridge is a game-changing solution for networking and IP surveillance. Whether you’re looking to expand your surveillance coverage or connect multiple devices wirelessly, wireless bridge technology is definitely worth considering.

A Clear Line-of-Sight is Required

A clear line of sight (the path between two access points) is important for a wireless bridge to work at its full throughput, which is especially true for rural areas. WiFi signal will radically deteriorate as it passes through obstacles, resulting in poor signal strength. For example, things like trees, buildings, or other landscape features or obstructions that may partially or fully block the line of sight between the wireless bridge will jeopardize its network performance. So it’s important that you install the wireless bridges in a wide-open area with few obstructions in between.

Equipment You’ll Need…

If you’re planning to install multiple IP cameras outdoors, the wireless bridge is a great solution that can save you time and money. To set up your system, you will need a pair of wireless bridges, a router, an NVR, an outdoor PoE switch, and some Ethernet cables. In this case, we’ll use 5GHz 802.11ac Outdoor Wireless Bridges as an example. It comes with the next-generation WiFi standard of 802.11ac and runs flawlessly at 900Mbps at an extended range of 3km with a clear line of sight. It also allows you to connect more than 7 IP cameras at once when used together with the outdoor PoE switch.

Now, follow the instructions below to complete the setup:

To set up your system, start by using a short patch cord to connect your router to the NVR. Then, take a longer Ethernet cable to connect the NVR to the Gigabit PoE/LAN port on the wireless bridge. Power up the device with the included power adapter and make sure the first bridge is set as “Master”. When the wireless bridge is online, the digital channel (1-8) will display at the rear, and you can press the reset button to change the channel.

Next, power up the other wireless bridge and make sure the two wireless bridges are aligned on the same level and face-to-face. Set the second wireless as “Slave,” and make sure the two bridges are on the same channel. Check the indicators on the wireless bridges. If they’re on, the devices are successfully connected. Take another Ethernet cable, plug it into the Gigabit port on the second wireless bridge, and plug the other end into one of the Gigabit PoE ports on the outdoor PoE switch. Lastly, power up the outdoor PoE switch and connect the IP cameras to it.

Other Ways to Power the Wireless Bridges?

If you don’t want to use the included power adapters, there are other ways you can power your wireless bridges. One option is to use a PoE injector, and the other is to take advantage of the solar power system.

1. PoE Injector

For the wireless bridge that is PoE-enabled, you can power it with a PoE injector. By using the PoE injector, constant power delivery is guaranteed with an uninterruptible power supply and the conversion from AC to DC power also lowers the risks of power outages/overloads and power failures. Once connected to a power source, the PoE injector will simultaneously convert the received energy to DC power and send it to the wireless bridge.

2. Solar Power System

Since power outlets are often unavailable in hard-to-reach areas, it would be too impractical and expensive to run a traditional wired power source to the edge devices, but the solar power system allows you to install the wireless bridge anywhere you want. And the setup is very straightforward when you’re using our 10A Solar Charge Controller. First, mount the solar panel on the roof and use a power cord to connect the solar panel to the controller. Use another power cord to connect the battery to the controller. Finally, connect the wireless bridge to the controller, and then the whole system is completed.

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How to Solve the Power Issues in TP-Link EAP225 Access Points?

Are you tired of weak WiFi signals in certain areas of your home or office? Thankfully, you’re not completely out of luck. By installing an access point, your WiFi coverage will be effectively improved, and there’ll be less network congestion and more devices connected. The access point simply works by connecting to a router, switch, or hub via an Ethernet cable and projecting the WiFi signal to a designated area. With multiple access points in place, you can cover a significantly larger area and provide network access to more devices. This is especially important for large buildings or outdoor areas where a single access point may not provide enough coverage.

Extend Your WiFi Coverage with TP-Link EAP225

TP-Link EAP225 could be a lifesaver if your home or company has WiFi dead spots or interference issues, ensuring that you have a strong WiFi connection no matter where you are. And one of the most impressive features of EAP225 is that it can be managed through centralized cloud management and the Omada app, making it easy for administrators to manage multiple devices from a single dashboard. Besides, it uses the MU-MIMO technology to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously, ensuring everyone on the network gets the bandwidth they need to browse the web, stream videos, etc.

However, if improperly installed or configured, EAP225 may not be able to deliver its optimal performance and could even fail due to compatibility issues, resulting in intermittent network connections and complete device failure.

Why Your TP-Link EAP225 Fails?

One is that TP-Link EAP225 has very limited deployment options since it can only accept standard PoE, PoE+, or 24V passive PoE (injector included). Although most PoE standards are backward compatible with legacy PoE, this device could not accept power from a higher category, namely the latest PoE standard IEEE802.3bt. Its reliance on specific PoE standards also means that some deployment scenarios may be impractical or impossible. For example, it may not be possible to deploy the device in environments with limited access to power sources or where specific power standards are not supported. We’ve run several tests to prove that TP-Link EAP225 cannot be powered up using a PoE++ injector or switch because the device accepts standard PoE and passive PoE at the same time. Its limited compatibility can limit your options for power sources and may require extra adapters to function properly.

PoE power pins assignment Mode A & B?

Standard PoE relays power using 3 different modes known as Mode A, Mode B, and 4-pair PoE. In Mode A, power is transmitted simultaneously with data over pins 1, 2, 3, and 6, using only half of the 4 twisted pairs. In Mode B, power is transmitted over the spare pairs (pins 4, 5, 7, and 8). However, 4-pair PoE (UPoE/PoE++) utilizes both spare pairs and data pairs, Mode A and Mode B, to supply power. PDs are compatible with both modes and will normally adjust themselves according to the mode used by the PSE. Passive PoE, on the other hand, typically supplies power over the same unused pairs as Mode B does. Since EAP225 accepts both standard and passive PoE, when we tried to power it with a 60W PoE injector, the power can only go through half the twisted pairs in an Ethernet cable, thus cutting off the power supply to the AP.

EAP225 fails when it’s over 100 meters…

Moreover, whether be it standard PoE or passive PoE, they’re all limited to a transmission distance of 100 meters/328ft, and beyond that, their signal integrity will severely deteriorate. Simply put, when EAP225 is located over 328ft away from the injector, it’ll stop working. Its inability to establish a stable connection to the network, eventually causes it to fail. And you cannot use add a random PoE extender to this system because the included PoE injector is 24V, while standard PoE operates on either 802.3af or 802.3at standards with a voltage range of 37-57 volts, typically 48V. If you try to use a 24V passive PoE to power an 802.3af/at PoE extender, it may not provide enough power to the extender, thus causing it to malfunction or not work at all. It may also damage the extender or other connected devices. Therefore, it is always advisable to use the correct PoE equipment according to the specification mentioned by the manufacturer.

How to Solve the Power Issues in TP-Link EAP225?

To solve the power issues in TP-Link EAP225 and achieve consistent WiFi coverage, you’ll need a 2-Port 802.3bt outdoor PoE extender. As previously said, this device is not compliant with the IEEE802.3bt standard, while this PoE extender can surprisingly work since it relays power in Mode A.

The 2-port PoE extender allows for greater flexibility in the placement of access points as it can double the transmission distance of up to 650ft, making it easier to install access points in locations that are otherwise difficult to reach. Compliant with IEEE802.3af/at/bt standards, this outdoor PoE extender can support a maximum power supply of 30W per port (PoE input: Mode A, Mode B, and 4-pair PoE; PoE output: Mode A). Moreover, businesses can reduce the number of cables required as this PoE extender can connect 2x EAP225 access points via a single Cat5e/Cat6 cable simultaneously. Although you can set up the second AP using the mesh technology, its network speed is only half of the first one and its signal strength will severely deteriorate if there is any obstacle between the first AP and the second AP. On the other end, the 2-port 802.3bt outdoor PoE extender can deliver dedicated Gigabit connections to both EAP225 access points. This not only makes the network neater but also reduces the chances of interference and signal degradation.

This outdoor PoE extender is designed to withstand harsh environments and has a long lifespan with MTBF rates approaching 7 years. It comes with a rugged IP67 metal enclosure, making it easy to install access points in locations where there is exposure to elements like rain, wind, and dust. It supports a wide operating temperature range from -20°C to 60°C and features carrier-grade 6kV surge protection. Furthermore, this 2-port 802.3bt PoE extender ensures reliable power transmission to EAP225 access points. It not only eliminates the need for power outlets, which can be unreliable in certain areas but also ensures that there is no downtime due to power outages, ideal for businesses that require stable network connectivity.


