Network Switches That Don’t Require Power: Do They Exist?

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Are you thinking to buy a suitable network switch? Surely you have a lot of questions in your mind. What people mostly ask is whether or not the networks switch requires any power source to function. This especially becomes a cause of concern when you don’t have a power source near the place where you think of positioning it. 

Yes, irrespective of the type, network switches need the power to function. Some require AC power while people can use power over Ethernet or USB to power other types of network switches. The second option comes to use where you don’t have any direct access to a power source. 

Network Switches That Don’t Require Power

If in case, there’s no main Power source or it’s too difficult to access it the only convenient option left is to use Power Over Ethernet. This is a relatively new technology that has brought about a revolution. If you are using Power Over Ethernet, remember that you also require a power injector to deliver power to the network switch. We have talked about PoE and power injectors in detail in this post. But first, we would know what a network switch is. Continue to read below to know more.

What is a network switch? 

Remember that a network switch isn’t a light switch or a Nintendo switch. It’s a box that connects to your home router to get more Ethernet ports. A network switch can be considered to be a USB hub that’s used for networking. 

Now, most people don’t need a network switch. If you have a home router, you must have seen that it comes with about four Ethernet in-built ports. Since every device on a home network like game consoles, laptops, phones, and streaming boxes used Wi-Fi anyway, most people don’t need to buy a network switch separately. 

But, if your router doesn’t come with a sufficient number of ports, and you have innumerable devices to connect to the internet you might consider buying a network switch. 

Is power necessary for all network switches? 

Like we already mentioned, yes, all network switches need to be powered for their functioning. Now there are different ways in which you can power them. For instance, you can power them using AC or USB. Usually, most network switches consume AC Power. If you are opting to use AC power, it will already have a power supply. Users only have to plug it into a wall outlet and get done with the job. 

But if your switch is unmanaged, the solution is different. However, there’s no need to worry. We have you covered. Firstly, provide a power supply to it. Next, plug the devices that you want to connect into it by using the Ethernet cables. This setup isn’t exclusively for unmanaged switches. Remember that some managed switches too require a setup afterward. After you supply power to it, you can use the switch and do whatever steps need to be done. 

If there’s no power outlet in or around the area where you want to position the network switch, you are expected to face issues. Usually, people face this issue as they don’t have sufficient outlets for power. 

This issue makes you think of the possible options you are left with. If you are wondering the same, continue to read this guide below. 

How to solve the issue? 

If any user is worried because he can’t use the main power supply to run the network switch, he doesn’t have to worry. The good news is that there are still a few options available that one can opt for. 

One can use a network switch powered by USB or use Power Over Ethernet. 

Now if you wonder which of the options is a more reliable option, choose the latter. Usually USB powered network switches don’t function properly and several users have remained unsatisfied. 

Is power necessary for all network switches

They aren’t usually quite powerful. They also come with limited ethernet ports. Also, in this method, users have to look for a USB port that would work as a source of power. 

If you place the USB port right on the faceplate of the main power supply, it doesn’t look good. So it’s better to avoid that option and opt for using Power Over Ethernet instead. 

What Is Power Over Ethernet?

This technology has simply revolutionised the wireless networking concept by supplying data as well as electricity over the same Ethernet cable. This technology is the most used one that’s highly utilised nowadays to build wireless enterprise networks. 

In other words, Power Over Ethernet is the process in which electrical power, besides data is being supplied over one Ethernet cable. Thus, over one Ethernet cable, you can access both data and power and supply it to your devices. This makes the work much convenient and easier for people. 

The devices that work using PoE are known as power sourcing equipment or powered devices. Sometimes, they are referred to as both. Now, the device that transmits the power is called the pse while the one that receives the Power and data is called PD.

We would now go over to the working of an Ethernet cable in detail below. 

If you consider a standard Ethernet cable you would find 8 individual wires. They are usually joined together forming 4 pairs. A few years back, when only 100 MB networks were used, Ethernet cables used to have only two pairs for transferring data. The rest of the two pairs existed for supplying power. 

Now, in present times, most networks supper 1000 MB. So obviously, they come with increased requirements. Therefore, Ethernet cables must come in at least 4 pairs. 

In simple terms, Power over Ethernet functions by providing a voltage of avoiding 48 volts into the Ethernet cables. As you can see, this isn’t a high-power input. Therefore, PoE keeps everything safe while also delivering sufficient power to the device, thus allowing it to work effectively.  

What Is Power Over Ethernet

Now, some criteria must be met when it comes to choosing a PoE network. The two most common are 802.3af and 802.3at.

The former is usually called PoE whereas the latter is called PoE+. 

You would be wondering how are these two different. They are different based on the quantity of power that any device can utilise when they are being connected to PoE. 

Now, if you are sure about using PoE to supply power to your connected devices. Do you know what must be done to set up everything in the right order? Only connecting the ethernet cable and the PoE isn’t all. There’s so much more left. 

What you can do is use a PoE injector. Some people also buy another extra PoE switch. This switch can draw electricity from the mains and power itself. This option isn’t recommended highly because it’s more costly than the first option we suggested. 

A PoE injector makes a non-PoE switch connects to PoE devices. That’s how it works. These devices can range from anything like your PoE switch to a single Ethernet cable. 

PoE injectors are quite easily installable. They allow users to broaden their network, by being within budget at the same time. You don’t have to buy extra switches or extra networking equipment.  

Are you wondering how to use a PoE injector? It’s simple. All you have to do is connect it to an Ethernet cable coming from the router. Next, connect another cable from the PoE injector and connect it to the PoE switch. 

These injectors need an AC power supply, so you must be wondering how you are using PoE injectors when you can directly plug your switch into the main power supply. If this is your question, you should know the using a PoE injector is beneficial in certain ways. Firstly, it offers enhanced flexibility around the place where you are positioning the switch. Make sure the injector is placed close to the ethernet cable.

Do you know that the length of an Ethernet cable can be up to 1000m? Considering that length, you can position your network switch anywhere around its vicinity because connecting it to the cable wouldn’t be difficult.

So, the final message here is that running a long ethernet cable all through your house is more convenient than running a longer AC power supply. 


By now you must know that no matter what kind of network switch you have bought, you must supply power to it for its functioning. Usually, people use the AC power supply but using PoE is more convenient. 

Experts don’t recommend using USB powdered switches because they don’t offer unlimited USB power. Hence switches don’t perform effectively. Also, USB switches come with a handful of Ethernet ports. Therefore the most reliable option to consider is PoE. Power Over Ethernet is the best way to opt for if you want to deliver an unlimited power supply to your network switch. All you need to remember is that you need a PoE injector for that purpose.