Understanding Ports of Gigabit PoE Switch

Since introducing Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, the PoE LAN switch has become popular among wide users. However, newbies are usually confused with the multiple port configuration on the gigabit PoE switch. Since there are already regular PoE Ethernet ports for powered devices (PDs), what are the functions of other ports like console port, SFP/SFP+ port and combo port on gigabit PoE switch? This article will take 8 port PoE switch, 24 port PoE switch and 48 port PoE switch as examples to illustrate multiple ports for your reference.

Console Port on Gigabit PoE Switch

Like regular Ethernet switches, gigabit PoE switch often has one built-in serial console port, FS S3150-8T2FP 8 port PoE switch. It is the port for controlling and managing a switch since there are no display devices for a switch. Usually, the console port on a gigabit PoE switch is an RJ45 receptacle. To connect a computer directly to the 8 port PoE switch, one should use a dedicated rollover cable rather than an Ethernet cable for connection. To use the console port, you need physical access to the appliance. Therefore for terminals without serial console ports, one should attach a corresponding adaptor to the devices before cabling.

Figure 1: A display of one console port on FS S3150-8T2FP 8 port PoE switch for control.

RJ45 Port vs SFP Port on Gigabit PoE Switch

RJ45 port on gigabit PoE switch is the regular PoE port to achieve data and DC power transmission for PDs. It is an auto-sensing 10/100/1000Mb copper port supporting only Ethernet cable (Cat5e/6/6a/7) for connection. Thus RJ45 port connection is limited to 1G speed and 100m (330ft) short-distance transmission. Then how about a longer-distance transmission scenario?

Different from RJ45 port, SFP port on gigabit PoE switch has the opt of both short and long reach. Why? The mini GBIC port has inherited the compatibility of either copper or optical SFP connection. Provided you employ the corresponding SFP module and cable on power over the Ethernet switch. For long-distance transmission, you should use fibre SFP modules with fibre patch cables for optical links. For short distances, you can opt to use an RJ45 SFP module with copper network cable on a gigabit PoE RJ45 switch for electrical links. Gigabit PoE switches often provide 2 SFP ports for optical connection or uplink aggregation requirements, which enhances the network adaption resiliency of PoE-powered switches. For instance, the S3410-24TS-P 24 port PoE switch has 2xSFP ports reserved, which caters for fibre uplink to upper layer switch.

Figure 2: A display of RJ45 ports vs SFP ports on FS gigabit PoE switch.

SFP+ Port on Gigabit PoE Switch

To illustrate the SFP+ port on a PoE Ethernet switch, we’ll take the S3400-48T4SP 48 port PoE switch as an example. This 48 port PoE gigabit switch comes with 1 console port, 48xPoE+ RJ45 ports and 4xSFP+ ports. The 48xRJ45 ports are PoE-ready to power dozens of IP phones, IP cameras and wireless APs. The 4xSFP+ ports on the gigabit PoE switch serve as uplinks to connect the 10G SFP switch for uplink aggregation.

Combo Port on Gigabit PoE Switch

Though manufacturers often clearly label combo ports on gigabit PoE switches for identification, many people don’t know its function. Take the S3410-24TS-P 24 port PoE switch as an example, 4xcombo ports are reserved on this 24 port PoE managed switch. The combo port compounds RJ45 and SFP front ends in one single interface, thus it supports either copper or optical SFP link. However, you cannot use these two physical accesses on the PoE network switch simultaneously. That is, once you activate the combo SFP port on the gigabit PoE switch, you also disable the opposite copper port.


To sum up, multiple ports on gigabit PoE switches own different functionality, which enhances switching resiliency for different network cabling. RJ45 port on PoE powered switch is a normal one for a copper link to PDs. SFP port of gigabit PoE switch provides options of fibre cabling or copper cabling due to fibre SFP module and RJ45 SFP module compatibility. 10G SFP+ port on 48 port PoE switch serves as an uplink port for link aggregation in the network layer. Combo port compounds RJ45 and SFP interface in one single fabric on a gigabit PoE switch. So it helps to extend the flexibility of physical access through the network. For 8/24/48 port cheap PoE switch buying, you can find a decent offer here with optimal port configuration.

