For IP surveillance networks, smart PoE switches give an edge

By By Steven Olen, director of product marketing for business solutions, D-Link Systems, Network World |  Security

Network administrators often need to know the power consumption for each switch port and the overall PoE power budget utilization. Capturing this data simply isn't possible with an unmanaged switch. A Smart PoE switch, however, can provide the following power consumption statistics in real time:" Actual PoE power utilization per port" Total system PoE power budget" Amount of total PoE power currently being used" Amount of total PoE power still available

As the network grows and additional cameras are added, a PoE switch will be asked to supply more power. A Smart PoE switch allows an administrator to manage these increased power demands in a much more controlled manner, through user-defined port-priority assignments and policies.

A Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) uses an Ethernet switch to partition a physical network, thereby creating distinct broadcast domains. VLANs are especially useful when an IP Surveillance network shares the same network infrastructure with other functions or applications, such as a corporate data network. By assigning the IP Surveillance traffic to a separate, distinct, high-priority VLAN, the traffic is assured to pass through the network swiftly and securely.

Some Smart PoE switches support a feature called Auto Surveillance VLAN, which simplifies VLAN configuration by automatically detecting any IP camera on the network. With no manual intervention, traffic from each camera is automatically assigned to a high-priority VLAN, which guarantees the quality and security of the surveillance information, even during periods of high network congestion.

Smart PoE switches enable administrators to easily examine the quality of the copper cables connected to each switch port. Tests can be initiated from anywhere on the network and run on each port during installation or troubleshooting to determine any potential cable errors. Diagnostics data includes:

" Cable connection: OK/Short Circuit/Open Circuit" Cable Fault Distance: If a cable fault is found, the test results will show the distance of the fault from the switch port" Cable Length: If test results show OK, they will also show the total length of the cable

Smart PoE switches may also feature a loop detection function, which can locate unintentional loops in a network. If a loop is detected, the switch automatically shuts down the port and alerts the administrator. Loop detection can be enabled on a single port, a range of ports or all ports simultaneously. Without such protection, undetected loops can wreak major havoc and cause serious traffic flow disruptions.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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