To install 2x EAP225 access points at a time (one at 328ft; another at 650ft), you’ll need: a 2-port outdoor PoE extender, an 802.3bt PoE injector, and some Ethernet cables.

a. Power the 802.3bt PoE injector and connect it to a router;

b. Plug one end of the 328ft Ethernet cable into the PoE output on the PoE injector, and plug the adjacent side to the 2-port 802.3bt outdoor PoE extender;

c. Take a short patch cord, connect one end to one PoE port on the PoE extender, and connect the other end of the cable to the first EAP225 access point;

d. Take a longer Ethernet cable (328ft), connect one end to the other PoE port on the PoE extender, and connect the other end to the second EAP225 access point.

How to install multiple APs beyond 100 meters?

If you need to install multiple EAP225 APs at a time, you can also consider using an outdoor PoE passthrough switch. It can double the distance between PSE and PD from 100m to 200m and help extend your Gigabit network to remote areas where a power source is not available. And you can install up to 7x EAP225 APs via a single Ethernet cable. For more information, please continue to watch the video below:

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How to Daisy Chain PoE Switches Properly?

As the number of IoT devices increases, more network ports are required and we need to expand our network accordingly. When you connect multiple switches, you can get more ports that can be used, which means more devices can be utilized over the same network. The only question is How? There are a lot of ways to connect PoE switches. You can daisy chain them, star link them, cascade them, cluster them, or stack them. In today’s post, we will teach you how to daisy chain multiple PoE switches properly.

What is Daisy Chain Topology?

Daisy chain is a type of network topology in which PoE switches are connected in a linear structure. In a daisy chain topology, the communication is typically uni-directional, which means data transmission can only flow in one direction. It’s relatively easy to install and configure as it only requires a single cable to connect all PoE switches. This simplicity makes it a popular choice for small networks. Moreover, daisy chain is a cost-effective solution as it requires minimal hardware investment. It cleans up space by reducing the complexity with limited wiring. Besides, the daisy chain system is highly scalable, meaning that it can be extended as per the network requirements.

Why Daisy Chain Network Fails?

However, as the network size grows, the daisy chain topology becomes increasingly complex to manage, and the chances of a single-point failure significantly increase. A single node failure or interruption can break the entire data transmission chain, leading to system failures and downtime. In addition, security could be a concern in a daisy chain topology, as data transmission is ubiquitous, and any device can access the network by simply plugging it into a free port. Moreover, if the core switch wants to communicate with the PoE switch located at the end of the chain, the data has to pass through each intermediate node until it reaches its destination. Consequently, the data transmission speed can significantly slow down due to latency and packet drops.

How to Daisy Chain PoE Switches Properly?

In the daisy chain topology, there are two types of networks: linear daisy chain and ring daisy chain. A linear daisy chain is a series of switches connected one after the other. But once one PoE switch fails, the others will also be affected. In a ring daisy chain, PoE switches are connected in a closed loop (switch A→switch B→switch C→switch D→switch A), which can be more resilient since data can flow in both directions around the loop, providing multiple pathways between connected devices, which enables quick failover in the case of link failure. In the linear daisy chain, if switch B fails, all the succeeding switches will be affected, and you need to take down the entire system to perform maintenance. However, by creating a redundant fiber link between switch D and switch A in the ring daisy chain using a pair of BiDi SFP transceivers, even if the second PoE switch fails, data will simultaneously be re-directed to the other route (switch A→switch D→switch C). Unlike common SFP transceivers, BiDi SFP transceivers only have one port which uses an integral WDM coupler to transmit and receive signals over a single strand fiber, which allows the data to flow the other way.

How to Solve the Loop Issues in Daisy Chain?

However, setting up a ring daisy chain requires a bit more configuration and can be more challenging to manage. And when a network is daisy-chained, it’ll introduce loop issues that can lead to network performance problems. A loop is when data transmits around the network repeatedly. If a PoE switch fails to route data properly or if there is a misconfiguration, it can cause a loop that results in duplicate packets, network congestion and poor performance. To prevent loop issues in a ring daisy chain network, it is essential to properly configure each switch’s routing information to ensure that packets are routed efficiently and without creating a loop. The use of STP or equivalent protocols like ERPS can be effective in preventing loop issues by blocking redundant paths.

ERPS creates a logical ring topology that allows for data to be transmitted in both directions without forming a physical loop. It works by creating two logical rings, one known as the primary ring and the other as the secondary ring. Each ring has a set of dedicated forwarding and blocking ports that ensure the packet is forwarded only in the correct direction. In case of a link failure, ERPS detects the failure and switches the active forwarding path to the secondary ring, avoiding any loops that may have been caused due to the failure. Compared with STP and RSTP (recovery time≅2s), ERPS also has a faster convergence time of under 50 msec, which greatly improves network resilience.

Fastcabling has also launched a series of L2+ industrial fast ring managed network switches that support a fast recovery time of less than 20 msec, making them ideal for industries such as surveillance systems, automated production lines, mining, oil and gas, and waste management. Moreover, with ERPS, the network topology can be easily and rapidly changed to accommodate growth and change in network needs. It also enhances network security and reduces the risk of cyber-attacks by ensuring data integrity and confidentiality.

Another solution is to use Token Ring. Token Ring is a communication mechanism that creates a ring topology for data signals to flow in one direction at a time. A token is passed around the ring, giving the device holding the token the right to send data. If no device is ready to send data or if the data is already being transmitted, the token is passed along to the next device in the ring. This mechanism avoids the creation of loops because the tokenized communication process only allows one device to transmit data at any given time.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, daisy-chaining multiple PoE switches can be a cost-effective way to extend your network, but there are also some problems like single-point failures, loop issues, and reduced performance. But such problems can be properly settled if you use the right products (ERPS-supported ones) and the right topologies as per your network requirements.

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7 Useful Tips for Installing PoE Switches Outdoors

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.

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Top 5 Ways to Extend the Reach of PoE (2)

3.Long-Range PoE Switch

The long-range PoE switch allows you to easily go beyond the standard PoE limit (100m) and extend PoE signals up to 500 meters to power remote devices like IP cameras, wireless access points, etc. It’s specially designed for long-distance applications in hard-to-reach areas. By using the long-range PoE switch, you can power the edge devices remotely from a centralized point without deploying multiple PoE extension equipment for long cable runs, which significantly reduces failure points. 

In addition, it addresses the problem of bandwidth drop in long-distance deployments. The bandwidth of most PoE switches will drop to 10Mbps and even lower when it exceeds the 100-meter limit. But the long-range PoE switch can still remain at 100Mbps when it hits 500 meters. It provides wider coverage, higher bandwidth and more network ports to help you install multiple IP cameras in parking lots, garages, cross-building applications, etc.

How to Install the Long-Range PoE Switch?

The long-range PoE switch works the same way as the PoE switch. The only difference is that you need to install a PoE extender on the edge device. Since the long-range PoE switch has a unique chipset that can extend the PoE signals 500 meters away, while ordinary IP cameras, wireless access points and other devices do not support this mechanism, a PoE extender needs to be installed to help the edge device send the data back to the long-range PoE switch. And you need to install one PoE extender for each link. In addition, you also need to prepare a 500-meter-long Ethernet cable. If you don’t own one, use the couplers to connect multiple runs of cables together. 

a. Power up the long-range PoE switch, and connect one side of the Ethernet cable to one of the PoE ports on the switch.
b. Connect the other side of the cable to the input port of the PoE extender.
c. Then take a shorter cable to connect the PoE extender and the edge device.

A Word of Advice: Install a Surge Protector for Outdoor Applications

Lighting strikes are one of the common reasons that cause network failure. When you’re wiring long runs of copper cables outside, your chances of getting struck will be much higher since lighting can easily induce on power lines, coaxial cables and Ethernet cables, which are the perfect channels for grounding. So it’s imperative that you install surge protectors for your application to protect your devices from power surges. The surge protector can keep the voltage within a safe limit and discharge the excessive currents and surges to the ground. But you need to ensure the device is properly grounded.

4.Fiber Optic Network

When building a high-speed network that requires long distances and higher bandwidth, there is no question: fiber optic cables are the best solution. Fiber optic connection has a world-renowned reputation for long-distance and high-speed data transmission. Normally, the transmission speed of fiber optics could reach 1-10Gbps or more, and the distance can be extended over 20km. Fiber is also known for its durability with a prolonged service life of up to 30-50 years, which makes it a worthwhile investment in the long sun. But one of the major drawbacks when deploying fiber is that it doesn’t carry electricity, so you need to power the PDs with the local power source, which can be a problem if there’s no existing electrical infrastructure in the installation site. 

What Components Do You Need?

