Ubiquiti Network Switches
Full disclosure: As I always do, I want to make sure you know up front why I am writing this beyond the obvious reasons of love of writing and website traffic and information for you the users. I recently completed an install with lots of PoE devices and am working on a different project that requires over 100 enet ports (PoE and non PoE). It made me start thinking about writing an article on all of the types of switches that Ubiquiti offers. I don’t get any kick backs from Ubiquiti for writing this article. It is for my and your information only.
You don’t have to go with Ubiquiti. However, they do make nice hardware and their software is good and getting better. They have come a long way recently from the gen1 cloud key days. I choose to install Ubiquiti because it is solid stuff with nice remote access and other features. With the addition of the Ubiquiti Dream Machine Pro, you can easily add UniFi Protect (cameras), UniFi Access (door controls) and UniFi Voice (VOIP phones) to your small business or even home. It is a nice package, and everything works well together. NOTE: you can only run UniFi Access and UniFi Voice on the UDM-Pro – UniFi Dream Machine Pro.
We are not, however, talking about the UDM-PRO for this article. I want to look at all the switches Ubiquiti has and do a brief dive into certain switches on the list. I listed out all the switches in a table below with some interesting features for each switch. You can see the full list on the Ubiquiti website as well.
I want to look at one of the last switches on this list first. It is the UniFi Switch Industrial. Why start at the end first? My main reason is a selfish one. The industrial version of UniFi Switch Industrial stomps very closely in my other work area which is Industrial Automation. I did not know that Ubiquiti had an industrial switch. Let’s take a closer look at this beast.
Ubiquiti UniFi Switch Industrial
The UniFi Switch Industrial (USW-Industrial) is a very rugged looking switch. I would love to test this switch versus an N-Tron switch by Red Lion. I think that would be a very interesting test. I believe the USW-Industrial would win. For one, I know that the N-Tron does not have PoE capabilities like the USW-Industrial does.
UniFi Industrial Switch
The front of the UniFi Industrial Switch has (10) RJ45 LAN ports. the cool thing here is that eight of those ports are auto-sensing, high power 802.3bt PoE++. That is they support the latest version of PoE and can supply up to 60W per port. That means you can even power a UniFi LED Panel with those ports.
With more and more ioT type devices going to PoE, it has some future proofing in it which is awesome for a plant setting. The PoE ports support 802.3 af and 802.3 at PoE as well (older versions of the protocol).
The USW-Industrial is fanless with a nice plenum-rated heat sink on its back. The enclosure is die-cast aluminium with a nice black, powder coated finish.
All the ports on the USW-Industrial are 1 gigabit RJ45. The switch can run on 110V or 240VAC. That is also very useful for an industrial environment.
In short this small switch is a very capable and powerful piece to add to your Industrial Automation network. You can buy the switch at around $320. This is very reasonable and a nice alternative to say a Rockwell Automation Stratix switch which is a lot more expensive but can be had with a PoE option.
You could use a Red Lion N-Tron EB-5ES-PSE-2SC and above model switch to get PoE. However, those switches only support PoE 802.3af which is the oldest of the PoE standards and is unlikely to support a light panel or other newer PoE device.
Ubiquiti Network Switches – PoE not Pro’s
Ubiquiti offers three base level PoE switches in three different packages with three different total port setups. The UniFi Switch 16 PoE Gen2, UniFi Switch 24 PoE Gen2 and the UniFi Switch 48 Gen2 are those switches. You can see that obviously the 16 PoE has 16 ports, the 24 PoE has 24 ports and so on. Lets take a closer look at exactly what you get in each switch.
Ubiquiti UniFi 16 PoE Gen2
The Ubiquiti UniFi 16 PoE Gen2 switch has 16 ports. However, only (8) of those ports are PoE. The switch supports the 802.3 af/at PoE protocol and not the newer 802.3 bt PoE++ standard. The network switch includes (2) 1 gigabit SFP ports and is rack mountable. It is a nice switch. You just have to make sure you don’t need more than (8) PoE ports.
Ubiquiti UniFi 24 PoE Gen2
The Ubiquiti UniFi 24 PoE Gen2 switch has 24 ports. However, only (16) of those ports are PoE. The network switch supports older 802.3 af/at PoE standard (like its cousin above). It does not support the 802.3 bt PoE++ standard. It included (2) 1 gigabit SFP ports and is rack mountable.
The Ubiquiti UniFi 48 PoE Gen2 switch has 48 ports. However, only (32) of those ports are PoE. The network switch supports older 802.3 af/at PoE standard (like its cousin above). It does not support the 802.3 bt PoE++ standard. It included (2) 1 gigabit SFP ports and is rack mountable.
List of Components Examined
The Ubiquiti Network Switches – PoE Pro!
If you want to get serious about PoE power, you can move up to the Ubiquiti Pro PoE line of switches. They have two Pro PoE switches: the UniFi Switch PRO 24 PoE and the UniFi Switch PRO 48 PoE.
The UniFi PRO 24 PoE includes (8) 802.3bt (PoE++) ports and (16) 802.3at (PoE+) ports. It has all Gigabit RJ45 ports and (2) SFP+ (10Gigabit) ports. The SFP+ ports are uplink ports for more powerful aggregation to increase network capacity. The switch can provide up to 400W of PoE power. It includes a 1.3″ touchscreen.
The UniFi PRO 48 PoE includes (8) 802.3bt (PoE++) and (40) 802.3at (PoE+) ports as well as (4) 10 Gig SFP+ uplink ports. All the port (non SFP) are gigabit RJ45 type ports. The switch can supply up to 600W of PoE power. It includes the sweet Ubiquiti 1.3″ touchscreen. This is a nice switch.
The Ubiquiti Network Switches – UniFi Flex Mini
I want to highlight the UniFi Flex Mini (SKU: USW-Flex-Mini) not because it is an amazing powerhouse of a switch but because it can be POWERED via PoE 802.3 af/at. That is awesome! It also has a 5V, 1A USB-C power adaptor if you need it.
Ubiquiti Flex Mini (USW-Flex-Mini)
The switch consumes 2.5W and has (5) RJ45 10/100/1000 Mbps auto-sensing ports. It is not rack mountable, but it is a nice, compact size switch that is versatile enough to use in lots of places. I love the fact that you could expand the capabilities of an area by just plugging it into a PoE powered e-net cable and voila you have 4 extra gigabit network ports available.
Ubiquiti Network Switches – UniFi Switch Lite 8 and 16 PoE
On the lower end of the PoE spectrum, you have the UniFi Switch Lite 8 PoE and UniFi Switch Lite 16 PoE . The 8 PoE (SKU: USW-Lite-8-PoE) supports Layer 2 capabilities and supplies 8 gigabit e-net ports for RJ45 devices. It has auto-sensing PoE and PoE+ (802.3af/at) ports (so it is no shrinking violet for PoE) and can provide a total of 52W for PoE devices.
TheUniFi 16 PoE (SKU: USW-Lite-16-PoE) has (8) auto-sensing 802.3at PoE+ ports that can supply a total wattage of 45W for PoE devices. All the ports are gigabit RJ45 e-net ports.
Ubiquiti Switch Lite 16 PoE
I like pretty much all of the Ubiquiti switches. I have a man crush on the industrial switch and of course the UDM-Pro dream machine as well as the UniFi Switch PRO 24 PoE and PRO 48 PoE. However, they have a ton of options, so I am sure you will be able to find one switch that you like. The hardware is rock solid, and as I said before, their software is good and getting better.
I hope this article helps someone evaluate and choose network equipment for their project. – Erik