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I need to power 16 IP phones over their Ethernet connections. I am in the process of changing our switches and only the phones need PoE, everything else is powered by mains cables.

I have contacted the supplier of the phones and for 16 mains leads it will be close to £300. I know it's possible to get a PoE injector that goes between the mains and the phone but I would like to do this as tidily as possible and ideally in bulk.

I imagine something that looks like a switch but doesn't actually 'switch' if that makes sense. Basically I want to inject power to 16 devices at once.

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You can get multiport PoE injectors, e.g. this one:

http://www.midspans.com/pages/15w/POE370U_15.4W_8-16-24-port_midspan.php

(no idea if it's good or bad, first one I found with 16 ports).

  • Is that the name of these things 'midspans'? – dannymcc Nov 24 '11 at 23:16
  • I found that one googling for: multiport PoE injector – Ward - Reinstate Monica Nov 24 '11 at 23:17
  • Ha I've been googling for about an hour and didn't come across that. Thanks! – dannymcc Nov 24 '11 at 23:20
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I'd recommend a low-cost PoE switch or possibly purchasing a higher-end PoE switch/blade along with your switch refresh. The phones will be on their own network/vlan, correct? It may make sense to segregate them and provide a dedicated device (24 or 48 ports).

  • The phones are currently on the main (read: only) network. I want to upgrade the switches to support VLANS but a PoE layer 3 switch is expensive. I was thinking a midspan would allow me to upgrade the switches in years to come without worrying about PoE switch capabilities. – dannymcc Nov 24 '11 at 23:31
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    These days, if you're looking at higher-end switches, they'll often have a PoE option. If you're looking at chassis switches, that's definitely the case... But even with 1U rackmount switches, there's less of a penalty in adding PoE functionality. In my case, when I've just needed power, I'd buy a low-end PoE switch (e.g. Cisco SRW224G4P-K9-NA). – ewwhite Nov 24 '11 at 23:37
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    My last place of employment made a great deal of use out of the PowerConnect managed POE switches from Dell. They worked well for our environment and the cost difference was under $200 / switch (as compared to managed without POE) at the time. Considering the scalability it was right move. – Tim Brigham Nov 25 '11 at 0:33

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