To create a fiber network, the most basic components you’ll need are a fiber media converter, SFP modules and per-terminated fiber optic cables.  

Fiber Media Converter

The fiber media converter is a simple networking device that connects two dissimilar media types such as Ethernet and fiber. It’s used in various scenarios, such as surveillance systems, campuses and enterprise networks. The fiber media converters typically work in pairs. The first media converter receives the Ethernet signals from the PoE switch, converts them into optical signals and transfers them down the fiber optic cable to the second media converter. And the second device will then convert the signals back to the Ethernet signals that the edge PoE device can receive. The fiber media converters can be mainly divided into managed and unmanaged, standalone and chassis-based, etc.

SFP Module

The SFP module is a modular transceiver that plugs into the SFP port on the converter to facilitate media conversion. The SFP modules are mainly classified based on their speed capabilities. Fastcabling has launched several types of SFP modules that deliver high-speed transmission from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps to support long-distance applications up to 10-20km. These SFP modules are designed for use with LC-type single-mode fiber optic cables. 

Pre-terminated Fiber Optic Cable

The per-terminated fiber cable arrives on-site with the connector attached and ready to install. It’s normally made at a certain length, and it’s undeniably of higher quality than its counterpart. The pre-terminated cable helps eliminate rework, transmission testing, etc. And it comes in a plug-and-play design, which can be easily connected and disconnected, cutting off the deployment time by at least 70%. It is manufactured and assembled in a well-controlled environment to ensure the best possible network performance, and signal loss can be highly restrained with thorough inspections. The pre-terminated cable can be used in mission-critical applications that demand the highest level of accuracy, like video surveillance systems.

How to Build a Fiber Optic Network?

  • Point-to-Point Fiber Link

Point-to-point is a basic network topology that connects two physical locations on a private, high-speed fiber connection. The devices are directly connected via only one cable to realize a fast-speed network connection between two endpoints, and since only two nodes are using the data link, more bandwidth is reserved for point-to-point communication. One of the biggest advantages of using this topology is that it’s simple to implement and easier to maintain. And this type of fiber link is the simplest and most common transmission method used in IP camera systems, which makes it easier to troubleshoot faulty cameras without taking the entire system offline. 

The devices required for the installation are a PoE switch, media converters, multiple BiDi SFP modules, fiber optic cables, Ethernet cables, and PDs like IP cameras. 

a. Insert one BiDi SFP module into the SFP port of one media converter and another SFP module into one of the SFP ports of the PoE switch.
b. Connect the two SFP modules with a fiber optic cable. 
c. Plug an Ethernet cable into the RJ45 port of the media converter and connect the other end of the cable to the IP camera. 
d. Power the IP camera with a nearby AC or DC power source. 

  • Daisy-Chain Topology

Media converters that have more than one output port can be daisy-chained to set up a hop-to-hop fiber link along parking lots, rail lines, pipelines or highways. Also, you can create a redundant fiber link by linking the last media converters back to the core switch. The media converters can be connected in a circular format where data is transmitted in sequence, which greatly reduces packet collision and minimizes data loss over long distances. 

To set up a redundant fiber link over long distances, you’ll need a PoE switch, multiple media converters (with at least two SFP ports), BiDi SFP modules, fiber optic cables, etc. 

a.Insert the BiDi SFP modules into the SFP ports of the PoE switch, and plug two SFP modules into the SFP ports of each media converter. 
b. Use the fiber cable to connect the PoE switch and the first media converter. 
c. And then connect the first media converter to the second media converter, the second one to the third one, etc. Repeat this step until all the media converters are daisy-chained.
d. Connect the last media converter to the fiber switch. 

5.Wireless Network Bridge

If you need to extend the distance over 500 meters but deploying fiber optics doesn’t seem to be a plausible choice, here’s a more budget-friendly method to help you extend your network over 1km. The wireless network bridge joins different segments of networks together over a wireless channel by enabling two access points to connect over long distances using their radios. By deploying the wireless network bridge, you can cover a larger physical area with higher throughput to build a point-to-point (P2P) or point-to-multipoint (P2MP) connection between cross-building offices, neighboring districts, and nearby towns, etc. 

How to Set Up the Wireless Network Bridge?

Before the installation, you need to make sure the devices are installed in a wide-open area. If your line of sight is partially or completely obscured, move the network bridges high up on the rooftop or mount them on a tower or a pole. 

What Do You Need?

Once you’ve got all the preparation done, the connection is pretty straightforward. To set up the wireless network bridge, you will need a router, a wireless network bridge kit, a PoE injector, two power adapters and some Ethernet cables. In this case, we’ll take the 450Mbps Outdoor Wireless CPE as an example. The wireless bridge is equipped with a Gigabit PoE port and a Fast Ethernet wired interface, so you can set up at least 2 IP cameras at once. It comes with the next-generation WiFi standard of 802.11ac and runs flawlessly at 450Mbps at an extended range of 1km. Now, follow the instructions below to complete the setup. 

How to Install?

First, use an Ethernet cable to connect one of the LAN ports on the router to the Gigabit PoE/LAN port of the wireless network bridge. Plug the power adapter into the wall outlet and plug it into the network bridge to activate the device. When the device is online, the digital channel (1-8) will display at the rear. Power another network bridge and make sure the two wireless bridges are aligned on the same level and face-to-face. 

Then, set up the master AP and slave AP. Switch ‘master’ to ‘slave’ on the slave AP and synchronize the channel on both devices to make sure the ‘master’ and ‘slave’ APs stay on the same channel. And you can alter the configuration by pressing the reset button. Then check the signal indicators on the wireless bridge to ensure the devices are successfully matched.

Take another Ethernet cable to connect the LAN port of the ‘slave’ AP to the LAN port of the PoE injector. Power the injector with the DC12V power adapter, and connect it with the IP camera with a third Ethernet cable. If you want to install another IP camera, you can connect it directly to the ‘slave’ AP and power it with an external power supply.  

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Top 5 Ways to Extend the Reach of PoE(1)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) provides a cost-effective way to transmit both power and data to the powered device (PD) via a single Ethernet cable. It saves substantial installation costs and provides access to high-speed communication with minimum spending. Since PoE eliminates the need to be tethered to an electrical outlet, devices such as IP cameras and wireless access points can be located where they are needed most and repositioned more easily. And since PoE is a low-voltage power option (less than 60 Volts), it decreases the hazards associated with traditional electrical work and reduces the operating costs. 

What are the limitations of Power over Ethernet?

PoE, however, comes with a standard 100-meter limitation. That restricted reach can severely limit the viable locations where a device can be placed. Many scenarios involve point-to-point connectivity requirements that lie far beyond the standard Ethernet limit, such as the campus, rail and highway systems, security systems, and industrial applications. 

But the problem with the short transmission distance doesn’t arise with the cable itself. In fact, PoE can power any device at any device as long as there is enough power generated at the source. The truth is when the transmission exceeds that length, its signal integrity will be compromised. As the distance increases, the signal strength will deteriorate. Moreover, since power and data are transmitted at the same time when electricity is traveling down the Ethernet cable, it’ll generate an invisible electromagnetic field that disrupts data networking, and the network speed will drop from 100Mbps down to 10Mbps or less. 

Top 5 Ways to Extend PoE

To overcome the geographic limit of PoE, we’ve listed the 5 best ways to help you extend your network easily and quickly. 

1.PoE Extenders

The PoE extender is one of the simplest ways to extend PoE beyond 100 meters. It uses the existing cabling to amplify the signal and send it to the next connected device. The PoE extender is installed inline between the PSE and PD, and the max. distance on each side can be 100 meters (200 meters in total). Moreover, since the PoE extender can be powered by a PoE injector or a PoE switch directly, you don’t need to install an additional power outlet on the field. Besides, the scalability offered by PoE extenders to retrofit the traditional cabling makes installation and expansion of new network connections easier. 

Plus, the plug-and-play feature of PoE extenders also makes it easy to add new devices to the system at different locations. Considering that the installation is just a matter of an inline plug, the extender can be easily added or removed without affecting the integrity of the entire system. Additionally, some PoE extenders can even allow you to daisy-chain multiple units together, pushing the limit to 500 meters. PoE extenders exist for both indoor and outdoor applications, and some models can even provide IP6X ingress protection. 

How to Deploy PoE Extenders?

Before the installation, you should figure out how many PoE extenders will be needed. You should know the distance between the PSE and the PD, the total power budget of the PSE, the bandwidth and power requirement of the PD, etc. A rule of thumb is to use one PoE extender every 100 meters. If you need 300 to 400 meters, you will probably need at least two or three PoE extenders.

