The Nitty Gritty of Commercial vs. Hardened PoE Switches

Power over ethernet, or PoE, switches bring a wide range of benefits to industrial settings – but not all are created equal.

On this episode of What About Power Over Ethernet?, an EtherWAN podcast, EtherWAN Director of Products and Marketing Jim Toepper joined host Shelby Skrhak to explore the key differences between standard commercial PoE switches and hardened PoE switches.

While hardened PoE switches require a greater capital investment, that money upfront can come alongside greater consistency in the face of the kinds of harsh environments these switches were made for. If a setting exposes switches to extreme temperatures, excessive vibration, high levels of electromagnetic interference or other difficult conditions, hardened switches are likely the way to go.
“The reality is that a server room is a very nice environment,” Toepper said. “It’s like you going to Hawaii and relaxing on a beach and enjoying the nice weather. This is your element.

“What if you were to take that and, instead, put you in the middle of the Arabian desert? … It might look like a beach, but it’s not a beach.”

That means you have to be careful with where PoE switches “live,” even though even basic commercial switches aren’t exactly “delicate.” When the data and information is critical, failure isn’t an option.

The most important factor for any operation looking to add PoE switches is to understand which switch best suits its particular and unique needs – and a manufacturer like EtherWAN can help organizations form that critical knowledge base and make the right decision the first time.

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