PoE Switch vs. Normal Switch — Find the Right Switch for You

The telecommunication industry has always been developing with leaps and bounds and technology changes with each passing day. For people with little network knowledge, the evolving optional network devices like PoE switches can be a big puzzle. What is PoE? What is the difference between a PoE switch and a regular network switch? This article explains their differences and how to find the right switch for you.

What is PoE?

PoE, short for Power over Ethernet, is a technology that enables Ethernet cable to supply power. Thus power sourcing equipment (PSE) can transmit both data and power to powered devices (PD) simultaneously via one single cable. PoE has two standards available on network switches: IEEE 802.3af/at. The former original PoE standard, defined in 2003, provides a 15.4 W power budget to PDs (12.95 W available for accessing). The latter PoE+/PoE Plus standard defined in 2009 provides up to 30 W (25.5 W) power.

What is a PoE Switch?

PoE switch is one of the two types of PSE for PoE implementation: endspan switch and midspan PoE injector. To enhance network resiliency, gigabit PoE switches provided by FS.COM are highly compatible with IEEE 802.3af/at managed PoE+ switches.

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For example, FS S3150-8T2FP, an 8-Port Managed PoE+ switch, is equipped with 8x 10/100/1000BASE-T ports, 2x 1Gb SFP uplinks, 8x RJ45 ports support both IEEE 802.3af PoE and IEEE 802.3at PoE+ (up to 30W per port) for powering attached IP phones, wireless access points, or other standards-compliant PoE and PoE+ end network devices. 2x SFP uplink ports are provided to support connections to higher-layer devices.

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PoE Switch vs. Normal Switch: What’s the Difference?

In a word, the major difference between a PoE switch and a normal switch is PoE accessibility. A regular Ethernet switch is not PoE-enabled to supply power for end users over Ethernet. Therefore the user needs one extra cable to connect power outlets.

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However, a normal switch can also become PoE-ready by employing a midspan injector between the switch and PDs. The injector will add electrical power while receiving the data signal from the Ethernet switch end cable, and then deliver both data and power to PDs. But in this circumstance, the injector also needs a wire for power.

When using a Gigabit PoE switch, only one power cable is required. Then the PDs can be directly plugged into the PoE gigabit switch port for both data transmission and power supply. The illustration and table below list the differences between deploying a PoE switch and a normal switch while adding PoE to networks.

 PoE SwitchNormal Switch
Required AccessoriesEasy for management (power and transmission)Require separate two wires for powering on the normal switch and PoE injector
PoE Access MethodUpgrade to PoE network by replacing the normal Ethernet switch with PoE Ethernet switchInstall PoE injector between switch and PDs to add PoE capability to the existing non-PoE switch
Emergency ReactionPotential chance of the whole system’s outageOnly one device be affected

Advantages of PoE Switches

As mentioned above, the PoE switch supplies power to PDs in the meantime of data delivery. Though the normal switch system can also acquire PoE by installing an injector, PoE endspan has the superiority of direct Power over Ethernet ability. Thus, the Gigabit PoE switch owns edges over the normal switch.

First, it enables PDs like IP surveillance cameras to be placed almost anywhere: on the ceiling, concealed in a wall, or even underwater while only one cable is needed to run to them. Second, it saves extra expenses and time for power cabling and injector installation. Third, with simplified cabling of all PDs directly connected to gigabit PoE switch, the data centre is easy to manage and control.

Besides, the PoE gigabit switch itself is designed with advanced features like high-performance hardware with software, auto-sensing PoE compatibility, strong network security, and environmental adaptability.

Find the Right Switch For You

Gigabit PoE switches can supply power to PDs in the meantime of data transmission via one single Ethernet cable while normal switches can only send data to them. For PoE implementation, normal switches need a power-on auxiliary injector as a midspan between a switch and powered devices.

Thus, PoE switches have the advantage of direct PoE connection, easy and flexible placement, cost-efficiency, simplified management, etc. For any applications of IP surveillance cameras, IP phones, and wireless APs, a PoE switch can be the right choice you’re looking for.