1.Use PoE Extenders in Point-to-Point Connections

The most standard way is to use one PoE extender for each PD because it’ll be much easier to implement and maintain. What’s more, since only one extender is deployed, more power is reserved for the edge device, such as IP cameras, wireless access points and VoIP phones. Most PoE extenders only have 1 input and 1 output, while some models would have 2-4 PoE outputs, allowing you to connect more PDs on a single Ethernet cable. 
a. Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into one of the PoE ports of the PoE switch, and connect the adjacent side to the input port of the PoE extender.
b. Take another Ethernet cable, connect one end to the output port of the PoE extender, and connect the other end to the PoE-enabled device.
c. Check if the indicator is on and make sure the cable glands on both sides of the PoE extender are well-sealed. 

2.Daisy Chain Multiple PoE Extenders 

By daisy-chaining multiple PoE extenders together, you can effectively extend the distance to 300-500 meters. But one of the problems when using too many PoE extenders in a single link is power loss. Every PoE extender will consume 4-5 watts of power. The more extenders are daisy-chained, the less power will reach the PD. Moreover, due to cable resistance, inevitably, there’ll always be power losses, and this is also the reason why the PoE standard defines a higher output for PSE. And since the PoE extender cannot regenerate power during the transmission, a high-power PSE will be needed to power the extenders and the edge device. 

a. Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into one of the PoE ports of the PoE switch, and connect the adjacent side to the input port of the first PoE extender.
b. Take another Ethernet cable, connect one end to the output of the first PoE extender, and connect the other end to the input of the second PoE extender.
c. Repeat the previous step, and connect the second PoE extender to the third one, etc. 

3.Use 300 Meters Direct Burial PoE Ethernet Extension Kit

Another method to extend PoE beyond 100 meters is to deploy 300 Meters Direct Burial PoE Ethernet Extension Kit. Instead of daisy-chaining 4 PoE extenders, you can expand the reach to 500 meters with only two units. By connecting the inputs of both PoE extenders together, the maximum distance between these two units can reach 300 meters so as to eliminate failure points over long cable runs. 

a. Connect one network cable to one of the PoE ports of the PoE switch and connect it to the output port of the first PoE extender.
b. Take a roll of 300-meter-long cable, connect one end to the input port of the first PoE extender, and connect the other end to the input port of the second PoE extender.
c. Finally, use a network cable to connect the second PoE extender to the edge device.

2.PoE Powered Switch

When more IP devices need to be connected, you can also use this PoE powered switch (which can sometimes be considered to be a multi-port PoE extender) to extend PoE for another 100 meters. The PoE powered switch, also called the PoE passthrough switch, can operate as a PD and a PSE at the same time. It receives the power and data from the upstream PSE and transmits them to the PDs. The PoE-powered switch can be applied in hard-to-access spaces, such as attics, closets, above drop ceilings, basements and tunnels, or some places where the existing power outlets are already occupied for other uses. Similarly, the PoE powered switches also have the ‘power handshaking’ features to verify if the connected device is PoE-compatible, which ensures the safety of the entire system. 

How to Install the PoE Powered Switch?

Since the PoE powered switch can be powered by PoE while simultaneously providing power to other devices such as IP cameras and wireless access points. This provides great flexibility because the switch can be deployed at any desired place without the constraints of an AC power outlet. However, one of the challenges when deploying a PoE powered switch is the power budget. PoE powered switches don’t consume too much power, but depending on the manufacturers, models, port numbers, etc., the power consumption could vary. But they will typically use between 3.3 and 33 watts of power. 

For example, if a PoE powered switch has a power budget of 60W and the switch itself will consume 10W approximately, then you’ll need at least 70 watts of power available at the PoE powered switch, which means the PSE will have a power budget of 90W. Therefore, you will need a high-power PoE injector to power the PoE passthrough switch. And to eliminate power losses over the transmission, you should use pure copper cables instead of CCA cables since the latter have much higher cable resistance than 100% copper cables. 

Components You’ll Need: 

Outdoor PoE Pass Through Switch

This outdoor PoE passthrough switch is IP67-rated waterproof and supports a wide operating temperature range of -25°C ~60 °C to operate stably in outdoor environments. It’s built with a PoE passthrough port and 7*10/100/1000 Mbps PoE output ports with a total power budget of 95W (30W max. at each PoE port). Each port is equipped with 6kV surge protection, and it also has a fanless cooling design for heat dissipation. 

90/95W PoE Injector

This 95W PoE injector is compatible with both PoH protocol and IEEE802.3bt standards to deliver 72W max. to the PD and supports a data transmission speed of 10/100/1000Mbps. It is highly reliable, featuring carrier-grade surge protection to protect the device against ESD events. The installation is basically plug-and-play with no configuration required. 

Cat5e/6 Ethernet cables

The Cat5e and Cat6 cables can support data transfer speeds up to one Gigabit per second. They offer significantly improved performance over the legacy standards, including up to 10 times faster speeds and a significantly greater ability to reduce crosstalk.

a. Connect a Cat5e cable into the PoE output port of the 95W PoE injector, and plug the PoE injector into the power outlet.
b. Connect the other side of the cable to the PoE passthrough port on the PoE powered switch and check if the PoE powered switch is powered up. 
c. Take another Ethernet cable and plug it in one of the PoE ports of the PoE powered switch, and connect the other end to the PD. 

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Fiber Optic Cable: Overview, Types and Application

In the highly connected world of today, the rapid transfer of massive amounts of information has become a priority for all industries. Decades ago, copper wires are the default media for data transmission, but now fiber optic cables have become the golden standard for network cabling for their unparalleled performance and the ability to send data without attenuation. They are designed for fast-speed data networking, and now are frequently used in SMBs, IP security camera systems, data centers, etc.

Fiber Optic Cable

A fiber optic cable is composed of five elements: core, cladding, coating, strengthening fibers and cable jacket. The core is the center of the fiber cable, the medium where optical signals are transmitted. It’s consisted of continuous strands of glass or plastic, whose diameter is measured in microns. The cladding is the layer that protects the core and serves as the boundary that traps the light waves. The coating is a plastic layer that surrounds the cladding, which helps to strengthen the fiber core, helps absorb shocks, and provides extra protection against excessive bending of the cable. The strengthening fibers are used to protect the fiber core from crushing forces during the installation, and the materials can range from Kevlar to gel-filled sleeves. Lastly, the cable jacket is the outer layer of the fiber cable to protect the cable from environmental hazards. 

How do Fiber Optic Cables Work?

Fiber optics use light instead of electrical signals to transmit data. Light (laser or LED) travels down a fiber optic cable by repeatedly bouncing off the ‘walls’ of the cable with continued internal mirror-like reflection. The size of the fiber core is critical in determining how far a signal can travel. In general, the smaller the core, the farther the light will travel before it needs to be regenerated. Since most fiber networks cannot directly blend into the network infrastructure your home or office can use, the stretch between the main fiber network line and the end-user, also known as the ‘last mile’, is often completed by the old-fashioned coaxial cable, copper cable, etc. 

Types of Fiber Optic Cables

There are many types of fiber optic cables. For example, depending on the communication channel, they can be divided into the simplex, half duplex and full duplex types. In this part, we will introduce the most common fiber optic cables in the market. 

Single-mode Fiber Optic Cable

The single-mode fiber optic cable has a 125μm thick cladding around a very small fiber core (9μm), which allows only one spread of the light beam to pass, making it more suitable for long-distance applications. It has very low propagation loss and just no dispersion. Its extremely thin core allows the laser to move in it with almost no reflection, which greatly reduces the attenuation rate. The single-mode fiber optic cable is often covered with a yellow jacket. It can be used in metropolitan networks, small to medium-sized enterprises, campuses, etc., and is typically used for CATV, Internet and telephone applications where the signals are carried using single-mode fibers wound into a bundle.

Multi-mode Fiber Optic Cable

The multi-mode fiber optic cable has a much broader internal core (either 50μm or 62.5μm). It allows multiple modes of light to propagate through the cable and carry multiple streams of data simultaneously. The multi-mode fiber optic cable is usually coated with an orange or aqua jacket, used in short-distance applications like data centers, sensing systems, radio telecommunications, etc. Multi-mode fiber optic cable is less expensive than single-mode fiber and it’s easier to maintain and install. However, the larger core diameter also means greater reflection and signal attenuation.  

Simplex Fiber Optic Cable

Simplex and duplex fiber optic cables feature two different types of communication channels. In the simplex fiber, data only travels in one direction at a time. Simplex cable uses a single strand of fiber with a transmitter (TX) on one end and a receiver (RX) on the other. The cable is not reversible and supports only one-way transmission. Simplex fiber is a great option for setting up a network that will require data to travel long distances in one direction. It’s a good choice for applications like oil line monitors, interstate trucking scales, automated speed and boundary sensors, etc. 

