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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The use of fiber optics has expanded greatly in the past decade. It’s simpler, more economical, and allows for greater distances when designing a network for IP cameras. Fiber optic cabling is a cost-effective solution normally used in surveillance systems, especially in IP camera systems, where a fast-speed network is highly needed to secure real-time, round-the-clock monitoring 365 days. Since the fiber optic cables carry a speed of at least 1Gbps, they can allow signals to be sent over distances measured in kilometers.
It can carry information at a higher throughput than copper wires in the same amount of time. And the transmission speed of fiber optics could reach 10 Gbps or more. It only suffers 3% signal loss over a distance beyond 100 meters compared to 94% in PoE cabling. By providing up to two miles of distance, you can easily overcome the geographical limit of PoE transmission with one single pull. And its huge bandwidth can easily support any IP camera’s video output. Moreover, because of its low attenuation and immunity to EMI or RFI, the maximum uptime and details can be preserved, which is extremely important for mission-critical applications. But a common problem when deploying a fiber optic network is that since the fiber optic cable doesn’t carry any electrical signal, an additional power source is often required to power the cameras.
But installing new electrical infrastructures can be a huge investment. You’ve to hire a skilled electrician to wire and install the outlet if your understanding and skills cannot suffice the job. The question is: “Is there any method to combine high-performance, low-latency fiber optic connectivity with a low-voltage DC power connection into one single system?” In this article, we’ll introduce several ways to build a Power over Fiber network system for your IP cameras and other applications where remote power and network connectivity are required.
What’s Power over Fiber System?
Power over Fiber (PoF) is a novel power delivery system that uses optic fibers to power electrical and electronic devices remotely. The employment of the PoF technology not only helps you overcome the distance limit of traditional copper cabling but also provides a complete power and data solution platform for IP devices. Fiber optic connections are an excellent substitute for CAT cable systems in long-distance deployments when the distance between two network devices exceeds the maximum transmission distance of Ethernet cables. What’s more, by delivering power and data simultaneously to the powered devices (PD), such as IP cameras, wireless access points and smart sensors, the installation and labor costs can be significantly reduced. And there are basically three ways to deliver power over fiber: 1) using a PoE media converter; 2) running power cables in parallel with fiber cables; 3) deploying a photovoltaic power converter.
PoE Media Converter: Inject PoE Power into Fiber Link
The Power over Fiber system greatly simplifies the installation, powering, and communication of network devices. And one of the most direct ways is to deploy a PoE media converter to inject the PoE power into the fiber optic link. It’s versatile and flexible and can maximize functionality at an affordable cost. It allows you to redesign your existing cable structures and expand your network over its current capabilities to support a fast and robust network speed. Fastcabling has launched a Waterproof Industrial Hardened Grade Fiber PoE Media Converter (IP67) to help you install the IP cameras over long distances with superb reliability. Compliant with PoE+ standards, it can provide a maximum power of 30W to a PD located 100 meters away.
PoE media converters can not only be used to create an Ethernet-to-Fiber link between two dissimilar media (i.e. fiber optic cables and twisted pairs) but also act as power sourcing equipment (PSE) to provide power to the connected PD. Like other fiber media converters, it’s designed to convert the electrical signals used in traditional unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) wires to the optical signals used in fiber optic cables. And its high-bandwidth features help sustain smooth video streaming (4K, 60fps with very little compression) and high-resolution recording over long distances. The PoE media converter provides an effective way to extend the transmission distance up to 10 kilometers with high-performance data networking and an uninterruptible power supply.
How to Use a PoE Media Converter?
The PoE media converter is a plug-and-play network device that can be easily removed and relocated without taking the entire system offline. Each PoE media converter has a DC or AC input, a fiber port and a PoE output. The fiber optic cable can be run long-distance from the central switch to the PoE media converter. And based on how it transmits data, the PoE media converters can be either single-mode or multi-mode. In the single-mode PoE media converter, light signals can only be transmitted in one direction, which highly reduces attenuation, while the multi-mode PoE media converter can transmit data in two or more directions but it will generate higher light dispersion and authentication rates.
Moreover, to realize fiber-to-copper conversion, the PoE media converter often works with an SFP module. The small form-factor pluggable (SFP) is a compact, hot-swappable transceiver used for data communication applications over either fiber optic or copper to facilitate seamless conversion of Ethernet signals into optical signals. SFP modules are made to support single-mode and multi-mode fibers at network range anywhere from 1 kilometer to 100 km. The SFP modules are mainly classified based on their speed capabilities. Most SFP modules can at least support a network speed of 1 Gigabit.
The devices required for the installation are a fiber switch, a PoE media converter, two BiDi SFP modules, an IP camera, a fiber optic cable and an Ethernet cable. First, you need to insert one BiDi SFP module into the SFP port of the PoE media converter and another SFP module into the fiber optic switch. Then, connect the PoE media converter and the fiber optic switch using the fiber optic cable. Next, plug an Ethernet cable into the RJ45 port of the PoE media converter and connect the other end of the cable to the IP camera. In addition, since the IP cameras are often scattered in different locations, to eliminate the number of cables used, you can also daisy-chain multiple PoE media converters together to create a hop-to-hop fiber link along parking lots, rail lines or highways. Also, you can create a redundant fiber link by wiring the last media converter back to the central switch in a Token Ring configuration to reduce packet collision and minimizes data loss over long distances. So even if a fiber link is shut down, the IP camera will continue to send the video to the failover fiber link.
How to Power PoE Media Converter if There’s No Local Power Source?
The solar power system allows you to install a camera in remote locations, extremely helpful for applications such as oil and gas, construction sites, parking lots, remote gates and ranches, where there’s no power present. These are the basic components you will need to solar power your security camera: a solar panel, a solar charge controller and a rechargeable battery. Place the solar panel in a location where it will not be in shade for shading of even a small part of the panel can result in low power generation. To figure out how much energy your solar panel can produce, you need to know the amount of peak sunlight hours your location gets. And you’ll need a solar charge controller to control the amount of charge coming in and out of the battery and regulate the optimum performance of the battery. Fastcabling has launched a 10A Solar Charge Controller to help you set up a solar-powered network in remote places. It can work with a 12-24V battery to supply power to the electrical loads long distances. It comes with a fanless design, covered in an IP68 waterproof rugged metal housing, featuring a wide operating temperature range of -30℃ to 70℃. Since the entire power required to run the IP cameras is drawn from the battery, make sure the battery you use has a large storage capacity and features fast charging for continuous monitoring and recording.
Sending Power in Parallel with Fiber
For mission-critical applications like IP security cameras, an uninterruptible power supply is essential to secure 24/7 surveillance for targeted places. But as we previously mentioned, in hard-to-reach places, chances are higher that power won’t necessarily be present every time. In this scenario, the power must be run from the control center to the desired location. To power the remote cameras, you can run a separate power cable in parallel with a fiber optic cable to transmit power and data simultaneously to the edge devices. The separation of data and power allows the copper cable to deliver power to the higher output with less power loss and voltage drop over greater distances. But given the technical difficulties in actual deployments, such a solution is more favorable for a distance of fewer than 2 kilometers.
Why Not Choose Powered Fiber Cable?
The powered fiber cable combines power and fiber into one single cable that fits in a standard electrical conduit. It can be installed in many applications such as wireless infrastructures, WiFi hotspots and surveillance systems. With the powered fiber cable solution, you can deliver reliable fiber optic signals to and from devices to the camera with low-voltage DC power from a centralized source or backup UPS. The powered fiber cable enables the connection of any number of remote PDs (IP cameras for example) without the need for new conduits and bulky extra cable runs. The copper conductors for power can typically range from 12 to 20 AWG. With larger conductors, the powered fiber cable is capable of carrying more power over greater distances to drive up to 20-30 devices simultaneously. But if you only need to power 1 or 2 cameras at the edge, you can feel free to choose one with a smaller conductor. And the transmission distance of a powered fiber cable can reach up to 30 times longer than that of a CAT cable. Even though hybrid cables cut down on double installation time, their biggest disadvantage is that if the fiber is broken, you have to take down the entire system to fix it, which highly increases network downtime. Moreover, you lose a lot of lightweight advantage, noise immunity and so forth. And the powered fiber cable is more expensive in the per-meter unit. Many people will buy a box of fiber and copper wires, take them out at the same time and pay less, and they are not that easy to install. They are harder to pull and subject to micro bends since copper and fiber support different tensile strengths while pulling a separate cable for power is way easier to pull it through a conduit.
Mixing Fiber and Power Lines in Aerial Deployments
For aerial building, you’ll need to wire the aerial fiber optic cables (specially designed for outside plant installation) between poles by being lashed to a wire rope messenger strand with a small gauge wire. But building new poles is costly and geographically challenging, which is only recommended for professional, large-scale network deployments. When installing fiber cables close to power lines and to cope with extreme weather conditions such as wind, ice and snow in outdoor deployments, you’re supposed to use All-Dielectric Self Supporting (ADSS) cables which have excellent resistance to electricity. ADSS cables are designed to withstand very high-tension loads, enabling them to be installed with long spans between supports, up to 1 km in some cases. Because they can be placed on power transmission lines, it allows the exiting poles to be reused, which helps bring down the costs and speed up the deployment as there’s no need to install new poles. However, wind can be a serious concern since vibration can lead to potential damage over the long term. But this can be easily solved by installing anti-vibration dampers.
Aerial fiber optic cable installation is complicated and very time-consuming, so you have to make sure you have a properly trained crew. Before the installation, you have to plan the cable route to ensure that the way is free of obstacles like guy wires and trees. Self-supporting cables like ADSS do not require a messenger strand during aerial installation. You can place ADSS cables using either the moving reel or stationary reel technique. The dead-end poles can not only serve as the anchor points for a messenger strand at the beginning and endpoints of a fiber optic cable but also can act as supports. You can fit the messenger strand to dead-end poles using dead-end fittings that maintain the span’s tensile loading. Also, Fastcabling has introduced an upgraded version of the Fiber Termination Box that supports both fiber and power management to deliver power and data to the IP cameras at the same time. Encapsulated in a rugged metal housing (IP68-rated and impact-resistant), it’s equipped with several LC fiber adapters to arrange the fiber cables in an orderly manner. A removable splice tray is also located to accommodate fused fibers. Additionally, the power output is totally manageable to accommodate different sizes of power cables.
