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I'm new to networking and PoE but am trying to understand it enough to explain myself. I recently spoke to a Genisys lighting rep who told me their systems couldn't be on the same network as an IP camera system, or at least that is what I understood. I realize now there are managed and unmanaged switches, with hardware-based networks and logic-based networks. If I have a managed switch with IP cameras, could I add (generic) PoE lighting on the same network or would I need to create a logical network to keep the two systems from seeing one another? What if I got an unmanaged switch? Could I do this with one switch or would it take more?

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  • Are the lights addressable? Do you care who can talk to them? With a managed switch, they can segmented into their own VLAN. If your switch has enough power to run what it needs to run, and the lights, I don't see any problem.
    – Ricky
    May 17, 2022 at 22:00
  • The lights are addressable. From what I understand, their MAC addresses are used. No, I wouldn't want a teenage neighbor turning my lights off for a kick. So, it sounds like you'd recommend a managed switch? May 18, 2022 at 21:36

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If I have a managed switch with IP cameras, could I add (generic) PoE lighting on the same network or would I need to create a logical network to keep the two systems from seeing one another?

While there isn't any likely technical reason to seperate lighting systems from your data network, you should do so because of security considerations. IoT devices are often supported poorly, updated seldomly and they can pose a significant threat to your better kept devices.

Normally, traffic is separated using VLANs and firewall rules to permit/forbid specific traffic.

What if I got an unmanaged switch?

You can't separate traffic on a single unmanaged switch, so you'd require multiple ones.

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PoE switches are often responsible for powering telephones which are expected to work in the event of a power outage. This is achieved by backup power for the centralized switch farm(s). Typically battery backup is used here.

If a lighting rep is proposing Ethernet infrastructure to power the lights, I would want to know if there is a premium to pay and if so, what am I gaining by spending that extra money. People expect the lights to go out when the power goes out, but not the telephones.

Technically speaking it can all run on the same Ethernet switching infrastructure but as an engineer I would wonder why am I adding the lighting system on to my Ethernet switching infrastructure as WiFi is sufficient to communicate with IoT endpoints.

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    You're adding the "lighting system" because the lights need power. The first time I saw a ceiling-grid PoE LED panel, I thought it was neat, but the novelty evaporated instantly when looking at the cost of PoE ports. (unless you get lucky on ebay and get a $25 PoE switch because they didn't know it was PoE.)
    – Ricky
    May 17, 2022 at 22:05
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    @Ricky, it seems absurd to install / pay a premium for Ethernet PoE switching dedicated just for lighting systems. Or, am I wrong? May 18, 2022 at 0:01
  • @RonnieRoyston, manufacturers claim PoE adds a layer of cost savings and efficiencies to LED lighting previously untapped with traditional building wiring that uses AC, along with the ability to control those lights (millions of colors and cool effects) anywhere you can access the network. One cable, both power and communication, and you don't need an electrician's license to install it in many if not most areas. Do you think the costs outweigh the benefits? Are supposed benefits being stretched by marketing departments to attract buyers? Are inefficiencies shifting from LEDs to the switch? May 18, 2022 at 21:26
  • @Nicknamednick the connectivity to the lighting devices, or any IoT endpoints, can be delivered via wireless WiFi which is typically installed anyway. So the only potential value add I could see is in cabling/wiring, using the LAN to deliver the power. However, if lighting reps demand standalone LAN just for their system then it boils down to which is the better wiring choice to power the lights. May 19, 2022 at 2:05

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