Duplex Fiber Optic Cable

In the duplex fiber cable, the transmission is bidirectional for it uses 2 fibers to communicate. One strand transmits data from point A to point B and the other from B to A. Both ends have a transmitter and a receiver. The duplex fiber optic cable can also be further categorized into half-duplex and full-duplex. Half-duplex means that information can be transmitted in both directions but not simultaneously, while full-duplex means that data transfer can occur in both directions at the same time. It can be utilized in applications, such as telecommunications, workstations, large modems and network servers, and backbone ports.

Single or Multi-Strand Fiber Optic Cable

Single-strand optical fiber cable uses a single strand of optic fiber to send data in two directions, i.e. bi-directional (BiDi) transmission. It greatly increases network capacity by using only one strand of fiber to transmit and receive data, which also reduces failure points. Multi-strand fiber is similar to twin-strand fiber. It has strands of optical fiber to transmit data in one direction, and a similar number of optical fibers to support data transmission in the opposite direction. And multi-strand fiber can support data rates over 25G and be used with MPO/MTP connectors.

Aerial Fiber Optic Cable

Aerial fiber optic cables are usually used for outdoor installation. They are often installed on poles, towers, or other structures above the ground or in rural or suburban areas where it is impractical or too expensive to bury cables underground. The aerial fiber optic cables can resist wind, rain, ice, heat, UV rays and other constant weather changes that vary with the seasons and even throughout the day. According to the installation methods, aerial fiber optic cables can be generally divided into two types: Catenary and self-supporting. Catenary wire or loose tube aerial cables are the most frequently used design in outdoor settings, and you can use them for ducts and lashed aerial installations. But if the installation doesn’t have an existing messenger wire, you can go for the self-supporting type. And within this category, there are three different types of aerial fiber optic cables: ADSS, Figure 8 and OPGW.

Direct Burial Fiber Optic Cable

The direct burial fiber optic cables can be directly buried underground without conduits (usually 1-2 meters deep). They do not require any kind of additional protective covers to be buried directly into the ground. They can be exposed to harsh environmental conditions such as changes in temperature and humidity of the soil. Compared with underground fiber optic cables with conduits, direct burial fiber cables are more solid. They have a built-in conduit that helps them withstand pressure, dust, and even rodent chewing. 

How to Install Fiber Optic Cables?

Proper installation of your fiber optic cables will ensure the best functioning of your system. In this section, we will introduce several ways to install your fiber cables. 

Conduit Installation

Conduit is used when installing underground fiber optic cable to protect the fiber from damage. To install multiple fibers at a time, you can use the inner duct conduit which contains multiple smaller tubes inside of a larger conduit. But when pulling the fiber cable through the conduit, you should lubricate it first. The lubricant helps reduce the pulling load and the chance of breakage during the installation, but it has to be compatible with the cable jacket. For long cable runs, the pulling is often done with special equipment to minimize bends and breakage during the installation. Moreover, to ease the installation, fish tapes should always be placed in the conduit.

Indoor Cable Installation

The indoor fiber optic cable is usually installed in a conduit or a tray. The cable tray is designed to protect and route the fiber optic cables. But one of the concerns when installing fiber cables with cable trays is to avoid any cutting edges and sharp bends All bends must have smooth curves. When a fiber cable is pulled into a conduit or cable tray, the conduit’s bending radius must be larger than the cable’s minimum bending radius. 

Vertical Cable Installation

Cables installed in trays are not subject to any tension. However, for vertical running, a careful design must be made to minimize the tensile forces. Longer vertical wires must be clamped at midpoints to avoid excessive strain on the cable. The clamping force should be applied to the length of the cable as possible. Cable holders can be used at the top of the vertical riser or at the mid-point if frequent clamping is not possible. 

Aerial Cable Installation

Aerial cable installation is very complicated and time-consuming. First, you need to carry out a route survey and ensure the way is free of obstacles like trees. And also you need to gain permission from the property owners or local authorities before the installation starts. Once all the preparation is done, you can decide whether to install the cable using stationary or moving reels. The first method is generally used when the cable is installed above the existing lateral cable and other obstructions. The moving reel method can be used where the cable reel trailer or aerial can move along the pole line and there are no obstacles preventing the lifting of the cable. It is a one-time operation that does not require the use of pull wires, so the installation is usually faster. 

Other Tips on Fiber Optic Cable Installation

• Run the cable in the pattern of Figure 8 to reduce cable twist.

• Never pull on the fiber directly. Pull on the strengthening member (Kevlar) or the pulling eye instead to protect the fiber from breakage.

• Ducts should be sized to meet present and future cable installation requirements. And after the cable is pulled, end plugs should be installed to provide an effective water seal.

• Install vertical, unfilled, loose tube cables with loops to prevent the fiber from slipping.

• On the run<100m, pull the cable directly, but when the length exceeds 100m, use proper lubricants and pull the cable from the middle out to both ends.

• When a messenger wire is used for aerial installation, avoid zigzagging the messenger wire from one pole side to the other.

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How to Build a PoE LED Lighting System for Your Office?

Indoor and outdoor lighting is extremely essential for business activities. It helps create a pleasant workplace, boost work productivity, improve employee satisfaction and maximize the comfort of visitors. Today, LED lighting has become a fundamental part of smart buildings to provide an overall better quality, optimal color rendering and sharper focus. In addition, the higher visibility of LEDs also improves workplace safety. And they are better for the environment and can cut down energy consumption by upwards of 70 percent. And this improvement in energy efficiency can be directly correlated with financial savings. Whether you’re looking for easier maintenance or improved performance, LED lighting is the solution for you.

Why Should You Consider PoE Lighting for Your Workplace?

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a relatively new technology but its application is growing at an astounding rate in both commercial and industrial sectors. PoE lighting is a form of smart lighting that uses PoE technology to connect, monitor and control LED lighting. It revolutionizes the way how we control lighting by allowing it to become a part of the Internet of Things (IoT) to bring illumination and IT together. This modern lighting system uses Ethernet cables to power the light fixtures and transfer data between the luminaires and control software. PoE lighting utilizes low-voltage DC power, making it safer, faster, easier, and less costly to install than traditional lighting. And since PoE enables the transmission of power and data via a single network cable, the cost of installation and operation can be greatly reduced. It integrates building energy efficiency by eliminating AC or DC power wires along with associated conduit runs and labor savings.

PoE Simplifies LED Lighting

PoE offers one cable solution for power and network connections, which allows for lower capital expenditures and material costs related to construction and maintenance. Moreover, with the deployment of PoE, you can enjoy greater flexibility in design and placement. You can directly take advantage of the existing cabling structure to retrofit your lighting system and incorporate LED lighting into IT systems. In addition, the PoE LEDs used in the smart lighting system are direct DC-powered, while the conventional LED fixtures used in traditional lighting systems are normally equipped with an AC-to-DC power converter to operate LED lighting, which will consume unnecessary electrical energy. But driving the LEDs directly with the DC power can greatly improve energy efficiency. Furthermore, PoE has evolved from providing 15W of power to 90W, so the number of devices connected has grown exponentially. For example, PoE can power devices such as lighting, sensors, HVAC controllers, alarms as well as All-in-One touchscreen PCs, wireless APs and USB-C laptops.

Using PoE to power low-voltage DC-powered LED light fixtures can bring more benefits than traditional lighting system:

1. Decreases in Installation Costs

Above all, the most notable benefit of PoE lighting is cost savings. Operating costs are significantly lower thanks to the extended lifespan of PoE lighting. A PoE LED only costs 2.99 dollars but can last for 15-25 years, while the Incandescent LED will cost you $13.80 for a limited operating lifespan of only 1 year. As previously mentioned, installation costs can be greatly reduced by delivering power and data through the same twisted pairs to future-proof building automation with a highly secure and widely used communication protocol. Moreover, you can also reuse the existing cabling or IT infrastructures to install the hardware. Plus, structured cabling is also more easily scalable than traditional power cords.

2. Advanced Data Analytics

PoE lighting provides a centralized platform to control the energy usage in your business and provide insights into further cost savings. Since data can travel both directions through the Ethernet cable, the PoE lighting system can use data analytics to learn the habitats of your space and provide you with information to reduce energy use while maintaining high-quality and accurate lighting. When planning, building, installing and maintaining these localized lighting systems, it can provide real-time feedback pertaining to production costs, operational efficiency, etc., and help you troubleshoot the potential problems occurring in your building. And at the same time, these PoE lights can provide valuable feedback data to the control system, allowing the building to adjust energy consumption based on occupancy patterns.