Can I Run Fiber in the Same Conduit with Power?
It is known that the data cable is not advisable to share the same conduit with the power cable to avoid any unnecessary data transmission interference. However, there are no interference problems with fiber optic cables and power cables as long as the fiber is not metal covered. Because fiber uses light waves for data transmission, the electromagnetic fields from power cables will have no impact on signals within the fiber. But there is another concern you need to consider. Fiber optic cables are easily damaged and are not particularly heat-resistant, so when it’s exposed to extreme temperatures, their performance diminishes. It is normal that the power cables overheat because wires are not perfect conductors. When an electrical current passes through a power cable, it’ll encounter DC resistance, and this produces heat. It is possible that a fault on the power cables could damage your fiber. Other types of conductors (power cables) could damage some of the fiber conductors as well as the bend radius for fiber cables. Another concern is the dielectric strength of the fiber optic cable. More or less, high-voltage electrical cables might induce currents in the jackets of conventional fiber optic cables and cause them to break prematurely. Therefore, from an installation and maintenance standpoint, it’s probably preferable to distribute fiber and power in different conduits.
Convert Light Signals to Power with a Photovoltaic Converter
The photovoltaic converter is a high-end device used to convert light (laser) to electricity to deliver power from point A to point B without having conductors in between. This prevents installers from running separate data and power pathways to each necessary location. Non-conducting fiber cables (based on glass fibers or plastics) can be installed where high electric voltages occur. And during normal operation, the laser light is fully confined in the fiber, and there is no risk for nearby people. And you can eliminate lots of issues in the traditional electrical system like grounding in a marine environment. This solution eliminates the possibility of explosion and leak, and since it’s immune to lightning, moisture and extreme temperatures, outdoor camera deployments will become safer even in adverse conditions. There is no risk that lightning strokes can be transmitted via the cable to the connected cameras. Furthermore, Interference like crosstalk, EMI, and electric & magnetic fields can also be significantly reduced.
How Does the Photovoltaic Power Converter Work?
The basic configuration of PoF system comprises three key components: light source, fiber optic cables and photovoltaic power converters. It is able to provide true isolated power to a remote location utilizing laser light at the power transmitter and the transmitter unit contains two high-power laser diodes and one fiber receiver for signal feedback. On the receiving end, the PoF receiver card has at least one fiber ST photovoltaic power converter and one fiber ST transmitter. When the light is sent through a fiber optic cable and travels to the remote devices, the photovoltaic power converter/receiver will convert the laser back into electricity of the same style that needs it to be at the remote location. The remote location device will deploy super capacitors to guarantee that a smooth and constant voltage is supplied to the remotely powered devices like the IP cameras. The PoF receiver card will also transmit an optical signal to the power transmitter unit for voltage monitoring in case of outrage in fiber continuity. And nowadays, it’s capable of sending up to 30 to 60 watts of power to the remote cameras with low power consumption.
How to Install the Photovoltaic Converter?
For the installation, you’ll need a fiber cable path between the transmitter and receiver and an instant power source for powering the transmitter. The transmitter will indicate an alarm condition when the DC output from the receiver card is off. If any trouble arises, it’ll verify all copper and fiber connections, and signal and voltage levels. You need to connect a fiber optic cable to the transmitter and connect the unit to power. And connect the transmitter to an alarm, so if the power is off, you can still get an immediate notification. Then, insert the receiver card into the card housing via the card guide rails and retainer clip. For higher power or voltage applications like the PTZ cameras, the receiver cards can be connected in series or parallel to boost up the energy. Next, connect the transmitter and the receiver with the fiber optic link. Beware the fiber cable must be connected directly from the transmitter unit to the receiver card with no patches or splices in between. And ensure that the transmitter is not turned off until the whole system is set up. Then, connect the power to the PoF receiver card. After charging, the receiver card will provide a voltage to the connected load, and even if the connection to the transmitter is cut off, it can still remain powered for 3 minutes.
In IP surveillance, a PoE switch has always been the standard way to install the cameras. By using a PoE switch, power and data can be delivered simultaneously to the connected devices on the same network cabling, eliminating the need to install new electrical infrastructures. You can also connect multiple IP cameras back to the NVR using only one Ethernet cable. But it has a limited distance capacity, about 100 meters, which highly limits its applications in long-distance deployments. In recent years, optic fiber connectivity has now emerged as a primary media in camera installation. Installing security cameras with fiber cabling is a good way to go beyond the limitations of Ethernet cabling, with which you can easily extend the distance to 40 kilometers over a single cable run. To understand how it’s possible, read the full post below to know how to install the IP security cameras with fiber switches.
Why Use Fiber-Optic Connections?
At long transmission distances, fiber connections are a cost-efficient complement to twisted-pair cabling. The fiber optic link allows for cable runs of over 10 kilometers, which is normally beyond the reach of coax and UTP cabling. The benefits of fiber cabling are making it a common choice for IP surveillance.
1. High-Performance Data Networking
When building a high-speed network that requires long distances and higher bandwidth, there is no question: fiber optic cables are obviously the best solution. Fiber optic connection has a world-renowned reputation for long-distance and high-performance data networking due to its inherent advantages as an uninterruptible information carrier. It can carry information at a higher throughput than copper wires in the same amount of time. And the transmission speed of fiber optics could reach 10 Gbps or more. It only suffers 3% signal loss over a distance beyond 100 meters compared to 94% in PoE cabling. And the fiber optic cable’s smaller size maximizes pathway and space use compared to other types of media, making it a great idea for routing inside and outside buildings into surveillance and monitoring cameras.
2. Long-Range Installation with Low Cost
As we previously mentioned, the fiber network can carry the signals over long distances over a single cable run with only very little signal degradation, while in the twisted-pair cabling, signals need to be amplified several times over the same distance. You have to install multiple PoE extenders or signal boosters on the line, which will generate a higher cost. Although fiber optic cables are more expensive per meter than copper cables, they can better withstand extreme temperatures, water/dust ingress, shocks and vibration, chemical exposure, etc. And the fiber optic network we install today will be able to handle the increased demand for more bandwidth in the future. It’s highly future-proof technology that requires little maintenance, which makes it a worthwhile investment in the long run.
3. Higher Security and Reliability
With the increased attention to cyber security, fiber-optic communication is obviously a more cost-effective way to improve your Internet security. Intercepting data transmissions will be incredibly difficult. Since it is a dielectric medium that is immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), there will be no egress signals that can be tapped, and any physical tapping on the fiber cables will be immediately noticed and reported. Ans it’s also easy to identify compromised cables by light breaches. Moreover, fiber also supports a higher level of reliability since it doesn’t carry an electric current, while old and worn copper cables would present a fire hazard.
Integrate Fiber Cabling Into Security Camera System
A fiber-based security camera system is composed of three parts: the sending side, fiber optic cables and the receiving side.
The Sending Side
On the sending side of the system is the IP camera which constantly sends the video signals and other data in the digital format to the NVR. But since the fiber cable can only accept optical signals, a media converter often needs to be installed to convert the electrical signals utilized in copper cabling to light waves used for fiber optic cabling so as to implement and optimize fiber links in existing cable infrastructure. The media converter normally has one or two SFP ports into which the SFP module can be inserted to allow you to adjust the existing network without having to redesign the entire cable infrastructure.
Fiber Optic Cables
Because of its light-propagating characteristics, the fiber optic cable carries the video signals over long distances to the control center or NVR. Since fiber features high tensile strength and light weight, it’ll be much easier to pull the cables over extended distances. The length of the fiber cable can range from 100 meters to 40 kilometers to satisfy the specific requirement of every kind of network without any severe reduction in signal strength. And based on the operational requirements, the type of fiber cables may differ, from single-mode to multi-mode, from simplex to duplex, and from field-terminated to factory/pre-terminated.
The Receiving Side
On the other side of the camera system is another set of media converter and SFP module that converts the optical signals back to electrical signals that the receiver end can understand and decipher. But if you need to install multiple cameras at a time, you can also deploy a fiber switch or a network switch (the one that comes with one or two SFP ports) on the control center. And it can provide centralized management for your network, which greatly simplifies error identification and troubleshooting. And for video recording, an NVR needs to be set up to store the captured footage.
Components You’ll Need for IP Camera Installation
Here, we’ve listed some essential components you’ll need when installing IP security cameras over fiber optic cabling.
1. Fiber Optic Switch
The fiber optic switch is a telecommunication device that uses fiber optic cables and optical modules to send and receive data between different networked devices. Compared with the traditional network switch, the network speed has been greatly lifted by using fiber Internet. Thanks to the fiber optic switch, network congestion is no longer a problem. All the signals and data can almost be transmitted and received at the same time, featuring a symmetrical upload and download speed. The increased bandwidth capacity and security also enhance the efficiency of data transmission. Moreover, by using the fiber optic switch, you can create a more organized system of signal delivery to manage multiple cameras at a time.
2. Media Converter
The media converter is often utilized to create a connection between dissimilar media types (i.e. fiber optic cables and twisted pairs) by converting optical signals into electrical signals, and vice versa. It offers a cost-effective solution to extend or repurpose the existing network infrastructure. It is used in various scenarios other than the surveillance system, ranging from building access controls to campus LANs and governmental projects. Based on its features and capabilities, the media converter can be divided into different types:
1) Non-PoE and PoE Media Converters
The non-PoE media converter only provides data connections for the connected device, while the PoE media converter can enable distance extension over fiber optic cabling for PoE-powered devices like IP cameras, wireless access points, etc., which are located in inaccessible areas to broadband networks. The PoE media converter helps users create a hassle-free Fiber-Ethernet connection over long cable runs. When connected to a local power source, it’ll simultaneously deliver both power and data to the connected device.
