In the modern era of technology, Power over Ethernet (PoE) has become a cornerstone for powering a wide array of networking equipment. From security cameras and intercoms to access points, PoE simplifies cabling and reduces installation costs. However, the convenience of PoE comes with an increased power demand, which poses a challenge during power outages.

The Limitation of UPS Systems

Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) are commonly used to provide backup power for networking equipment. They are designed to give users enough time to save data and safely shut down equipment during a power loss. However, most UPS systems are not equipped to handle the extended power requirements of modern PoE switches. A typical UPS might keep a PoE switch running for only a few minutes due to the high power draw of PoE-enabled devices.

Understanding PoE++ Switch Power Requirements

A standard PoE++ switch under full power load can draw between 1400w and 2000w. To put this into perspective, a 2700w UPS without external batteries will likely support a PoE++ switch for about 5 minutes. Even with external batteries, the runtime extends to only about 25 minutes. This is a stark contrast to the hours of backup power that might be expected from a UPS for non-PoE equipment.

The Case for Generators

For institutions like schools or businesses, maintaining network infrastructure during a power outage is crucial. Security systems, communication channels, and data access are all dependent on a stable network. In such scenarios, a UPS alone is insufficient. A properly-sized generator becomes necessary to ensure continuous operation.

Generators can provide the sustained power needed to keep PoE switches and connected devices running for the duration of an outage. Unlike a UPS, a generator can be refueled to keep providing power, making it an ideal solution for long-term outages.

Choosing the Right Generator

Selecting the right generator involves calculating the total power consumption of the PoE network and considering additional factors such as fuel type, noise levels, and maintenance requirements. It’s also important to factor in future network expansions when sizing a generator.

Upgrade Wiring

Because of the increased electrical current draw of PoE switches, the wiring and service to your network closet may require an upgrade. Determine the electrical load of the equipment in the rack and contact your electrician to determine if a wiring upgrade is required.


While UPS systems play a vital role in immediate power backup, they fall short in supporting PoE networking equipment for extended periods. Generators fill this gap, providing the necessary power to keep critical network infrastructure operational during prolonged outages. Investing in a generator is not just about keeping the lights on; it’s about ensuring security, communication, and access to data when it’s needed most.

For schools and businesses relying on PoE technology, a generator isn’t just a backup plan—it’s an essential component of a resilient network strategy.

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