3. Automated Lighting Control

Automation is the key to a digital building system. By deploying PoE LEDs, you can have overall control over your lighting system to promote better efficiency in the workplace to balance the natural light. What’s more, you can schedule the lights to be automatically turned off when the space is no longer in use, like the meeting room. And the same can also be scheduled for certain areas like individual offices and cubicles. For example, you can configure the PoE LEDs to shut off at 8 p.m. so they won’t stay on all night, which can greatly help lower your electricity bill. The LED can also be connected to the smart sensor as well to automatically operate when the sensor is triggered. Besides, instead of needing to shut down the entire area for maintenance, you can easily target the faulty LED fixtures and work on the individual light points.

How Does PoE Lighting Work?

The PoE lighting system is normally made up of four elements: the graphical user interface (GUI), i.e. the computer, the power sourcing equipment (PSE), i.e. the PoE switch or PoE injector, nodes and light fixtures. Oftentimes, the fixture is attached to a node along with the sensor and dimmer, so you can turn on and off the lighting automatically or manually. PoE LEDs can be directly connected to the Internet via standard Cat5/6 cables to send and receive data, enabling the LEDs to respond promptly to the node and provide instant data analytics back to the PoE switch. And since PoE LEDs need DC power to operate, the AC line voltage will be directed to the PoE switch and converted to the desired power source. Once the hardware is set up, the DC power will be routed to the different nodes located throughout the space simultaneously and then they will forward the power and data downstream to the connected light fixtures. But only data will be transmitted to the dimmer and sensor. As high-power PoE (IEEE802.3bt) can deliver up to 90/100 watts of power, several fixtures or nodes can be daisy-chained together to reduce power cabling. However, not all manufacturer nodes are equivalent or compatible with the desired fixture, you have to make sure Each fixture has its own IP address. Once identified by the network, it can allow users to control each fixture or the entire lighting system as desired, allowing for instant on-off, dimming, color tuning and emergency lighting controls. And the data delivered to the GUI can be used to customize illumination in multiple zones. The computer acts as the central brain to send and receive commands to realize remote monitoring. Here’s how it works:

1) When plugged into the power outlet, the PoE switch will convert AC power to DC power which is then sent to the node that connects the LED light fixture, sensor and dimmer.

2) The node receives the data and power from the PSE and passes them to the fixture, etc.

3) When the light fixture is powered, the node will collect data and send it to the GUI.

4) The GUI processes the data and passes the instructions to customize the lighting configuration. Moreover, the PoE technology can also be controlled via smartphone apps or workstations, which adds the convenience of remote applications.

High-Power PoE: The Best Solution for PoE Lighting

The PoE lighting system offers a cost-effective way to conserve energy and reduce costs, but any integrated lighting system requires thoughtful design and architecture. Poor installation can result in issues such as motion sensors not working or timers not being set correctly, while the emergency of PoE for lighting controls has greatly simplified the process of cabling, installation and configuration. It opens the door to endless lighting automation in intelligent or high-performance buildings. The ability to deliver desired performance requires the right approach, the right skill sets, and most importantly the right product.

Even though it runs on low DC voltage, PoE lighting is a high-power consumption system. Deploying intelligent lighting systems over balanced twisted pair cables requires a constant power supply of at least 60W to safely energize the lighting grid. Therefore, you’ll need high-power PoE to ensure the quick activation of the LED lighting with a lower standby power to reduce the overall power consumption.

What’s New in the High-Power PoE?

IEEE802.3bt is the newest PoE standard that first implements power over four twisted pairs of structured wiring. Type 3 PoE is specified to deliver a maximum power of 60W at each PoE port over Cat5 cabling with a minimum of 51W available at the PD- twice the capacity of PoE+. Examples of devices that these higher levels of power support include 802.11ac WAPs, speed-dome PTZ cameras, etc. Type 4 PoE can generate a much higher power output of 90-100W at the PSE with a minimum power assured on each port being 71.3W to support extremely power-hungry devices like flat screens, desktop computers, etc. But even if Type 3 and Type 4 could deliver a much higher amount of power, they’re still restricted to the 100-meter distance limitation of standard PoE.

Lower Standby Power to Deliver Better Performance

The new PoE standard shows great improvements in standby power consumption. In the IEEE 802.3af/at standards, the PDs must draw approximately 10mA for at least 75ms every 250ms in a duty cycle to keep the PoE port alive, which is extremely crucial for LED lighting and security systems to remain “ON” to ensure fast turn-on. Unlike traditional lighting, intelligent LED ballasts need to be constantly powered even when the light is off, but it also results in significant power wastage when a large number of PDs are deployed. IEEE 802.3bt offers a practical solution to reduce the minimum standby power to 20mW which is 10 times lower than the older IEEE standards (nearly 200mW at 54V).

Fastcabling has launched a bunch of new products to customize your PoE lighting with low cost, easy operation and high performance.

95W PoE Midspan Injector

This product is an unmanaged ultra-high-power PoE injector developed by Fastcabling. It is equipped with one Ethernet port, one PoE output port and one AC power input port. And as a PoE power unit, it can automatically detect and identify if the powered device meets the PoE standard and supply power up to 95W to the light fixture through the network cable (AC-to-DC power conversion will be completed before the power is transmitted.). It eliminates the need for installing new electrical outlets on the wall, ceiling or any unreachable place, and most of all, it reduces installation time. This 95W PoE midspan injector is extremely easy to install by way of plug and play and comes with simple troubleshooting, making it easy for both business and home users. And it’s ready to provide high-speed network communication (10/100/1000Mbps) with no need for software configuration.

16 Port 90W Managed PoE Switch

The 16-port 90W managed PoE switch adopts the latest standards to better support the long-term networking needs of PoE applications and allows for a wide range of devices to be powered and connected to the network. It supports 90W of power plus data up to 100 meters through existing cabling on ports #1-8 (30W of power on ports #9-16). It can provide a higher level of QoS and support various protocols like SNMP to allow the users to check the status of each network port for traffic throughput and network error. Additional features provide more flexibility and control. To separate your PoE lighting system from other applications, you just need to create a VLAN ID on the switching tab, and you can configure the features of QoS by setting the desired CoS, Queue scheduling, bandwidth control, etc., to prioritize critical traffic for your business.

8-Port L2+ 90W Industrial Managed PoE Switch

Fastcabling also launched a 90W industrial managed PoE switch to deliver industrial-grade durability and enhanced network redundancy for use in applications with harsh conditions. It provides advanced L2+ switching functions and < 20-msec fast ring recovery protection to prevent interruptions and external intrusions. It’s packed with an IPV6 DHCP server for superior data processing performance and network reliability, which makes it ideal for large-scale network aggregation and high-speed enterprise networks. With intelligent PD alive check, the PoE switch monitors and automatically reboots unresponsive PoE devices when necessary. The redundant power inputs also help ease the unexpected risks of power outages to deliver better network service. Designed with a rugged IP40 aluminum housing, these industrial PoE+ switches show great resistance to a high degree of vibration and protection against ESD or surge and operate within a wide temperature range ( -40°C ~ 75 °C).

What Else Should You Consider?

Heat rise is a severe concern in high-power PoE. Simply put, more power means more heat, and overheating will increase the DC resistance in copper wires, thereby jeopardizing signal transmission. The higher the power level and the smaller the gauge of the cable, the more likely the cable heats up, which will accelerate cable deterioration and the aging of the jacket. Overheating in PoE cabling can also lead to an increase in insertion loss. To minimize heat rise in high-power PoE, you should choose a network cable of a higher category: the higher the cable category, the lower the heat rise. Normally, a Cat6 or 6e Ethernet cable would suffice for the job. And you can choose a cable terminated with a larger conductor since conductor resistance is one of the main culprits of overheating. A larger conductor will let electrical currents easily flow through and thereby reduce the conductor resistance. And it’s advised to choose a shielded cable rather than an unshielded one for better heat dissipation.

Basic PoE Cabling Architecture

Not all intelligent building systems are the same, and a company must make a multitude of deployment decisions once it chooses PoE lighting.

Zone Cabling for PoE Lighting

Zone cabling is a structured cabling structure applied in PoE lighting, which highly increases the flexibility of the cabling infrastructure. It permits the installation of the cabling system earlier in the construction before the work kicks off. This architecture also increases energy efficiency by reducing voltage drop over an extended distance. The zone cabling architecture can be further divided into the active and passive zone. In the passive zone cabling, all the active devices are installed in the control room and the consolidation points are placed between the control room and the end devices. These consolidation points can be in wall-mounted, in-ceiling or under-floor mounted enclosure boxes to move, add and even change the hardware. However, in the active zone cabling, the PSE is located in the zone enclosure where long-distance fiber is threaded all the way from the control room.

