Is This Useful? Fanless Switch With Built-In Power Consumption Display?

A manufacturer has two models of switch with built-in LED display showing:

  • PoE usage per port
  • Total PoE usage
  • Remaining PoE power

They are unmanaged Gig-E switches, 802.3at capable on all ports, but with a total budget of 130 Watts.

See the specs from Syncom here:

It's an interesting feature, since PoE problems can be notoriously difficult to troubleshoot, but we see a couple of drawbacks to this line:

  1. Unmanaged models only. Integrators doing medium to large systems typically lean heavily toward managed switches.
  2. Almost 3/4 of integrators lean toward three brands: Cisco, Netgear, and HP. Though some stick to lesser known lines (D-Link, Avaya, Comnet, etc.), newcomers in this market are very rare.
  3. Pricing is similar to managed 802.3at models, about $350 online.

What do you think? Is this something you'd use?

I voted yes only factoring in that they are unmannaged and probably have no other way of knowing what your PoE usage is.

That said, I would never use one of these.

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever use an unmanaged switch. Ever. Unless the switch is in your staffed 24/7 office or a closet right next to your staffed 24/7 office.

voted no... not a fan of unmanged switches, even if it shows me PoE usage per port doesn't bring it any closer to a mananged switch for me...

As a disclaimer, I am with Syncom. For those who said that this is not helpful because it's an unmanaged switch, if the same feature came with a L2 switch, would that change your mind? We have a ton of feedback from small dealers and distributors who absolutely love this concept, but these are also guys selling a ton of 4-8 camera systems...

Chase, while we have you here, any reason not to have the switch be managed? Cost or?

I am sure some are ok with unmanaged but it would appear the lack of management would be a common objection.

I don't see the need for this option myself. We generally use Ubiquiti switches for smaller installs. The ToughSwitch Pro is a great product. For more than 8 ports, we use the Edge Switch 24 or 48. Any job larger than 48 ports usually has their own switches in place.

I just don't see a need for an LED output on the outside of the switch. Managed or not. I'm not usually there onsite to see it and smaller customers would have no clue what it stands for. I would put that budget towards a management option. But that wouldn't be as fun to market I suppose.

We do realize that the majority would lean towards using a managed switch. Our focus was to expose our idea of having the Power Usage Display, managed or not. We do in fact have managed switches as well. I will post the specs on those if permitted. We are excited with all of the feedback, this format is excellent as always.

Managed switch with LED Display

Thanks for posting that, Chase. We weren't aware of the managed models. It looks like PoE budget on these models is also increased, supporting 30W on all ports, correct?

It looks like this is selling for about $75 more than the unmanaged model (~$425 vs. 350). Is that accurate?

I can get a UBNT TS-Pro-8 for under $200

You can, but that's also passive PoE and wouldn't run most cameras.

I have never installed a camera that the ToughSwitch couldn't power. I don't think it's likely that a 4 camera install would use such a camera either. Unless there is something I am missing?

Ubiquiti lists them as supporting passive PoE only, in other words applying 24 or 48VDC to the spare pairs, without the negotiation and actual compliance of 802.3af/at standards. What cameras are you using with the ToughSwitch? You could burn up 802.3af/at devices by connecting them to passive PoE, but I suppose it could work depending on the device. It's not recommended, though and you can find accounts on the internet of passive PoE blowing up devices not meant for it.

Have to agree with Jon here, as long as the ToughSwitch is set for 48v it will power any camera (PD) that is af compliant, without damaging it*

Here is why: With a switch or midspan (PSE) that is af compliant, unlike the ToughBook, the PSE actively probes the unpowered PD with very low voltage to determine if it is a af compliant PD. Once it decides it is, it ramps the voltage up to 48v, on either the data or spare pairs depending whether the PSE is an endspan or midspan. This choice is up to the PSE, though, the PD must accept it either way.

Jon is essentially acting as the agent that is determining whether the device is af compliant, and which pairs to power, instead of the switch (PSE). If Jon is careless though, and connects his laptop to this port, he might have wished he went with Netgear instead. :)

*Note: This is all assuming the PD is working. The af compliant switch also has the benefit of being able to power down the PD at any time because it detects an unsafe condition. Not sure what the ToughSwitch offers here...

