A Comparison of Power over Ethernet (PoE) Power Sourcing Equipment

Power over Ethernet (PoE) networks are becoming increasingly popular these days. There are several reasons for this:

  • Urban growth
  • Increased adoption of VoIP phones and wireless networking
  • Soaring adoption of IoT powered devices (PDs) across a multitude of industries
  • The rising popularity of smart buildings 

In fact, the PoE market is projected to increase by $802.56 million from 2022 to 2026.

With this kind of growth in mind, the goal of this article is to clear up any confusion when it comes to choosing which PoE power sourcing equipment is best for your particular situation. 

PoE Powered Device (PD) vs. PoE Powering Sourcing Equipment (PSE)

In every network system, there are two major “players”; the device that needs power to work (the PD) and the device that supplies the power (PSE). 

The most common PoE PDs are VoIP phones, IP cameras, and wireless access points (WAPs), although recent development of PoE technology has extended applications to PDs such as LCDs, Thin clients, LED lighting, and video conferencing equipment.

While there are many PDs on the market, there are only five basic PoE PSEs to choose from. They are listed below:

  1. PoE switch
  2. PoE injector
  3. PoE NVR
  4. PoE media converter
  5. PoE splitter

PoE Switch

A PoE switch is a network switch with PoE technology built into it. This means that it delivers both power and data over a single Ethernet cable to the connected PD. PoE switches can be categorized in several different ways. The most common type is the Gigabit PoE switch; however, there are other classifications as well (such as managed and unmanaged PoE switches). They also come in versions that vary by the number of ports. For example, the 8-port Gigabit PoE switch is quite popular for small networks, while larger enterprises use 24 or 48-port PoE switches. 

PoE Injector

PoE injectors are used in networks with a non-PoE (standard) switch. The injector takes data from the standard switch and transmits both power and data to a PoE PD through a single Ethernet cable. This PSE “injects” PoE technology into a network system without the need to purchase a more expensive PoE switch.


A PoE network video recorder (NVR) is an NVR with built-in PoE technology. This PoE PSE is generally used in an IP video surveillance system. Here’s how it works: One end of the Ethernet cable is connected to the IP camera and the other end to the PoE NVR, then the built-in switch provides power to the camera while also transmitting data. The PoE NVR provides security for surveillance footage by isolating it from the main network, thus providing an added layer of privacy. This device is excellent for users with minimal network administration experience and is generally used in small businesses.

PoE Media Converter

PoE media converters can be used to do two things:

  1. Connect fiber cabling to a copper network
  2. Provide PoE technology to PoE PDs. 

In other words, PoE media converters help create an Ethernet-fiber link but also act as a PSE on the copper side to power one or two PoE PDs.

PoE Splitter

The PoE splitter also supplies power; however, it is not strictly a PSE. It is more of an intermediary device that transmits power by separating (splitting) it from data and feeding it into a non-PoE PD. The PoE splitter is also used to locate a non-PoE PD in remote areas without access to an electrical outlet.

Last Words

The use of PoE technology is increasing every day because the benefits of PoE are so compelling. PoE technology is:

  • Cost-effective
  • Flexible
  • Safe
  • Reliable
  • Scalable
  • Secure

It is prudent for any enterprise to pursue a better understanding of this exciting technology. To that end, we sincerely hope you found this article helpful.

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