How to Provide 2.5Gb POE to a WiFi 6 Access Point? Best Switches & Injectors

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I am currently in the process of reviewing the EnGenius ECS2512FP, which is an 8-port 2.5G Cloud Managed POE Switch with an additional 4x 10Gb SFP+ ports.

I started covering the best affordable 2.5Gb POE options within the review only to realise it was getting too long and distracting from the review itself. So I have split it off into this post.

WiFi 6 has become mainstream now, and we have WiFi 6E routers and access points starting to trickle out with WiFi 7 on the horizon, which we will hear more of at CES.

With WiFi 6 and the 160Mhz channel width, it is finally possible to go well above gigabit transfer speeds, but in most scenarios, this is limited by the gigabit Ethernet connection.

2.5GbE Access Points

Some access points have a 2.5GbE uplink, though some of these can’t do 160Mhz. Options include:

However, anyone with one of the above access points may have struggled to power them while also having the full 2.5G connection speed.

During my research, it turns out quite a few options have launched over the past year or so. None are incredibly affordable, but it is not as bad as it once was.

How to provide 2.5Gb POE to an access point?

POE Injectors

The most affordable solution has been to use a 2.5G compatible PoE injector with a cheap 2.5GbE switch, but these cost quite a lot. The Zyxel POE12-30W is around £75, and the  TRENDnet TPE-215GI is £65.

It is quite possible a standard POE injector will be able to achieve 2.5G, but the outcome will likely be hit or miss. Worth trying in a home environment, not so much in business.

If your access point has a DC port, you could, of course, power it this way then wire it up to a cheap 2.5GbE switch, but this is even messier than the PoE injector solution and likely, not practical for business environments.

2.5-Gigabit POE Switches

The most sensible option is a switch with 2.5-Gigabit POE ports, some options are not quite as expensive as I was expecting, and they could be a viable solution for home users. If you are deploying WiFi 6 access points within a business, I would say most of these are reasonably affordable.

TP-Link TL-SG3210XHP-M2

  • 8x 2.5 Gbps ports
  • 240W POE Budget
  • 2x 10 Gbps SFP+
  • Omada Cloud Managed or Local

For around £315, this looks like one of the best options out there, and this could probably fall within what I deem as an acceptable price for home/SOHO/small business use.  I have not used TP-Link Omada myself, but I know an IT company that uses it for the lower budget jobs.  

Netgear MS510TXPP or MS510TXUP

Sale
NETGEAR 10-Port PoE 10G Multi-Gigabit Smart Switch...
  • 4 x 1G, 2 x 1G/2.5G, 2 x 1G/2.5G/5G, and 1 x 10G...
  • 8 PoE+ ports with 180 W total power budget
  • 1 x 10G SFP+ port
  • Smart software with easy-to-use interface offers...
  • 4 x 1G, 2 x 1G/2.5G, 2 x 1G/2.5G/5G, and 1 x 10G
  • 180W or 295W POE Budget
  • 1x 10 Gbps SFP+ shared with the 10G Ethernet
  • Localy managed

This has been out for years, and until recently, it was probably the best option for multi-gig POE. This is one of the smart-managed switches, so it has advanced features, but it lacks the cloud managed Insight service.

This costs around £340 on Amazon for the lower-powered model, or there is the MS510TXUP with a higher 295W budget for around £540

EnGenius ECS2512FP

  • 8x 2.5 Gbps ports
  • 240W POE Budget
  • 2x 10 Gbps SFP+
  • EnGenius Cloud Managed, ezMaster or Local – For EnGenius cloud, there is no cloud key required, free and pro options

Buy from LambdaTek

EnGenius have three options for management, the new EnGenius Cloud service which is available for free or with added features via a pro service. ezMaster is a self-hosted solution or you can go the old fashioned route with a local web GUI.

In the UK, prices range from £635 to £872.68. Taking the lower price this gives you a cost of £79.38 per POE port.

Zyxel XS1930-12HP

ZyXEL 8-Port Multi-Gig + 2 10G Copper + 2 10G Fiber...
  • Equipped with 8 Multi-Gigabit PoE ports, with...
  • Every copper port supports network speed of...
  • Industry-first 5-color LED for every port speed.
  • Supports IEEE 802.3bt PoE++ offering a maximum of...
  • 10 x 10 Gbps ports
  • 375 W POE Budget
  • 2x 10 Gbps SFP+
  • Zyxel Nebula Cloud Managed or Local GUI – No cloud key required, Nebula has free and pro options

The Zyxel is by far the most expensive option on this list, but also by far the most highly specced switch. You have ten 10GbE POE ports with a 375 W POE Budget.

Last update on 2022-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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