2) Commercial vs Industrial Media Converters
The commercial media converter is designed for use in a climate-controlled environment (0 ~ 40°C) like an office or control center. However, the industrial media converter has good resistance to extreme temperatures (-40 to 85°C), vibrations, electrical noises, chemicals and combustible environments, etc. The industrial media converters are equipped with redundant power supplies and rugged enclosures, supporting both Din-Rail and rack mounting. They are ideal for use in factory automation, oil and mining, public transportation, etc.
3) Standalone vs Chassis-based Media Converters
The stand-alone media converter that comes in a compact size, is easier to deploy and usually used in space-constrained applications like a distribution box, while the chassis-based media converter is designed for high-density network connections used in enterprises, large data centers and campus networks. For better management, a number of standalone media converters are installed in a chassis that comes with its own power supply. And each media converter can be easily removed or disabled.
3. SFP Module
The small form-factor pluggable (SFP) is a compact, hot-swappable transceiver used for data communication applications over either fiber optic or copper to facilitate seamless conversion of Ethernet signals into optical signals. SFP modules are made to support single-mode and multi-mode fibers at network range anywhere from 1 kilometer to 100 km. The SFP modules are mainly classified based on their speed capabilities. Most SFP modules can at least support a transmission speed of 1 Gigabit to facilitate high-speed network communication.
4. Pre-terminated Fiber Optic Cables
The pre-terminated fiber cables are made at a pre-defined length and pre-terminated with connectors. They are undeniable of higher quality, feature minimum insertion loss and provide more reliable performance in mission-critical applications that demand the highest level of accuracy, like the IP security camera system. These cables feature a plug-and-play design and can be easily deployed and disassembled, cutting deployment time by at least 70%-80%, and they also make a great choice for disaster recovery situations. For distances within 2 km, you can choose the multi-mode fibers, but if you want to extend the distance beyond 2 km, then the single-mode fiber optic cables will be a more suitable choice.
5. Fiber Termination Box
As the number of connected devices increases, the distribution and management of fiber cables become more and more difficult. To address this problem, the fiber termination box is developed to manage the incoming and outgoing cables. It offers a cost-effective method to organize multiple strands of fiber cables in a budget-friendly way. Considering fiber optic cables are more susceptible to physical damages caused by bending, folding or pinching than copper cables, extra protection is needed to facilitate better installation and operation.
How to Install IP Cameras with Fiber Switches?
One of the reasons why fiber has become so popular in IP surveillance systems is that the fiber optic cable is hard to tap and jam, which makes it perfect for applications where security is the top priority. Before the installation, you have to choose the best location for your IP cameras from where they can easily cover the whole area you want to monitor.
1. Fiber Optic Cable Preparation
To set up an Ethernet-Fiber link for the IP camera system, the fiber optic cables should be installed in place before the installation. Although fiber is an extremely durable and strong material——most fiber cables can support a pull strength of 45-90 kg thanks to the Kevlar strength member, several practices should be followed to ensure a successful connection.
How to Install the Pre-terminated Fiber Cables?
Most pre-terminated fiber cables come with a pulling eye design that prevents the cable from twisting during cable pulling and speeds up the installation in narrow terrains like conduits, ducts, risers, etc. Then, the next step is to connect the pulling eye to a fastener and add some lubricant to the pulling socket to reduce the pulling load and the chance of breakage, but the lubricant should be compatible with the outer jacket. During cable pulling, remember not to exceed the cable bend radius. Only two 90-degree bends are allowed at a single pull, and the bend radius should be greater than 20 times the cable diameter. But if you want to divide a long pull into several shorter pulls, you should lay the cable in a figure 8 pattern, so the loose end can always be on the top when being pulled to the next section so as to prevent the cable from twisting. And the last step is to connect both ends of the fiber optic cable to the distribution boxes located at the control center and the job site.
How to Install the Field-terminated Fiber Cables?
The main difference when deploying pre-terminated and field-terminated cables is how to apply them in the fiber termination box. The former is a plug-and-play and ready-to-use device that you can connect directly to the optical adapter on the termination box, while the latter needs to be splicing, polishing, etc., which involves a more complicated installation process. Now, follow the tutorial below to complete the termination: a. you need to prepare the cable for placing in the box: strip off the outer jacket, remove the Kevlar fibers and peal off the central tube; b. next, you need to determine the length of the fiber and splice it with LC pigtails, protect the connection with a plastic tube and heat the protection sleeve; c. last, you need to terminate the cable on the reserve loop on the box and connect the fiber pigtails to the optical adapters on the box.
2. Media Conversion between Ethernet and Fiber
Once the fiber optic cable is in place, the next step is to complete the conversion between the legacy copper system and the fiber optic infrastructure. Based on your applications, you can choose different types of devices to customize your camera system.
Point-to-Point Fiber Links
Point-to-point (P2P) is a dedicated fiber link that connects two physical locations to each other on a private, high-speed fiber connection. In the point-to-point topology, 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 security camera systems, which makes it easier to troubleshoot faulty cameras without taking the entire system offline.
Solution 1: Fiber Optic Switch plus Chassis-based Media Converters
For applications that require a medium to large-scale deployment of IP security cameras, such as enterprise and campus environments where multiple points of copper-to-fiber conversion are required, a chassis-based media converter system can provide a centralized platform to manage your IP cameras and simplify network administration and monitoring in long-range applications. For high-density network deployments, you can insert up to 19 media converters into a single 2U chassis. Moreover, all media converters can share a common power source, which highly reduces the cost of installing new electrical infrastructures. Once inserted, the media converter will be automatically powered up and can be easily removed or re-inserted in another slot as your deployment changes. And, the dual power supply designs also enable you to optimize power supply and resource allocation. You can provide more than enough power for a fully loaded system and ensure continuous operation even if one power source fails.
The devices required for the installation are a fiber switch, chassis-based media converters, multiple BiDi SFP modules, IP cameras, fiber optic cables and Ethernet cables.
a. Insert one BiDi SFP module into the SFP port of one media converter and another SFP module into the SFP port of the fiber optic 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.
How to Power the IP Cameras?
The biggest challenge when deploying a fiber optic link is to power the edge devices since fiber optic cables don’t carry electricity during the transmission. The most direct and easiest way to power your cameras is using power adapters. But you need to pay close attention to the maximum power your IP cameras can receive and choose the compatible power adapter accordingly since the voltage tolerance of every network device varies. But you can also run a power cable in parallel with the fiber optic link to transmit power and data simultaneously to the edge devices when the distance is less than 2 km. But you need to lay them in different conduits since high-voltage electrical cables can and will induce currents on conventional fiber cable sheaths and cause them to break down prematurely.
Solution 2: Fiber Optic Switch plus Stand-alone PoE Media Converters
In carrying out a point-to-point fiber optic link, one of the biggest challenges is the power supply. Since the fiber optic cable does not deliver electrical signals over the data cable, you have to power the cameras with an additional power source. But the PoE media converter provides an effective way to extend the transmission distance up to 10 kilometers with high-performance data networking via the fiber optic cable. Moreover, it is also an ideal solution to power network devices directly via the UTP cabling. And the maximum distance between it and the cameras can reach 100 meters, which helps you eliminate the need of installing extra power outlets and electrical cabling on the job site. By using the PoE media converter, you can seamlessly integrate the cameras into the single-mode fiber network. And this device can also be deployed in a network star topology to create a point-to-point connection between the server and client. In this application, the IP cameras can be deployed throughout a large area.
Before the installation, you should prepare the following devices: a fiber switch, a PoE media converter, two BiDi SFP modules, an IP camera, a fiber optic cable and an Ethernet cable.
a. Insert one BiDi SFP module into the SFP port of the PoE media converter and another SFP module into the SFP port of the fiber optic switch.
b. Connect one end of the pre-installed fiber optic cable to the SFP module on the PoE media converter and the other end to the switch.
c. Plug an Ethernet cable into the RJ45 port of the PoE media converter and connect the other end of the cable to the IP camera.
Solution 3: Fiber Optic Switch plus PoE Switch with one SFP Port
By deploying a PoE switch, you can connect multiple IP cameras to one switch and use only a fiber optic cable to transmit the video data back to the central hub, which is ideal for large-scale camera installation. But you have to make sure each PoE switch has at least one SFP port to which it can connect to the upstream fiber switch. In this way, you can deliver both power and data to the IP cameras and other devices that accept PoE power. Moreover, by using a managed PoE switch, you can also control and monitor the traffic coming out of each PoE port and configures certain PoE ports to low priority during low activity periods. But you have to make sure the PoE switch can provide the required power for each PoE port and that its total power budget can support all the cameras you plan to plug in.
For the installation, you’ll need a fiber switch, a PoE switch with one SFP port, two BiDi SFP modules, multiple IP cameras, a fiber optic cable and some Ethernet cables.
a. Insert one BiDi SFP module into one of the SFP ports of the fiber optic switch and another SFP module into the SFP port of the PoE switch.
b. Use the fiber optic cable to connect the fiber optic switch and the PoE switch.
c. Plug an Ethernet cable into the RJ45 port of the PoE switch and connect the other end of the cable to the IP camera, and repeat this step to set up the other cameras.
Daisy-Chain and Ring Topologies
PoE media converters or PoE switches that support multiple-port configurations can be daisy-chained to set up a hop-to-hop fiber link along parking lots, rail lines, pipelines or highways. In this way, the cables used for camera installation can be highly reduced. Also, you can create a redundant fiber link by linking the last media converters back to the central fiber switch in a Token Ring configuration. The PoE media converters can be connected to each other in a circular format where data is transmitted in sequence, which greatly reduces packet collision and minimizes data loss over long distances. Even if a fiber link is shut down, the IP camera will continue to send the video data over the failover fiber link, which is ideal for mission-critical applications that require extra attention.
