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3 Things to Know About Using a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) IP Security Camera

March 09, 2022


Power-over-ethernet (PoE) is one of the methods you can use to provide power and an internet connection to your security cameras.

PoE is incredibly simple to implement and is an excellent choice for many enterprise organizations. While PoE isn’t the right solution for every company (read about this company’s solar-powered security cameras), it’s one of the most effective and reliable ways to power security cameras and offers many advantages.

If you’re thinking about using a PoE setup, this blog post will outline what you should know before transitioning.

What is Power-over-Ethernet (PoE)?

Before PoE, any device that connected to an internet or LAN network needed two cables to function: an ethernet cable to carry the data, and a power cable to carry the electrical current to power the device.

Power-over-ethernet is a technology that uses a wired ethernet cable to carry both data and power to a device. Because you need just one cable instead of two, PoE can greatly simplify the amount of infrastructure an organization has to manage.

Is PoE reliable?

Power-over-ethernet is extremely reliable. PoE has gone through extensive development over the years and is considered to be a mature technology. These days, it’s a commonplace tool that’s often used in network routers, wall clocks, point-of-sale kiosks, access control systems, and more.

While the technology itself is very reliable, PoE does use physical components (cabling and switches) to function. As with any physical piece of technology, using high-quality components is key to maximizing reliability over the long term.

What does PoE mean for security cameras?

If your IP security cameras use power-over-ethernet, that means that they work with just one cable that provides both power and a network connection. This type of connection is an excellent choice for enterprise organizations that have multiple security cameras.

Rhombus smart security cameras power over ethernet setup

Benefits of PoE for security cameras

PoE provides many practical advantages to your security camera system’s installation, maintenance, and performance.

Greater Flexibility & More Options for Camera Placement

Because PoE cameras receive their power through an ethernet cable, there’s no need to install them near electrical outlets. This gives you much more control over where you can place cameras. When cameras aren’t tied to an electrical outlet, they can be installed in many more places, and if cameras need to be taken down or moved to a new location, all you have to do is move the ethernet cable.

Reduced Maintenance & Simpler Management

By reducing the amount of cabling and hardware, there’s much less maintenance than a traditional system and it can be managed through a Simple Network Management Protocol. This is a major advantage of cloud systems in general; with cloud-based video security systems, there are no DVRs and the only things you need to maintain are the cameras, cabling and PoE switches.

Lower Installation Cost

Since PoE systems require only one cable to supply power and internet and can installed by anyone, installation is much lower than traditional options. With a more traditional system, you are required to hire a certified electrician to install separate power cables. This can add expense and burden an organization that wants to move quickly.

Better Scalability

PoE cameras are faster to install and easier to scale than traditional power-wired cameras. When you need to add more security cameras, you can do so easily by simply adding additional network connections. In particular, if you want to execute a large deployment, a PoE setup helps make installations faster and simpler.

Better Power Reliability

When using PoE, you have one cohesive and central power source instead of relying on different wall adapters. You also have the ability to create an uninterruptible power source (UPS) for your PoE switch to ensure the cameras continue to run even when the power goes out.

Better Network Reliability

Compared to cameras that use WiFi instead of a hardwired internet connection, PoE cameras provide a significantly more reliable network connection that won’t break or degrade. When cameras are deployed for reasons of safety and security, most organizations use PoE in order to ensure a reliable connection.

Increased System Safety

If you’re using quality components, PoE is designed to deliver power safely and efficiently. PoE devices ensure proper power throughout the life of the product to prevent overloading or under-powering. More advanced PoE products also have protection systems to prevent short-circuiting, or excessive current, making it much safer than a traditional system powered by an outlet.

How do you switch to a PoE camera setup?

Upgrading to PoE is straightforward. There are two options: a PoE switch or PoE injector.

A PoE switch acts as a network switch that has power over ethernet injection built-in. You can connect devices to the switch and it will detect if its PoE compatible and supply power as needed.

A PoE injector, otherwise known as a midspan, is used to add compatibility to non-PoE network links. This can be used to upgrade existing LAN installations to PoE and provide an easy solution where fewer PoE ports are required.

With IP/cloud cameras, you can also use a PoE splitter which patches into the camera’s network connection to provide lower voltage to optimally power the camera via ethernet.

Takeaway: Using PoE for enterprise video surveillance

Power-over-ethernet is incredibly simple to implement and use throughout an organization. PoE IP security cameras provide many advantages and are an excellent solution for many enterprise organizations.

To effectively use PoE, it boils down to mapping out your system and knowing what to look for when purchasing equipment. As with all due diligence, choosing the right solution for your organization will save you a lot of time and headaches in the future.

If you have questions about PoE, security cameras, or cloud surveillance, Rhombus is here to help. Reach out to us at

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