Deployment Strategies for PoE Lighting

In this section, we will introduce several deployment strategies to help you choose the best solution for PoE lighting installation.

Centralized vs. Distributed

There are two deployment strategies for installing PoE lighting. The most common strategy is the centralized strategy. A deployment where the PoE switch is placed in the center of the control room. Multiple Ethernet cables are routed to the patch panel located in the zone enclosure. And then run the cables from the patch panel to each light point. In this way, you can use the existing power facilities and create a centralized platform for lighting control. And it’ll be easier to perform maintenance on equipment. However, the biggest drawback is that it requires more cables to be installed, and a larger PoE switch is needed. On the other hand, the distribution strategy is more suitable for smaller PoE switches. In this architecture, the PoE switch is located inside the zone enclosure, typically in the ceiling near the fixture, thus requiring less cabling. Alternatively, you can also use fiber optic connections for uplink, which allows the fixture to be located at greater distances from the control room. The main drawback, however, is the need to install new power infrastructure into the ceiling.

Directly-Attached vs. Node-Centric

Normally, the direct-attached architectures have been employed for PoE lighting deployment to create a point-to-point relationship between PoE lighting units, the PoE switch, and any other items attached via PoE. Being the simplest network topology, it’s very easy to maintain and troubleshoot, making it ideal for less experienced users. If a wire has a problem, you can replace it within a few seconds. And if one device shuts down, the other data links can continue to function. But for as many PoE-powered devices attached to the network, there should be an equal amount of PoE switch ports on the switch, which will be a large investment. In the node-centric architecture, more light fixtures can be connected to the PoE switch through a single node via RJ45 Ethernet cables to create a hop-to-hop connection. Multiple light points can be daisy-chained together, only one PoE switch port is consumed, but more fixtures are powered. There are some limitations to this node-centered architecture. Currently, a PoE++ switch (60W) can power only four canned light fixtures at a time. Moreover, a faulty node will cause all devices connected to this line to fail.

Separate vs. Converged

Traditionally, building automation has been operated by a separate network, controlled by the operations teams with little or no IT background in the day-to-day operations of the network. One of the obvious advantages when deploying a separate network for building automation and lighting control is that you can use the existing and proven technology, the traditional way things have occurred in the past few decades. But with the introduction of PoE lighting, some of the traditional arrangements need to be changed to better meet the requirements where PoE lighting can be applied to the network. It also makes it more difficult to manage two separate networks of facilities. Another method is to integrate the newer PoE lighting network into the existing network system. But you have to make sure all network components can be connected to the IP network and the installed network cabling must be able to handle PoE. But generally speaking, converging the enterprise network into the building automation and PoE lighting network is not suggested.

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Build and Expand Your Smart Home Network with a Managed PoE Switch

Smart homes are getting more and more popular these days, not only among homeowners but also among property developers, with a year-on-year growth rate of 30%. With the introduction of smart sensors, voice-control platforms and IP-based technologies, life has become easier than ever. These devices operate in a variety of ways: apps, automation, or voice commands, etc.

Why Do You Need a Smart Home?

With a smart home, you can adjust the lighting in your house through your phone, set your coffee maker to work at a certain time, have your doors automatically locked, etc. Moreover, it also makes our lives more secure. With the invention of smart home devices like door locks, siren alarms, security cameras, etc., you can effectively deter burglars, making it harder for them to break in. And if a burglar does manage to break into your house, you can also help the police to catch the culprit with the recorded videos. Smart home technology not only makes your life easier but also boosts the sense of self-sufficiency in senior users. Via voice commands, they can control everything that is connected to the IP network. 

As you can see, there’s a multitude of benefits a smart home system can bring to your life. If you’re considering making your home a smart one, then the use of a managed can be of great help to retrofit your older network system while using existing cabling infrastructure. WiFi is used exclusively for communication with smart devices, even though this sometimes can be unreliable. For example, if you have thick concrete walls that might block the signals, the connection might be dodgy. However, with PoE, you can establish a reliable network system that carries power and data over the same network cable.

What is a Managed PoE switch? 

Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology is a cost-effective solution, widely used in commercial and residential applications, to satisfy the need for connectivity to network devices like IP cameras, wireless APs, VoIP phones, etc. The delivery of power and data simultaneously to the powered devices via a single Ethernet cable ends the need for AC or DC power supplies and power outlets. And the PoE switches can be divided into two types at the management level, namely the managed and unmanaged PoE switches. The unmanaged PoE switch is a relatively simple plug-and-play device that can’t be modified or managed since they are manufactured with a fixed configuration. They will automatically forward traffic once the device is plugged in. These are fine to use in small networks with only basic needs. 

However, for optimized network design and construction, the managed PoE switches are your best shot. They are fully manageable and customizable, giving you more control over how data travels with a multitude of benefits, which makes them suitable for medium-to-large-sized networks supporting critical activities. They allow you to adjust each PoE port on the switch to any setting, enabling them to manage, configure and monitor the network in many ways. In addition, the managed PoE switches also support a higher level of security and stability. They are equipped with various advanced security features to avoid any physical tampering on the switch. They support various protocols and advanced features like SNMP, STP and port mirroring, allowing you to check the real-time status of each RJ45 PoE port. 

The Important Features of Managed PoE Switches in Smart Home

To help you gain an in-depth understanding of what a managed PoE switch is, here, we’ve summarized a list of features in the managed PoE switch: 

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

SNMP provides a way for different devices to communicate with each other even if they have different hardware. Most professional-grade network switches are equipped with such protocols, which can be enabled and configured to communicate with network monitoring tools or network management systems so as to identify the connected PDs, monitor network performance and keep the track of network changes. Every device can be queried with SNMP to determine the status of the device in real-time. Fire sensors, televisions, lighting, security and camera systems can communicate with each other. Moreover, these devices can be monitored and controlled remotely from any room of a smart home using a smartphone or computer from anywhere in the world via the Internet. 

VLAN (Virtual Local Area Networks)

The VLAN feature on the managed PoE switches helps you to segment the network without installing separate equipment. Generally, the switch will broadcast traffic to all connected ports, and allow all connected devices to communicate with each other, while VLANs can be created in order to reduce the amount of broadcast traffic on a network. Even if all devices are active at the same time, traffic congestion is not a problem. These managed PoE switches allow you to create VLANs on the switch You just need to create a VLAN ID on the switching tab, assign it to the ports you select, and then create a PVID to isolate it from other VLANs. And you can also configure the features of QoS by setting the desired CoS, Queue scheduling, bandwidth control, etc., to prioritize the traffic for your smart home applications.

RSTP (Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol)

RSTP is the advancement of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) to facilitate high loop-free topologies within Ethernet. It prevents network loops by blocking redundant pathways in the network where multiple switches are deployed. Essentially, the protocol determines the most efficient way for switches to broadcast traffic across the network by establishing a root bridge. A major advantage of RSTP networks is that they provide high availability compared to traditional daisy-chain topologies. In the event of a network failure, data can be rerouted so that devices can continue to communicate over the network. RSTP is an improvement over STP mainly due to its reduction in convergence time. In STP, there is substantial convergence time whenever there is a network change or failure, which typically lasts for 40-50 seconds, while RSTP reduces the convergence time significantly down to around 5-10 seconds, which is essential for mission-critical applications like home security systems. 

LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol)

LACP is a subcomponent of the IEEE802.3 specification that provides guidance on link aggregation for data connections to aggregate one or more Ethernet interfaces to form logical point-to-point links called LAGs. It’s typically used to bundle individual links of Ethernet connections on a network to promote better performance outcomes. The main advantage when activating LACP functions on a smart home network is that it provides redundant network activity. With link aggregation, you get multiple delivery paths, and if one link suddenly fails, you’ll be able to load balance across all available links. In addition, when a massive amount of traffic flows into your network, the LACP allows for the aggregation of additional bandwidth on physical links to distribute the data load efficiently. Besides, the aggregated physical links can deliver higher bandwidth than each individual link. LACP offers a cost-effective way for network updates. Physical network upgrades can be expensive, especially if new cabling is required. Link aggregation increases bandwidth without the need for new equipment. 