To set up a redundant fiber link over long distances, you’ll need a fiber switch, PoE media converters (with at least two SFP ports), BiDi SFP modules, multiple IP cameras, fiber optic cables and Ethernet cables.
a. Insert one BiDi SFP module into one of the SFP ports of the fiber optic switch and another two SFP modules into the SFP ports of each PoE media converter.
b. Use the fiber cable to connect the fiber optic switch and the first PoE media converter.
c. Use another fiber optic cable to connect the first PoE media converter to the next PoE media converter. Repeat this step until all the media converters are daisy-chained.
d. Connect the last PoE media converter to the fiber switch.
e. Plug an Ethernet cable into the RJ45 port of the PoE media converter and connect the other end of the cable to the IP camera, and repeat this step to set up the other cameras.
3. Fiber Switch to NVR Connection
The NVR is used to record and store the video data and interconnect all the IP cameras under the same network video system. After the installation, you’ll need to connect the fiber optic switch to an NVR using the UTP cabling. But if you need to monitor the cameras from a remote location or if the upload speed is critical for you, then you’re required to connect these two devices with the fiber optic link. Moreover, you can store your footage via a cloud-based storage service to access your camera streams and videos anywhere, anytime.
The importance of IP security cameras to homes and businesses cannot be stressed enough. They have helped a lot in deterring theft and crimes, collecting information about suspicious activities and providing continuous surveillance over your properties at all hours. In case a theft does occur, the recordings of the security camera can serve as strong evidence against criminals. A company must realize the importance of the IP camera system due to a recent run of break-ins. The IP cameras ensure the safety of employees, the confidentiality of information, etc. By continuously transmitting live or recorded footage to the central base, the IP cameras allow you to know what happens in real time and make informed decisions. With the increasing availability of IP cameras in one’s properties, the need for centralized management has become more urgent than ever.
3 Things to Know about Using PoE for IP Security Cameras
PoE is the best solution to realize centralized power and data management for IP surveillance. It’s extremely useful in the security camera system because the Ethernet cable is cheaper and easier to run than coaxial cabling. In addition to the ease of cable running, PoE can support cameras of higher resolution to offer improved video quality.
Running multiple cables to your security cameras can be a real pain. An IP security camera needs at least two connections for working properly: one Ethernet cable to carry data, and one power cable to carry electrical currents to power the device, but running two cables for each camera can get expensive and time-consuming. Imagine how many cables you will need to handle if there are 8-16 cameras installed on your properties. And here’s where PoE steps in. Unlike the traditional cabling solutions, PoE can provide power and Internet connection to your cameras simultaneously using only one Ethernet cable, which has greatly reduced the amount of infrastructure you need to handle.
Is PoE Technology Safe?
From the technical perspective, PoE is a mature technology that has been developed for years. It is a hot-swappable technology that helps networks stay resilient while IT troubleshoots. The faulty device can be disconnected easily without taking the entire system offline, reducing network downtime and making disaster recovery faster than ever. Moreover, PoE injected in a cable normally is well kept at a voltage of 48V DC, which is reasonably safe for most people under normal conditions.
And because of the way it works, PoE (the one compliant with IEEE802.3 standards) is built to be inherently safe. The power sourcing equipment (PSE) will send a low-voltage current to the powered device (PD) before any power is delivered to check whether the device supports PoE or not. If there is no PD connected or there is no negotiation between the PSE and PD, there’ll be no power delivered. Once the connection is established, the PSE will determine how much power the PD requires and monitor the amount of current being sent. If the current goes too high or too low, the connection will be immediately shut down. However, power is being supplied 24/7 in a standard AC outlet regardless of whether the device is connected.
What’s the Advantage of PoE?
PoE is a revolutionary technology that provides a reliable network connection for devices, such as security cameras, access points and IP intercoms. And PoE also brings a multitude of benefits to new installations and system updates.
Simple cabling, reduced installation cost
The most obvious advantage when deploying PoE is that the number of wires that should be connected is highly reduced. As previously mentioned, each camera now only requires one cable for both power and data transmission, which greatly simplifies and reduces the cost of installation. Moreover, PoE eliminates the need for hiring professional electricians to install new electrical systems and outlets. And the camera can also be located up to 100 meters from the PSE, which is a great help in outdoor surveillance, where the optimal camera placement is seldom close to a power source.
Higher level of reliability, scalability
When deploying IP cameras for safety and security reasons, most people use PoE to ensure a reliable connection. When using PoE, you have a unified and cohesive power source instead of relying on multiple power adapters. You can also choose to create an uninterruptible power supply to ensure that the camera continues to operate even in the event of a power outage. It provides a significantly more reliable power and network connection that won’t easily damage or deteriorate over years of use. PoE is constantly evolving to support new types of devices with higher power requirements. It can handle a growing amount of work and a larger network system. It has greater potential to be amplified to accommodate growth and ensure overall productivity is maintained.
Easier installation and reduced maintenance
PoE is basically a plug-and-play technology that you can completely do it yourself and set it up within minutes. You can easily connect and disconnect the camera and move it to another location to adapt to your security requirements. And since fewer devices are required for the setup, the installation time can be cut down by at least 30%. Moreover, by reducing the amount of cabling and hardware, there’s less maintenance required in a PoE camera system than the traditional DVR system. It uses false protection to prevent any possibility of damage to the equipment in the event of a malfunction. The PSE will shut down the power supply if an overcurrent or short circuit is detected.
PoE Switches – Elevate Your System to New Heights
The PoE switch is one of the most significant innovations in PoE networking to deliver power and data safely and efficiently to devices like IP cameras, NVR recorders, etc., which greatly simplifies your network deployment in hard-to-reach places. So you don’t need to worry if there are enough power adapters nearby. It provides centralized power management for all cameras. Since the power to all IP cameras is delivered from a single power source, continued surveillance is guaranteed and the network is uptime preserved. The PoE switch can connect multiple cameras to the NVR for video recording, and it also helps a lot in problem diagnosis and troubleshooting. It features a fast and user-friendly installation that can be easily managed by average families and small and medium-sized businesses.
Why Use PoE Switches for IP Camera Systems?
Here, we have listed three main reasons why PoE switches should be considered mandatory for IP camera surveillance and other mission-critical applications.
Intelligent and centralized management
Adopting PoE switches for IP surveillance to deliver both power and data to the remote cameras is a cost-effective and time-saving solution. By using the PoE switch, you can The LED indicators on the PoE switch can display the operational status of each IP camera in real-time. For example, if an IP camera goes offline, the PoE switch can immediately alert the administrator, who will assign another camera to cover the area. In addition, the PoE switch can detect how much power is required by the camera and provide the right amount of power to that load to ensure optimal power distribution.
Greater flexibility for camera placement
In most cases, you will need to install security cameras in different strategic locations for full coverage of your property. Unlike the traditional cabling over coax, where there are fewer options for locating cameras because each camera must be tethered to the nearest power source, PoE cameras can be placed anywhere they can reach via Ethernet cabling, giving you more control over where to place your cameras. And you can scale your system faster. Also, if a camera needs to be taken down or moved to a new location, you can simply move the cable without taking other cameras or devices offline to ensure continuous recording.
Quick troubleshooting and remote monitoring
Some PoE switches can also provide advanced features like auto-recovery to allow you to monitor the real-time status of your cameras remotely. When the communication fails, the corresponding PoE port will automatically detect and reboot any frozen, non-responding IP camera, and restore network communication by itself, without having to send a technician out to the camera’s location and checking the IP cameras one by one on-site. In addition, this process can even be scheduled to occur at pre-determined intervals to ensure the optimal operational status of your cameras, which not only helps you reduce operating costs but also the complexity of day-to-day management of your IP camera system.
How to Choose the Right PoE Switch for IP Camera Systems?
There are several factors to consider when choosing a suitable PoE switch for your IP camera system:
1) Port Number
When choosing a PoE switch, it is a good idea to consider in advance how many IP cameras should be installed. In general, the number of ports of a PoE switch largely depends on the number of connected devices and the total power consumption, and based on this, the number can vary from 4 to 64, so all you need to do is to choose a PoE switch with sufficient ports. An 8-port or 16-port PoE switch is normally enough for everyday use, but the larger the network is, the greater number of Ethernet ports you’ll need. Depending on the number of cameras you want to add to your network, you can choose the right PoE switch that meets your needs, but it’s always recommended to choose one with more ports than you actually need to scale the system easily for future expansions. And it is worth mentioning that not all connected devices in your network need a power supply. For example, you don’t need to power the PC, so you can choose a PoE switch with both PoE ports and non-PoE ports if you have both PoE and non-PoE devices on your network.
2) Power Budget
Another important factor to consider is the power budget of a PoE switch. The greater the total wattage that can be supplied by a PoE switch, the more IP cameras can be connected. The power budget directly affects how much power each port can deliver to the connected device. If the total power consumption of your cameras exceeds your switch’s power cap, then the PoE switch won’t provide enough power for all your PoE cameras. And especially when you’re installing power-hungry devices like speed-dome infrared PTZ cameras, more power will be consumed. A PTZ camera normally consumes 30 watts of power for camera operation only, and a separate power source is usually required to power the external heater or blower of the PTZ camera to make it function properly in extreme environments. Therefore, it’s important to understand the power consumption of each PoE camera and provide the proper amount of power to that load.
Maximal Power Supply of a PoE Switch
The total power budget of a PoE switch can vary by manufacturer, but the amount of power that can be forwarded per port is usually pre-determined. PoE can support a maximum power supply of 15.4W at the PSE with the minimum power guaranteed at the PD being 12.95W. However, the IEEE802.3at-compliant PSE can deliver up to 30W on a per-port basis, and the power available at the PD can still remain at 25.5W after 100 meters’ transmission, which is normally enough for powering most types of IP cameras. Moreover, to satisfy the growing power requirements of today’s high-power PTZ cameras, a new-generation PoE standard was finally ratified in 2018 and two new PoE types (PoE+ and Hi-PoE) were developed. It’s the first-generation PoE that implements power over all four twisted pairs of the Ethernet cable and offers the highest power capabilities of all PoE types currently in existence. With PoE+, PSE can provide up to 60W at each port to power each PD with 51W max., while the high-power PoE or Hi-PoE can supply maximum power output of 90W at the PSE and the power available at the PDs is 71.3W using the Cat6e cables.