Dahua: IPC-HDB4200C IPC-HDBW5302 IPC-HDW4300S IPC-HF5200 IPC-HDBW3300 (can't remember all the models, but this is most of them)

Hikvision: DS-2CD2532F-I DS-2CD2132-I DS-2CD2732F-I

Samsung: SNF-7010 SNV-6084R

The price Ethan posed is around MAP which is strictly enforced to leave margin for our distribution and integration partners. We never want to have our channel partners be in a position where their end user searches for a part and finds it online for less than what the integrator/dealer needs to sell it for to survive.

If the price is the same as for a managed switch why not use them? The features that adds to a switch to be managed are larger than a simple lcd.

@Ethan, yes, it's around $75 difference (based on MAP pricing), and yes, this is a full power (30W/port) switch.

@Hernan, there is a bit of a price difference, but it's realitivly small when you take in to account the huge benefit of L2 capabilities, not to mention 2 additional combo uplink ports. Specifically when putting these two switches side-by-side, you do go from GB PoE ports on the unmanaged switch to 10/100 for the PoE ports on the managed. When it comes to cameras or IP phones, obviously 10/100 vs 10/100/1000 in doesn't mean much assuming you have GB uplink ports.

When we quote the project, we always try to quote the managed switch, but installer tends to remove it from the quote & sub with the unmanaged switch option instead to save the cost. Especially when it is 8 ports or less in a switch. Installer told us that the price difference is not worth the feature added. I find that strange, but would like to know everyone's feedback here as well.


I would disagree with those installers, I would also be curious if they have asked their customer what their preference would be and showed them the benefits of managed switches as well. Personally the customer can save money through managed switches since the technicians are able to do more troubleshooting remotely...

Vickee, I would also disagree with that blanket statement from your installers. Maybe your installers are not familiar enough with the benefits of a fully managed switch.

Dear Keefe & Jon,

Even if the project only have 8 cameras or less, you would still go for a managed switch?


Yes, even at 8 or fewer cameras a managed switch would be favored.

No matter the camera count, I would always favor a managed switch. In fact, we never use anything less than a Ubiquiti Tough Switch Pro (8 PoE ports/150W total PoE budget) for our camera installs. This is our minimum required switch. The main reason is for the ability to power cycle ports individually. In addition to that, the Ping Watchdog feature ensures auto power cycles per port if a camera was to become unresponsive. We can also have messages sent if there are issues. All of this allows us to take care of issues before the client usually even knows about it. We still report the issues, but we can say they have already been addressed at the same time.

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but there is another unique feature of these switches that we'd love some feedback on. We have been working with engineering to remove the fans. We've been successful so far with our switches that have a 130W power supply and hope to have this move on to 250W power supplies soon.

This was done mainly to improve long term performance since the fans are usually the first thing to go out, whether by failure from continuous use, or simply due to lack of maintenance. We've done a lot of research on this and have found that most don't really care about the added reliability, but more in the fact that there is no sound coming from the switch. I'm curious if you all agree with this(sound > reliability)? Do you see this as an advantage or an added value?

Fanless is a much better idea than the LED output. As long as it doesn't shorten lifespan or overheat.


Fanless switches is a plus in my book...

The LED display is not a selling point for me. Probably in large part because I've never come close to using up the power budget of even a 7.5W/ch switch (things like a Cisco SF302-10P that does 7.5W/ch for all eight ports, or 15.4W/ch for up to four ports), so knowing the total power usage has never been a concern for me.

It IS handy sometimes to see the power usage on a channel to tell if a camera is working, but at that point I'm probably accessing the site remotely and already in the management interface, and having it display on the front panel is useless anyway. In fact, 99% of the time, the only time I'm physically accessing the switch is when I'm patching it in... after that I'm doing pretty much everything remotely.

Fanless operation, on the other hand... since I often have to put the switch in an office, under a desk or in a wall rack, or a rolling rack that opens into the office... that would make a lot of customers happy, especially since most switch fans tend to sound like swarm of angry bees.

1. Since we standardized on switches that for the most part have enough budget to guarentee full power on all ports, I don't see the LED being useful, either. At least there hasn't been a case yet where we wished the switch had it.

2. But are we maybe confusing terms here? Web enabled "smart" switches v.s managed switches. Because we use web enabled smart switches in all cases, but haven't had a need or use for a "managed" switch.