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Review: TRENDnet TPE-TG80g PoE+ Switch

Pint sized power for PoE devices

PoE might not be a term that you’re familiar with.  For those that don’t know, it stands for Power over Ethernet, and it’s a great tool for connecting far-flung devices to your network.

Almost anything that connects to your network will require some form of power, usually in the form of a separate power supply or battery.  But, power might not always be available.

Take an IP security camera as an example.  Here’s a device that’s designed to be placed in the corner of a room or on an outside wall, what are the chances that you have a power outlet within a few feet?  Even if you do, you’ve then got to worry about running the power cable between the outlet and the device.

What PoE does, is send the power for the device through the same network cable that’s required to send and receive data.

That being said, it’ll only work with devices that are certified as PoE compatible, so you can’t just plug any old device in and expect it to work.

The TPE-TG80g

Back to the matter at hand, the TPE-TG80g is an 8-port, Gigabit, PoE+ certified network switch.

The PoE+ standard means that the switch is capable of providing up to 30W of power to connected devices such as wireless access points, IP cameras and VOIP telephones.  Any device that’s certified PoE or PoE+ should work with this switch without any problems.

The box is emblazoned on all sides with TRENDnet’s logo and product information.  Inside you’ll find the switch itself, the power supply, power lead and a few pieces of paperwork.

It’s nice to see that TRENDnet are working to reduce the amount of non-recyclable packaging, the only pieces of plastic in the box were bags to protect the items from scratches, all of the rest was cardboard.

The casing of the device itself is very heavy duty for a device of this size.  While most products of this type feature plastic cases, the TPE-TG80g features a very sturdy painted metal casing.

It also features quite a low-profile design when compared with other 8-port Gigabit switches, measuring only 142 x 95 x 30 mm.  At that size it should be very easy to find a home for the switch, be it inside a networking cabinet, on a desk or secured to a wall.

The front of the device is fairly low key, each port has it’s own activity, gigabit and PoE lights, so you can see exactly how your devices are connected.

It’s a very “needs must” affair, the only bit of information that might not have been needed is the “GREENnet” brand across the top, but while we’re on the subject the TPE-TG80g does have excellent green credentials, more on that later.

It’s a similarly low-key affair at the back of the switch, with only the eight Ethernet ports and the power jack making an appearance.

While we’re on the subject of power, the TPE-TG80g comes with a much bigger power supply than you would get with an ordinary switch.  This is to be expected though as it has the potential to output just over 100W to PoE devices, so it understandably needs a beefier power supply.

That being said it is a rather large unit, almost as big as the switch itself, and could prove difficult to find a home for.

Specifications

The TPE-TG80g sports a whole bunch of 802.3 accreditations, the long and short of it is that it will work with any Ethernet device at either 10,100 or 1000 Mbps speeds.  It also supports the PoE and PoE+ standards.

Interestingly, although it can support up to 30W per device, the switch itself has a maximum output of just 105W, so it can’t provide the full 30W to eight devices at once.

StandardIEEE 802.3 10Base-T
IEEE 802.3u 100Base-TX
IEEE 802.3ab 1000Base-T
IEEE 802.3at Power over Ethernet (PoE+)
IEEE 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE)
IEEE 802.3X Flow Control
IEEE 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet
Ports8 x Gigabit Auto-MDIX PoE / PoE+ ports
Data Transfer RateEthernet: 10/20 Mbps (Half / Full Duplex)Fast Ethernet: 100/200 Mbps (Half / Full Duplex)Gigabit: 2000 Mbps (Full Duplex)
Forwarding Rate1,000 Mbps: 1,488,000 pps100 Mbps: 148,800 pps 110 Mbps: 14,880 pps
Data RAM Buffer96 Kbytes
Address Table1K MAC entries
Switch Fabric16 Gbps
PowerInput: 100-240V 50/60 Hz, 2.1AOutput: 52VDC, 2.31A External Power Adapter
Diagnostic LEDsPower, PoE, 1000 Mbps, Link/Activity
Power ConsumptionMin: 5 watts (standby)Max: 120 wattsPoE Max: 105 watts(7 x 15 watts PoE devices connected or 3 x 30 watts PoE+ devices connected)
TemperatureOperating: 0° ~ 40°C (32° ~ 104°F)Storage: -20° ~ 90°C (-4° ~ 194°F)
HumidityMax 90% (non-condensing)
Dimensions142 x 95 x 30 mm (5.6 x 3.7 x 1.2 in.)
Weight400 g (14 oz.)
CertificationsCE, FCC
PoE
Power over EthernetUp to 15.4 watts for PoE
Up to 30 watts for PoE+
PoE: pin 3, 6 for power+ and pin 1, 2 for power- (mode A)

Living with it

We use a couple of PoE devices on our network from time to time, though we normally use them with external power supplies.

Both our IP camera and VOIP phone worked flawlessly with the TPE-TG80g when in PoE mode.  There was no noticeable difference in the performance of either device, other than the lack of a separate power cable going into the back of them.

At the same time, there was no impact on performance of the switch from the PoE devices.  Had the status LEDs on the front of the switch not been illuminated, there would have been no clue that the devices were making use of the PoE features.

We also spent a bit of time throwing data around our network just to see how the switch would handle a busier network.  While throwing around large files we experienced transfer rates around the same rate as other gigabit switches that we’ve tested, and saw no detriment to the power provided to the camera and phone.  Nor did we experience any disruption to the video feed from the camera, or the voice quality on the phone.

Conclusions

Most home users probably won’t consider a PoE switch, it’s still very much a business thing.  But small business owners with one or move PoE devices should definitely add the TPE-TG80g to their shortlist when looking at buying a PoE switch.

That being said, with things like VOIP phones and IP cameras becoming more common in the home market, home users should consider whether a PoE switch would be a good way to future proof their network.

In either environment, the advantages of PoE are clear.  Not only does it mean that you don’t have to run power to each device on your network, but if your PoE switch is protected by a battery backup such as a UPS then you’ll find that your devices will remain useful even if there is a power cut.  This is particularly useful for things like cameras and phones where you need to maintain connectivity to the devices during events like power cuts.

TheTPE-TG80g is far from being the only PoE+ switch out there, but it is one that you should consider buying.  Its straight forward design and possibly bomb proof make-up should make it the ideal PoE companion to your existing home or business network.

Author

Matt

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