Rapid Network Expansion with PoE++ Capabilities
Fastcabling has launched an 8-port PoE powered switch that delivers a compact, cost-effective solution for unmanaged network expansion for your IP camera system. The biggest advantage of this PoE switch is that it can accept power from another PSE and require no additional power cabling on the installation site. It is built with 7*10/100/1000Mbps PoE ports and one Gigabit PoE passthrough port. Compliant with IEEE802.3af/at/bt standards, it features a massive power budget of 71W and is able to power different types of IP cameras at once. Each port is equipped with 6kV surge protection to ensure the ongoing functionality of the switch and connected devices. It’s built with a fanless cooling design and can be installed in dusty spaces like ceilings and basements.
3) Bandwidth Capacity
There are different types of PoE switches available in terms of bandwidth capacity – the maximum speed that can be reached. Fast Ethernet PoE switches can give you 10 to 100 Mbps of bandwidth, while Gigabit PoE switches would allow for 1 Gbps, allowing you to install better quality cameras in your system. The average bandwidth consumption of an IP camera is merely 4-5 Mbps, and most IP cameras, even the high-resolution ones, use less than 100Mbps of bandwidth, so a Fast Ethernet PoE switch will suffice the job, but streaming a 2K or 4K camera on YouTube will consume more bandwidth. Additionally, bandwidth usage may vary based on video compression, image quality, video resolution, frame rate per second (FPS), chroma subsampling, number of security cameras, viewing clients, etc. For example, for 4-8 channel IP camera networking with ultra-high-definition 4K, or even 8K video, you must choose a pure Gigabit PoE switch.
4) Unmanaged vs Managed
In determining the best PoE switch for your surveillance goals, it’s critical to consider whether it’s manageable. PoE switches can be divided into managed or unmanaged switches depending on their configurability. The unmanaged PoE switch is a relatively simple plug-and-play device that can’t be modified or managed. The unmanaged switches are normally manufactured with a fixed configuration and with merely no security features. It’s an affordable option for users with limited budgets and for applications where only several cameras need to be installed. However, the managed network switch is a fully-configurable device that is used to manage, monitor and configure the traffic of the LAN. It offers full management capabilities and high-level security features that allow you to prioritize and monitor the traffic coming out of each PoE port and facilitate troubleshooting. It allows the administrators to create new VLANs on the hub to separate the camera network from your main network. But since it’s an enterprise-level switch, professional installation is required.
Optimized Network Traffic
The managed switch helps to prioritize the traffic flow of each network port. It helps you control the traffic of each PoE port to ensure the optimal performance of each camera. For example, the average bandwidth consumption of a fixed camera is merely 4Mpbs (2MP streaming with H.264), while a 4K quality camera will require at least 15Mbps even when streaming with H.265. By using a managed switch, you can easily configure the fixed cameras to low priority so the high-quality cameras can get enough bandwidth to function properly.
More Advanced Features
The managed PoE switch can provide lots of smart services like network monitoring and problem diagnosis to allow you to speed up troubleshooting. Additionally, you can configure the PoE switch to automatically control the supply of power to each port on a timed basis, which is useful for routine camera reboots or to limit surveillance to certain times of the day and week. Moreover, unmanaged PoE switches only provide basic security features but managed 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.
This PoE managed switch can supply a maximum power of 60W on ports#1-4 (30W max. on ports#5-8). It also comes with two Gigabit SFP slots to deliver a fast-speed, low-latency network connection in long-distance applications. Equipped with Layer 3 IPv4 or IPv6 dual-stack and various management functions, this visual PoE++ managed switch helps small businesses to step into the IPv6 networks with the lowest investment. It is loaded with QoS features to prioritize and monitor the traffic coming out of each PoE port. And the enhanced bandwidth management helps a lot in improving user experience and ensuring faster response time, which is particularly useful for enterprise networks.
5) Commercial vs Industrial
Given the different setup requirements in different scenarios, the PoE switches can be further categorized into commercial and industrial-grade PoE switches. The commercial switch has a low tolerance for harsh environments since they are developed for applications in well-controlled settings like offices and campuses. On the other hand, the industrial PoE switch has a natural resistance to vibration, electrical noise, fluctuations in temperature and exposure to chemicals or combustible environments, which makes it an ideal option for uses in factory automation, oil and mining, public transportation projects like intersection traffic monitoring, etc. And normally, the industrial PoE switch uses a fan-less enclosure for heat dissipation, while the commercial one is usually fan-distributed.
This industrial PoE+ switch provides Ethernet connectivity with PoE functions for harsh industrial applications, like security camera surveillance and factory automation. It features four Gigabit Ethernet ports that support IEEE802.3at for a maximum supply of 30W per port and two Gigabit-speed SFP ports to deliver high-performance network connections over long distances. The industrial is housed in a rugged metal case and is both DIN-rail and wall mountable, supporting industrial standard temperatures range from -40°C to 75°C. It accepts dual power inputs and is equipped with an intelligent PD live check (PoE watchdog function) to consistently reboot the cameras when they stop working.
How to Install IP Cameras with a PoE Switch
The camera system only needs a few things to get up and running: IP cameras, a PoE switch, an NVR, a monitor and Ethernet cables. Here are the specific steps to set up the IP cameras:
• Connect the router to the uplink port on the PoE switch using an Ethernet cable;
• Plug the PoE switch into a nearby AC outlet with a power cord;
• Connect the IP cameras to the PoE ports on the PoE switch with Cat5e/6 cables;
• Connect the router to the NVR and add the cameras to the NVR using the mobile app;
• Connect the NVR to a monitor using a VGA or HDMI cable to watch video footage or you can connect your NVR to the Internet for remote viewing.
How to Choose Ethernet Cables for IP Cameras?
Security cameras with different resolutions have different bandwidth requirements. Cameras that feature higher resolution generally require more bandwidth. Currently, two types of cabling are widely used for IP security cameras which are Cat5e and Cat6 cables. The speed of Cat5e is up to 1000Mbps, ten times faster than the older-standard Cat5 cable. Besides, it greatly decreases crosstalk, which makes it the most widely used category on the market. On the other hand, the Cat6 cable is certified to handle 10 Gigabit Ethernet with a bandwidth of 250MHz. And it features better insulation and thinner wire, making it suitable for high EMI environments. But it should be noted that after 165 feet, the Cat6 cable is only capable of supporting 1000Mbps of bandwidth, the same as the Cat5e cable. As previously mentioned, most IP cameras use less than 100Mbps, which makes the Cat5e cable a more valid choice.
How to Install the IP Cameras over Long Distances?
Although PoE provides a budget-friendly way to deliver power and data to the IP cameras on the same network cabling, a common challenge when installing a security camera system is the transmission limit of Ethernet cabling (100 meters). To overcome the geographic limit of standard PoE, the simplest way is to install a pair of 300-meter direct-burial PoE extenders (IP67). By daisy-chaining these products, the maximum distance between the PoE switch and the camera can reach 500 meters by connecting the inputs of both extenders together (the maximum distance between two extenders can reach 300 meters). And because these PoE extenders are built with PoE passthrough capabilities, they can directly receive the power from the upstream PSE.
Last Thought: Is Fiber Necessary for IP Camera Systems?
It depends largely on your installation purposes. If network speed is your top priority, then fiber is the way to go. It is 100 times faster than the Ethernet cable and immune to electromagnetic interference. The fiber optic cable is often used when the distance between the PoE switch and the IP camera is beyond 500 meters, but it would be much more expensive and bulkier if you use it for nearby cameras. And there are mainly two types of fiber cabling: single-mode and multi-mode fibers. The single-mode fiber optic cable is used for long distances of more than 550 meters and up to several kilometers, while the multi-mode fiber optic cable is suitable for distances of 550 meters. But the main downside to the fiber cabling is that it doesn’t carry electricity, which means you have to connect a new cable to the camera to get power.
At Fastcabling, we’re constantly working on upgrades and improvements in the last few months to bring you an even better user experience and satisfy your unique business needs. Our latest feature updates offer a complete and cost-effective solution for small-and-medium-sized networks but also a better way to grow. We’ve launched a bunch of new products to upgrade and customize your network with low cost, easy operation and high performance. See what we have released and what’s next for us!
High-quality Gigabit Switches for SMB Networks
Networking has become easier than ever! A robust and reliable network is the backbone of a thriving business, and keeping pace with the evolving network technologies is a never-ending task. As your business grows and becomes increasingly complex, your network infrastructure also needs to be upgraded to keep everything running smoothly. Having a clear picture of how often you need to upgrade your network can help your business properly plan and fine-tune your network upgrade strategy. Most business networks are in a continuous state of flux since new users and devices are always coming in. Approximately, an enterprise network needs to handle at least 250 connected devices per day. Therefore, you need an optimally functioning LAN switch to monitor and regulate the incoming and outgoing traffic in your workplace.
With our innovative solutions and technologies, you’re able to create a fast-speed and future-proof network for your business to provide a fast and healthy performance of your network devices. Understanding the amount of traffic being utilized on your network can give you a baseline to determine which level of switches are needed. We’ve developed a new series of high-quality Gigabit LAN switches for various cabling structures and network requirements. This entry-level, smart-managed switch series is specially developed for fast-speed and long-distance network deployment to support business processes.
L2+ Gigabit Managed Switch Designed for SMBs
FC newly launched 24-Port L2+ Gigabit Managed Switch with SFP can support 24×Gigabit ports, 4×Gigabit combo SFP+ slots and one 100Mbps console port. A broad band of network configurations is supported to facilitate network management. Enhanced traffic management capabilities and network adaptability are ensured to future-proof your investments. This L2+ managed switch offers full management, troubleshooting, access control and monitoring features needed to build a robust SMB network. It supports a complete lineup of layer 2 features, such as enterprise-level QoS, VLANs, port mirroring, static routing, STP, ERPS and link aggregation control protocol to provide a reliable, secure network solution for enterprise networks. Moreover, features like SNMP also make it much easier to troubleshoot network issues remotely. By using the 24-Port L2+ Gigabit Managed Switch, you can also configure certain channels to low priority and redirect traffic for more efficient use.