ACL (Access Control List) 

The inter-connected features of smart home devices also bring lots of privacy and security issues, which can invoke trust problems among family members. But by using the access control list, the access to a resource is restricted unless you get permission Access control is a set of permissions that specifies who is allowed to access and what actions are allowed to be performed. Each access control list (ACL) entry specifies a device, a user, and an associated access level (three levels in total, namely owner level, administration level and viewer level). ACL only allows access to appropriate users over public networks, which greatly simplifies access control management. ACL enables reliable access control while maintaining security and compliance with data protection and privacy regulations. 

Why Do You Need a Managed PoE Switch for Smart Home? 

If you need multiple VLANs on your network, typically for wired clients, the managed PoE switches are definitely the way to go. And they offer more benefits than just creating VLANs.

1. Improved Network Performance

A managed network switch easily integrates your smart home network into your existing network structure without compromising the network performance of other IoT devices. Moreover, the managed PoE switch also helps you to prioritize the traffic flow of each wired connection. Since different network devices have different bandwidth requirements, when these devices are connected on the same switch, the managed switch can help you control the amount of traffic each port is forwarding to each PD. Furthermore, you can easily configure the low-bandwidth devices to low priority to optimize the distribution of network traffic. 

2. Less Network Downtime

Managed switches provide services like network monitoring and problem diagnosis to allow you to have better control over your network. It provides full reports of status on each port and speeds up troubleshooting if necessary to shorten the time wasted on data recovery. Clogged traffic or other types of technical issues can cause an Ethernet network to fail. But in the event of network crashes, the RSTP function on the managed PoE switch can significantly reduce system downtime by providing a failover pathway for data traffic. Moreover, when it will automatically detect and reboot the non-responding PD until the connection is resumed. 

3. Increased Network Security

Another major advantage of using managed PoE switches in smart home networks mainly lies in their high security. Unmanaged PoE switches only provide basic security features but managed PoE switches can only provide access to trusted devices to prevent unauthorized access and block unknown devices. With the 802.1X Port-Based Network Access Control (PNAC), the user can set up the level to access the switch. Therefore, any attempt to disrupt your devices will be immediately noticed and reported.  

How to Build a Smart Home Network With PoE Managed Switches?

Many smart home sensors are battery-powered, which is a good choice if you don’t have a nearby power source. But the biggest downside is that you have to replace the batteries on a regular basis, which will inevitably increase network downtime. However, having the sensors, cameras, etc., powered by a central PoE switch, you’ll have an uninterruptible power source transmitted from a remote point. For example, compared with the traditional LED system, PoE lighting can be scheduled and dimmed for mood. You can easily retrofit your existing security camera system by adding PoE-compatible cameras to your surveillance system. You can only use one app plus one switch can control one or multiple devices. 

To take advantage of PoE technology, you have to make sure your devices are PoE-supported and your home already has Ethernet cables running in the walls, ceilings, etc., or you’ll have to buy an extra networking kit for PoE. If you’re not confident running the cables yourself, you can hire an electrician specializing in Ethernet cabling. And you will need to choose a suitable managed PoE switch for your project. Fastcabling has launched various types of managed PoE switches to meet different project requirements. 

24 Port Managed PoE Switch with 2 Gigabit SFP

This managed PoE switch gives you full control over the port settings, particularly beneficial for network segmentation. Compliant with IEEE 802.3at/af PoE+/PoE, it can supply up to 30 watts of power per port and automatically verify if the connected device is PoE compatible and detect their power class to optimize power management. This PoE switch supports various features like RSTP and LACP to ensure network connection reliability. IPV4/IPV6 DHCP snooping to protect the integrity of the DHCP server and its operations. The intelligent PD live check is also available in these models to monitor the real-time status of connected PDs and enable to reboot fail PDs.

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Here is a step-by-step installation guide to help set up the smart home network.

1. Switch Configuration

For first-time usage, you must activate the device and reset the password on the web. After the switch is activated, you can configure the switch for further network management. You can change the IP address and gateway address as needed. When you log in, go to the configuration or switching tab for port configuration, VLAN setting, Trunk management, SNMP setting, IGMP snooping, etc., to configure your managed PoE switch through the web-based interface or the command-line interface via the console port with minimum fuss.  

Bandwidth Control: Since different devices have different bandwidth requirements, with bandwidth control, you’ll be able to manage traffic rates for each device and limit either incoming traffic, outgoing traffic, or both. All you need to do is to go to the bandwidth control setting and configure the corresponding port. Decide whether you want to control the rate of traffic coming into the port (Ingress Rate) or the rate of traffic going out of the port (Egress Rate), select the desired rate and save the settings. 

Guest Network: If you have a managed PoE switch and a capable router, you can create VLANs to isolate guest users on a separate network. If you just want a separate VLAN for guests, you actually need to create two VLANs, one for the main network and one for the guest network. The setup for your network will vary based on the hardware you’re using. If you need to create a VLAN for Guest WiFi, you’ll need two wireless access points or you need to purchase a single access point that has two separate SSIDs, and tag and manage all traffic from each SSID individually. Then, you need to create a new VLAN on the switch, enter the desired VLAN ID and name it ‘Guest’. To add a port to your Guest Network, select a port and click Untag. All untagged ports will be added to the VLAN. People will be able to connect to these ports and access the internet without seeing traffic on the main network.

RSTP Configuration: One more function that requires a managed PoE switch is redundancy. To implement network redundancy, you need to set up RSTP to prevent frame looping. Most switches can deploy RSTP by default, so no additional configuration is necessary. But if RSTP is not being used, the following procedure will enable it: Go to the spanning tree configuration and activate the RSTP. Set the Bridge Priority to the desired figure and apply it to the selected ports (port 1 and port 2). And configure the other two switches accordingly. Make sure that the link between switch 2 and switch 3 is not connected to prevent unintended loops before finishing the RSTP setup. Then use the Ethernet cables to connect port 1 on switch 1 to port 1 on switch 2, port 2 on the switch to port 2 on switch 2, and port 2 on switch 1 to port 1 on switch 3. 

2. Hardware Setup

To set up the managed PoE switch, you’ll need a router, a short patch cord, Ethernet cables, and PoE splitters if your smart home devices are not PoE compatible. First, plug the managed PoE switch into a wall outlet (100-240V AC). Second, take a short patch cord to connect the switch to the router. Then, connect the PoE switch with the PD with a long Ethernet cable, and check if the LED indicator is on. If so, the connection is successfully made. If you want to connect a non-PoE device like a computer, then you will need to add a PoE splitter between them. The splitter will isolate the power from data and feed it into a separate output that the non-PoE device can use. You can also use fiber optic connections for uplink, which allows the switch to be located at greater distances from the control room.

3. Mounting Options

There are mainly three ways to mount your managed switches: rack-mounted, wall-mounted and desk-mounted. For rack-mounting, you only need to attach two L-shaped brackets to both sides of the switch and fix them on the rack. For wall mounting, you need to attach the screw template to the wall and tighten the screws to secure the mount. Place the managed PoE switch onto the mounting screws, and slide it down until it locks in place. For desk mounting, you only need to place it on a table and remember to attach four rubber pads on the bottom to avoid any scratches on the table. Use a chassis if available. 

How to Connect Wireless Smart Devices to the PoE Switch? 

Considering that some smart devices are made wireless, you’ll need to use a Zigbee hub to broadcast the traffic wirelessly. Zigbee is a global wireless communication standard designed to enable the control and monitoring of connected devices. It connects all compatible devices, allowing them to communicate with each other and be controlled through a single interface. The Zigbee hub is an excellent alternative to a WiFi router for some applications, including low-power devices that do not require much bandwidth, such as smart home sensors.

R7 Zigbee Wired Hub

Thanks to its multiple radios, it can connect to a huge number of low-power smart home devices. Different automation can be saved on the Zigbee hub so you can control your lights, lights and door locks at specific times or at specific events without your smartphone. It can communicate with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control smart devices with voice commands when you’re away. And it can work with dual-band routers (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) with no problem. But since it’s a non-PoE device, to connect the Zigbee hub on the managed PoE switch, you’ll need the help of a PoE splitter. 

Gigabit PoE Splitter with a 5V Output

This Gigabit PoE splitter is a cost-effective solution to power a non-PoE device by splitting PoE from a unified network cable and delivering power and data through separate connections. It often works with a PoE switch or a PoE injector to power non-PoE devices in hard-to-reach areas where is hard to find a power outlet, eliminating the need for additional AC wiring. This PoE splitter can supply a maximum power of 20W to the non-PoE device on a regulated power output of 5V DC, which makes it ideal for use with our R7 Zigbee wired hub. Moreover, it also supports 1500V high voltage isolation to prevent the transfer of high or hazardous voltages between circuits and secure a safe connection between devices.