Cutting-Edge Fiber Switch for High-Speed Network Connectivity
Fastcabling also developed a 24-Port L2+ Fiber Optic SFP Managed Switch to help you set up a high-speed network that requires long distances and higher bandwidth. This fiber optic switch is all-fiber capable but also allows front access to both fiber and copper connections. It features 24×Gigabit SFP fiber slots 4×1G combo SFP slots, 4×Gigabit Ethernet ports and one 100Mbps console port to deliver 56Gbps switching capacity and 41.66Mbps forwarding rate. 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. Also, this L2+ Fiber Optic SFP Managed Switch offers you improved security. Intercepting data transmissions will be incredibly difficult since any physical tapping on the fiber cables will be immediately noticed and reported.
Hybrid Switch for Fiber and Copper Connections
Designed for high-performance data networking, our new arrivals 6610-15 and 6610-42 offer an effective way to mix different cabling structures – fiber and unshielded twisted pairs on the same network switch. The 8+8 Ports Managed Fiber Ethernet Switch with 1Gbps Uplink has 8×Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports, 8×Gigabit SFP combo ports, 2×dedicated SFP slots and one console port to efficiently handle and manage bandwidth-hungry applications to realize fast-speed data forwarding in computer networking, IP surveillance and building automation. It is an ideal solution for security monitoring which is requesting the forwarding of large flow video data to establish a unified data communication platform. This hybrid network switch allows you to work with existing structured cabling systems while giving you more flexibility to customize your network. Moreover, you can also create a failover link by daisy-chaining. If a data link or device fails, the data path automatically switches over within 20 msec. to the secondary path to maintain Ring network integrity.
Rugged Industrial Switches for Harsh Environments
Fastcabling launched a wide range of industrial switches to deliver industrial-grade durability and enhanced network redundancy for use in applications with harsh conditions, including models supporting PoE, fiber and Ethernet. For environments constantly exposed to extreme temperatures, moisture, chemicals, vibration, etc., the industrial switches can deliver the highest level of operational reliability to strengthen IoT infrastructures such as transportation, manufacturing and surveillance camera systems. Commercial switches are designed for air-conditioned environments like offices, which put them at a great disadvantage in water splashes, dust, high-level electromagnetic interference, etc., while industrial switches can handle a wide range of extreme temperature variations and survive most adverse conditions to ensure production continuity, resilience and safety.
Industrial PoE+ Switch to Boost Your Network
We have launched two versions of industrial PoE+ switches, 7118-04 and 7118-32, to provide power for a network and enable data communication in a variety of industrial settings. They are a good fit for low-priority networks to deliver basic packet filtering. They can support both Ethernet and fiber optic cables to achieve a longer range of connectivity. 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) for harsh environments. Thanks to the intelligent PD live check, when the communication fails, the corresponding PoE port will automatically detect and reboot the non-responding PD until the connection is resumed. Improved reliability and uninterrupted and redundant power supplies ensure continuous operation. The switches have approximately 100,000 hours of uptime before they experience a failure.
Industrial Managed PoE Switch to Provide Advanced Capabilities
To optimize network deployment, we also launched a series of L2+ industrial managed PoE switches, 7118-20, 7114-56 and 7114-78, to simplify network management, diagnostics and troubleshooting. These industrial managed PoE switches give you full control over the port settings, particularly beneficial for large and complex networks. Our switches support RSTP, MSTP, ERPS, and LACP for network redundancy to ensure network connection reliability. IPV4/IPV6 DHCP snooping to protect the integrity of the DHCP server and its operations. Similarly, an 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. The redundant power inputs also help ease the unexpected risks of power outages to deliver better network service. Each model is equipped with at least 2×SFP uplink slots (4×SFP slots in models 7114-56 and 7114-78) to connect to the backbone core switch in the data center over long distances.
L2+ Fast Ring Managed Network Switch for High-Density Networks
The L2+ Fast Ring Industrial Ethernet Switch series (7107-14, 7107-43, 7107-66 and 7107-89) launched by Fastcabling is designed for maximum durability to enhance system reliability and uptime in harsh factory environments. These industrial Ethernet switches provide user-friendly and advanced IPv6/IPv4 management, abundant L2+ switching functions and < 20-msec fast ring recovery protection to prevent interruptions and external intrusions. You can also configure the switch settings to optimize data traffic, hinder unauthorized access and protect the data flowing in your network. Housed in an IP40 rugged but compact-sized case, they can operate stably under the temperature range from -40 to 75 degrees and allow either DIN-rail or wall mounting. Equipped with multiple SFP fiber slots, they can be flexibly applied to extend the connection distance.
Quick Fiber-Copper Conversion Solutions
Network complexity, escalating workloads, and the increases in network devices are driving the forces to build a network with higher speeds and greater bandwidth. Traditionally, PoE is often applied to simply network setups for its inherent advantage of sending power in parallel with data through the same network cable, while its uses are highly limited to applications within 100 meters. To overcome the geographical limit of Ethernet, a fiber optic network is introduced to secure fast-speed data transfer in long-distance deployments. Fastcabling has launched various products to support long-distance fiber networking up to 20km.
Ready-to-Go Fiber Media Conversion Package
Fastcabling has released a complete fiber-to-copper conversion kit to help you integrate the into the traditional copper cabling system. The Gigabit Fiber Ethernet Media Conversion Kit (5853-47) includes a pair of compact fiber media converters, a pair of BiDi SFP modules, a set of power adapters and a 100m/300m pre-terminated fiber optic cable (single-mode, LC connectors) to ensure excellent performance, quality, and reliability. The media converter is an unmanaged, plug-and-play device that can accept a wide input voltage range from 24V to 56V DC. The pre-terminated fiber optic cable is manufactured and assembled to meet the highest industry standards to deliver the best possible network performance, and network failures can be highly restrained with thorough inspections. The BiDi SFP transceivers can support a data rate of 1.25Gpbs to secure high-speed data transmission over SMF.
Fastcabling has launched a collection of pre-terminated fiber optic cables at different cable lengths (100m/300m/500m) to meet your specific needs. They feature a simple plug-and-play design, which can be easily connected and disconnected, cutting off the deployment time by at least 70%. And the pulling eye design saves you lots of time when running cables through conduits, ducts or risers. The pre-terminated fiber cables are also protected in a rugged armored jacket to prevent network failures caused by bending, twisting, breakage, etc. They can be used in mission-critical applications that demand the highest level of accuracy.
Robust Fiber Termination Box for Neater Cabling
Fastcabing has launched two versions of fiber termination boxes (one with 2 LC adapters, another with 8 LC adapters) to help you arrange fiber patch cables and fiber pigtails in an orderly manner. It integrates the termination, splicing, storage and management of fiber cables all in one unit, saving time and cost. Encapsulated in rugged housing (IP65-rated and impact-resistant), it comes with a removable hinged door to prevent vandalism. This fiber termination box is made from UV-resistant/PC+ABS plastic material, ideal for outdoor use. It includes a fiber tray for mounting LC fiber adapters to arrange the fibers in an orderly manner. A removable splice tray is also attached to accommodate fused fibers. Additionally, a power terminal block is ready for passing different-size power cables.
High-Density Rack Server for SMB Networks
The newly released High-Density 1U Rack Mount Fiber Enclosure Unloaded offers a clean and simple way to arrange your fiber optic cables in space-constrained applications, perfect for enterprise data centers, cloud storage networks, and telecommunication rooms. This fiber enclosure is made of 16-gauge cold rolled steel to hold up to 4×fiber adapter panels and 96 LC input ports. The removable rear and front panels provide quick access to move, add and change the cables as your cabling structure changes.
Long-Range Wireless LAN Solutions
The wireless network bridge is a smart network device designed to join different segments of a network together. It’s widely used to set up a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint connection in cross-building offices, neighboring districts, nearby towns, etc. It ensures the optimal performance of the network segments and reduces bandwidth waste by preventing unnecessary data flows between the networks considering the radio signals can be broadcast in a 360-degree pattern. And network congestion and collision can be highly reduced by segmenting the networks to increase the bandwidth and efficiency of each network segment.
450Mbps Outdoor Wireless CPE
450Mbps Outdoor Wireless CPE is a useful tool to extend your current network range for improving signal strength and coverage. It offers a better network performance in long-range applications to power network devices like IP cameras, VoIP phones and remote printers, without additional network cabling. It can run flawlessly at 450Mbps at an extended range of 1km. Covered in the IP65-rated enclosure, this wireless CPE can perform well in any harsh, outdoor environment. It features a plug-and-play design, so you can match the wavelength of each unit without complicated software configuration.
5GHz 802.11ac Outdoor Wireless Bridge
This 5GHz 802.11ac Outdoor Wireless Bridge is an easy-to-deploy solution to extend your WiFi network coverage. It’s designed to work with 5Ghz networks and comes with a superb network speed of 900Mbps and excellent coverage of up to 3km. Housed in an IP65 waterproof casing, this entire unit is weather-sealed, ideal for applications in outdoor and harsh environments like parking lots, highways, and oil pipelines, or other combustible places. This wireless bridge supports various encryption modes like WEP, WPA, TKIP/AES and IEEE802.1x.) and has an invisible SSID to avoid any direct tempering on the device.
Solar Power System for Off-Grid Remote Deployment
One of the challenges in long-distance network deployments is the lack of power supplies, while the solar power system can provide a more efficient, affordable, and environmentally friendly solution for applications such as oil and gas, construction sites, parking lots, remote gates and ranches. A complete solar power system is made up of a solar panel (more will be needed for power-hungry applications), a rechargeable battery and most importantly, the solar charge controller. The solar charge controller is an intelligent device that takes charge of the connections of the entire system to maintain power reliability, security, and efficiency.
The solar charge controller is an essential part to connect the solar panel and the battery. When the voltage of the battery is higher than that of the solar panel, electricity will flow backward since electricity always flows from high voltage to low voltage, the solar controller can regulate the amount of charge coming in and out of the battery and make sure the battery is not overcharged or undercharged. And it also helps to prevent the powered device from endless rebooting when the power tank is empty. You can set up an on and off threshold on the controller so it can automatically disconnect the power streams to the battery when the voltage falls below a certain threshold.
And there are two main types of solar charge controllers available in the market: PWM and MPPT solar controllers, The PWM is a switch used to connect the solar panel and the battery to control the battery charging, but by using this controller, the voltage of the solar panel will be dragged down to that of the battery, which makes it more ideal for a low-power-consumption system (12V) where only one or two solar panels are connected. The MPPT solar controller can regulate the input voltage to harvest the maximum power from the solar panel and deliver this energy to the battery of various voltage requirements, ideal for high-power systems where more solar panels are deployed.
Rugged Solar Controller for Harsh Environments
The newly released 10A Solar Charge Controller is a PWM solar control that comes with a fanless design, featuring a vast operating temperature range from -30℃ to 70℃, which makes it ideal for outdoor deployments in places where there is no power present. Covered in an IP68-rated waterproof design, it can remain fully operational when exposed to water spray, rain or condensation. The 10A Solar Charge Controller is equipped with LED indicators, unlimited parallel capability, and automatic battery voltage recognition from 12V DC to 24V DC to help you set up a solar power system in remote places. It can be of great help in preventing the battery from overcharging, over-discharging and reverse currents to solar panels during the night. What’s more, it’s highly compatible with both PoE and fiber technologies to extend the network over long distances.
MPPT Solar Controller Designed for Large-Scale Solar Energy Harvest
20A Solar Charge Controller is an MPPT solar controller that is specially designed for large systems where more energy harvesting is worthwhile. Compared with a PWM controller, the MPPT controller will yield higher returns as the panel voltage increases, so a large proportion of all energy from sunlight can be efficiently converted into electricity. To meet the increasing demand for a more cost-effective solar charger for 12V/24V battery systems and maximize the power generated by the solar panels, this 20A Solar Charge Controller supports a maximum solar panel array of 240W or 480W and a PV open circuit voltage of 100V. It can work with various battery options such as Gel and lithium and work under a wide temperature range of -35℃ ~ 55℃. In addition, we also launched a solar controller with a significantly higher output current of up to 40A. The 40A Solar Charge Controller features a solar panel array of 960W to deliver dedicated power supplies for 24V battery systems.
Advanced PoE Surge Protectors for Lightning Protection
A surge protector, also known as the surge suppressor, is an electrical device used to regulate abnormal electrical currents and mitigate over-voltages. It’s normally used to protect both the communication and power lines of the PoE device so as to guarantee a safe and reliable network connection in places where lightning is often present. Recently, Fastcabling has introduced two new types of surge protectors for outdoor network deployments.
Din Rail Industrial RJ45 PoE Surge Protector
This Din-Rail industrial RJ45 PoE surge protector is a compact surge protection device that features 16kV surge protection to efficiently mitigate the negative effects of lighting spikes and surges in long-run copper cabling. It complies with standard PoE and works with no problem This surge protector supports Din-Rail mounting, so 5 or more such protectors can be installed side by side as integrity in a 19″ wide Din-Rail mounting rack for chain setups, which makes grounding more convenient and affordable, ideal for small-to-medium sized businesses. It is backed up with a wider working temperature range from -40℃ to 85℃.
Outdoor Waterproof DC12V Surge Protector
This Outdoor Waterproof DC12V Surge Protector is specially designed for harsh outdoor environments with weatherproofing and corrosion protection. It is designed to protect DC12V electronic devices by regulating the power surges to an acceptable level. Similarly, this surge protector features 16kV surge protection and a wide working temperature of -40℃ to 85℃. It also comes with an IP68 waterproof enclosure, a sealing gasket and a watertight connector, which makes it highly applicable in outdoor environments.
What’s Next For Us?
Simplicity and functionality are always our focus when developing. To satisfy the unique needs of our customers, our products will be more diverse and versatile. And we’re currently working on a web smart PoE switch to offer better functionality and usability for all network users. Please follow us on Facebook @fastcabling to get the latest updates!
You won’t be surprised that WiFi plays an important role in our everyday life. It allows us to stay online at all hours, access information in real-time and expand the wireless network to areas where wires and cables are not available. It’s great to be able to seamlessly connect to WiFi from virtually anywhere around the world.
Outdoor WiFi and Its Problem
As more data traffic is carried over wireless networks, people will want to extend WiFi capacities outdoors, but most routers and access points installed indoors cannot provide a smooth WiFi experience for outdoor devices due to limited WiFi coverage and signal degradation over long distances. And this is why outdoor access points have been gaining popularity since the number of outdoor devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) increases over the years. But, sometimes, installing an outdoor access point won’t necessarily help you maximize WiFi reception if improperly installed. In this article, we’ll investigate the possible reasons that could cause bad WiFi signals outdoors and give you some useful advice on how to install the outdoor access points correctly.
5 Factors that Affect WiFi Signal
A weak WiFi signal is a problem commonly seen in network deployments. When your WiFi signal weakens, your connection to the Internet will also suffer, causing slow network speeds and even no connections outdoors. And there are a huge variety of reasons that could account for the weak WiFi signal:
• Too many people or devices connect to the same network
• Physical obstructions like thick walls, foliage or other solid objects
• Radio interference from neighbor’s network
• Your devices are located too far away from the access point
And the list can go on and on. WiFi, by its very virtue, can be susceptible to interference. Therefore, knowing what can cause that interference can help your network devices run at their best performance. Here, we’ve summarized five reasons that might explain why your signal suffers even when you have placed a powerful outdoor access point to help carry the signal further and reduce the interference to a minimum.
1. Physical Obstructions
Obstacles can cause a reduction in signal strength. Have you ever wondered why there is poor reception in certain rooms and why the signal continues to drop off even in an area just outside the house? So why do such places suffer from bad signals? And the most likely reason is that the material used for walls and other physical barriers blocks the transmission. The WiFi signal can be easily impeded by solid objects like metal, concrete, materials that are used in modern buildings, etc., and even plants will hinder signal transmission.
So when WiFi signals pass through these obstacles, some of them will be absorbed, and you will experience the most serious signal loss when the wireless signals pass through concrete, with or without metal enforcement, which is the worst and most severe physical barrier that could cause a severe reduction in signal strength. Even though the access points installed outdoors will not experience as much interference as indoor access point does given more complicated layouts in the indoor environments (rooms have to be separated by walls, and the office is divided by multiple cubicles), chances are still high that the wireless signals can be cut off by a nearby building, a billboard, a traffic sign, or the trees. Such interference can prevent your WiFi signal from having its optimum reach and performance, disrupt any signal passing through, and even block the signal completely.
2. Extended Distance
One of the most common causes of poor WiFi reception is distance. How far can WiFi travel has been a reoccurring question by most of our customers. For the flawless operation of your network devices outdoors, you have got to realize that the WiFi signal has its restriction. The farther the signal travels, the weaker it will be. It shares the same principle as the human voice. When you yell, your voice can be clearly heard by the people next to you, but the volume will start to fade out as the distance increases. When it comes to a home network, in general, a WiFi network that runs on 2.4Ghz frequencies can only reach up to 45 meters (150 feet) indoors and 90 meters (300 feet) outdoors. But for an outdoor access point that functions on 5Ghz bands, it’ll offer a faster data transfer rate but less coverage by reaching approximately only one-third of the distances of 2.4Ghz WiFi devices.
In addition, despite its increased frequency, the 5GHz band’s shorter waves make it less capable of going through walls and solid objects. If your house occupies a large area and holds a big garden, installing only one outdoor access point will not be able to provide full coverage for your premises. Moreover, the wireless standard you are using has a huge impact on the signal strength and transmission range. The higher the data rate, the less distance covered. The 802.11ac standard (WiFi 5) access points can offer a decent network speed but they must be kept within a relatively short distance to the router. So this might explain why you’re using the newest outdoor access points but still suffering from bad WiFi signals.
3. Radio Interference
Another major influence that disrupts your network performance outdoors is interference. If you experience unexpected weak WiFi signals, chance has it that other networks in the local area, such as neighbors’ networks or a local hotspot, are meddling with your WiFi channel. Wireless devices can transmit and receive data on different channels, but in many cases, most of them will only operate on a default channel. So it’s possible that several wireless devices in the local network are competing for signals in the same frequency band. When the network becomes congested, your WiFi connection will be jeopardized as well. Furthermore, the radio waves generated by electronic gadgets and devices can often interfere with the frequency of your outdoor access points. You can find intermittent signal problems caused by non-WiFi products that use the same radio waves as WiFi networks, such as cordless phones, portable electronics, microwave ovens and Bluetooth devices. Interference occurs when unwanted RF signals hamper radio broadcasting. Due to RF interference, the outdoor access points and users may become unable to transmit data, reducing their throughput and causing latency and poor network performance.
4. Low or High-Voltage Power Supply
Surprisingly, the power levels of your outdoor access points will also affect Internet speeds and WiFi performance. If you are using the power supply that came with the access point, there shouldn’t be any problems. If your WiFi device doesn’t have enough power to function properly, the Internet speed will be absolutely disrupted. You could get crashes, malfunctions, or in the best case only ‘worse’ network performance. For example, if your access point is supposed to use a 12V power supply and you connect it to a 5V power source, and then absolutely it can’t run at its optimum. Low power levels will not only affect network speeds but also influence WiFi coverage. The power level your access point transmits is important, and it should be enough to provide adequate range and coverage. But, it isn’t always the case that more is better. Proximity to a high-voltage power line will definitely interfere with the reception of any type of broadcast transmission, and wireless ones in particular. More power often entails an increase in noise, which is a huge interference to radio communications and broadcasting. The power lines will generate unwanted radio signals that override or compete with desired radio signals.
5. Bad Weather
Bad weather can disrupt your Internet connections to varying degrees in a variety of ways. Often unnoticeable, humidity can somehow cause signal degradation, especially in long-range WiFi systems. Increased humidity makes it challenging for the outdoor access points to deliver decent network performance, resulting in an extremely slow network connection. Moreover, when there’s fog and it’s misty outside, the water vapor would present itself as an obstructing media to the WiFi signals. The thunderstorm is one more weather condition that can influence your WiFi performance, which can cause serious physical damage to your network infrastructure. The thunderstorm has no direct impact on the WiFi signals themselves but on the system that carries them, like the Ethernet cables. And because WiFi is an electromagnetic signal Even the temperature can wear down your connection over time. As the temperature increases, the jacket of the Ethernet cable can soften, causing your speeds to diminish, and in extremely cold temperatures, the cable could freeze or get covered in the snow, causing the cable to break and cutting off the connection between the main router and outdoor access points, especially when you’re using low-quality or outdated Ethernet cables.
Tricks to Improve Your Outdoor WiFi
Due to the harsh conditions of outdoor environments, such as lighting strikes, temperature fluctuations and constant exposure to moisture and dust, the outdoor access points are usually installed to withstand the rigors of harsh environments. Knowing how to install them properly is essential to provide maximum coverage and reduce interference. To help you learn the proper methods of access point installation, we have outlined 7 suggestions for you to follow when installing outdoor access points.
1. Precise Access Point Placement Is Key
Where you place your access point can have a significant impact on whether you see the best possible signal coverage. Outdoor access points need to be able to reach a large area in order to be effective. Having an outdoor access point properly installed is critical to providing a strong wireless connection and adequate throughput.
Things to Considering When Choosing Locations for Outdoor APs
• Install your outdoor APs high for the best signal strength reception and performance for your wireless network. Make sure the transmission path is not blocked by any obstacles.
• To make sure all the clients on your properties receive a strong wireless signal, it’s always a good idea to place the APs to their intended point of use.
• Install your APs in a central place, where WiFi will be used most, and keep them away from corners, walls, or other physical obstructions. Whenever possible, you should keep the APs as far away from devices that emit electromagnetic signals.
In addition, you should test signal strength before finalizing the placement. This can be accomplished simply with your smartphone to check the Internet speeds at given distances. Or you download an app such as WiFi Analyzer where the signal strength will be shown precisely in dBm to help you pick up the ideal installation site. Anything between -67 and -30 dBm will be enough, but once it goes lower than -70 dBm, the signal strength will degrade, and then you’ll know you need to move your AP to a place where it can operate an efficient network. By doing so, you can determine the actual efficiency of your access points, and even better, you won’t have to waste time with ineffective placement or drilling unnecessary holes.
Avoid Coverage Overlap
When designing your wireless network structure, you need to choose the best location for placing your access points to provide adequate coverage. Basically, you can install the AP wherever you can but it will not only introduce unnecessary costs but also generate a lot of coverage overlap, especially in high-traffic areas. But coverage overlap can be reduced and even avoided if carefully designed. When you install more than one access point, try to leave enough space between them to provide maximum coverage.
2. Choose the Right Mounting Option Can Make a Difference
Believe it or not, your mounting options have a great impact on what the final design will be and determine whether it could meet the required coverage areas. There are basically four options in outdoor access point installation: wall mounting, pole mounting, corner mounting and roof mounting.
Wall Mounting: It is one of the most common and fastest methods to install the access points to the outside wall, but holes need to be drilled to let the Ethernet cables pass through and to secure the mounting brackets. But there is one more thing to cover when considering wall mounting. Since most APs with internal antennas are optimized for ceiling mounting, installing these devices vertically may not be the best way to achieve maximum antenna coverage. Therefore, if you need to mount the outdoor access point on a vertical surface, you should use one that supports external antennas and make the AP emulate a 180° antenna pattern in a vertical orientation. Avoid mounting the antenna in a horizontal position as this usually reduces coverage.
Pole Mounting: It is a good option when installing the outdoor access points away from the buildings, which is commonly used in a wireless mesh system where no cables need to be pulled to each location, providing comprehensive coverage for your properties. It ensures that the outdoor access point stays in the correct position and helps protect it from potential hazards on the ground. Pole mounting is simple but requires the right equipment to be effective. And it should be noted that if the access point is mounted too close to the metal pole, the wireless signals will be degraded as they don’t easily pass through dense materials.
Corner Mounting: If you have an omnidirectional outdoor access point, mounting it at a corner effectively allows for a 270° coverage to cover both sides of the wall. To mount the AP on an outside corner, you’ll need a galvanized corner bracket to direct the signal to the intended target area. A corner-mounted access point can project the signals in more directions, cover more space but also pick up more interference, so you will probably need to make up a plate that extends slightly from the wall. As previously mentioned, WiFi signals cannot penetrate metal objects easily, if the corner-mounted AP requires protection, then it’s best to use a plastic enclosure.
Roof Mounting: It is a viable option if you want to project the WiFi signals to another building, but a clear line of sight must be obtained between two constructions. In most cases, non-penetrating roof mounts are used to install the outdoor access points on the roof surface without damaging the roof structure. Therefore, depending on what type of APs you choose and how much coverage you want, you can should the best possible mounting options accordingly.
3. Using PoE Injectors for Outdoor Access Point Installation
Since you’ll be mounting the access points in locations that are likely far from an immediate power outlet, the best way to power your devices outdoors is to deploy PoE, which enables your AP to draw electrical power through the network cable to ensure a safe power connection in an outdoor environment.
The PoE injector offers an economical solution to transfer both power and data to the PDs via a single Ethernet cable at a maximum distance of 100 meters, eliminating additional power cabling. Once connected to a power source, the PoE injector will simultaneously convert the received power to DC power and send it to the terminal device. And it shares the same working principle as the PoE switch by initiating a handshake procedure to identify whether the connected device is PoE-compatible or not and decide how much power is required. And if the handshake procedure fails for any reason, the power will be immediately cut off.
The PoE injector offers a highly reliable power solution for outdoor access point installation. It integrates power conversion (AC-DC power), power management (available only in standard PoE injectors) and power connection all in one small unit. Constant power delivery is guaranteed with an uninterruptible power supply from a centralized point rather than distributed wall outlets. Power conversion from AC to DC lowers the risks of power outages and overloads, and the point-to-point PoE connection reduces the chances of power failures. You can monitor the power consumption status in real-time. Moreover, compared with other power solutions, it takes fewer devices to get your PoE system running, reducing job stress. It is a great alternative to the PoE switch when fewer devices are installed.
30W Outdoor Industrial Waterproof PoE Injector
This PoE injector is compliant with the IEEE802.3at, featuring a maximum power supply of up to 30W to help you set up the outdoor access point in hard-to-reach areas. It supports a wide input voltage range of DC24~56V, and the inner regulator will boost up the power to the regulated DC54V, which reduces the occurrences of voltage drop in long-distance applications. This PoE injector comes with a rugged metal enclosure (IP67-rated waterproof) to protect the device from breakdown and malfunctioning on rainy or snowy days. It also features a vast operating temperature range from –40°C to 75°C to survive the extreme temperatures in a changeable outdoor environment.
4. Deploy PoE Extender for Long-Distance Deployments
One of the common reasons for poor WiFi performance is that your access point is too far away from its clients. So the best way is to place the AP to its intended point of use. But the biggest disadvantage is that PoE only supports a maximum transmission distance of 100 meters. Beyond this range, you will experience severe signal degradation and voltage drop. To solve this problem, you’ll need a PoE extender. The PoE extender is a cost-effective way to extend Ethernet beyond 100 meters to power the remote APs. It leverages existing twisted-pair cabling to deliver the electrical power over the same Ethernet data stream to the next connected device. The direct burial PoE extender from Fastcabling is exclusively designed for long-distance power and data connection in outdoor applications, featuring a simple plug-and-play installation. By daisy-chaining two PoE extenders, the maximum distance can be extended to 300-500 meters. And it should be aware that for outdoor applications, you have to fasten the glands on each side tightly with a 27mm wrench, or water may ingress into the PoE extender and damage the PCB board.
5. Choose the Right Cabling for Outdoor Deployments
To boost your connectivity, we always suggest trying high-quality Ethernet cables because they’re the best way to get fast speeds and a reliable connection. The CMX cable is a type of Ethernet cable that has an outdoor-rated Polyethylene jacket. The double layers of jackets help strengthen the tensile of the outdoor cable and give it the ability to be buried or trenched directly under the ground. 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.
6. Protect the Outdoor Access Points with Surge Protectors
The best way to protect your outdoor access points from power surges is to use a surge protector to regulate abnormal electrical currents and mitigate over-voltages. It can promptly recognize abnormal rises in surges and redirect the extra currents to the grounding wire to protect your outdoor devices. To set up a hazard-free communication and power line, you’re supposed to install the surge protectors on both ends of one complete cable run. Fastcabling has launched a Waterproof Outdoor PoE Surge Protector (IP68) to secure a safe and reliable network set up outside. This PoE surge protector is direct-burial, featuring 16kV high surge protection and a wide working temperature of -40℃to 85℃.
7. Reduce Radio Interference
RF interference is a serious problem that prevents wireless devices from delivering their full capabilities. The easiest way is to switch to a different WiFi channel, one that isn’t too busy. But this approach only addresses continuous RF interference from other WiFi networks, such as the one from your neighbor’s home. If there are no alternative channels in the 2.4 GHz band, it will fail to deliver the desired results. To deliver flawless network performance, it’s necessary to deal with intermittent RF interference by improving the Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR). There are two ways to improve the SNR: reduce interference or increase signal gain. When using a dual-band access point, you can eliminate as many sources of RF interference as possible by switching to the 5Ghz bands. To increase the signal gain, you can increase the power or density of outdoor access points.