When we have about 30 PoE and non-PoE mixed connections in our network, the problem of buying a 48-port PoE switch vs. 2 x 24-port PoE switch always puzzles us. If we already have one 24-port PoE switch in use and we’re just adding more ports, we can choose to buy a single 16-24 ports PoE switch or a 16-24 ports Ethernet access switch to connect the increased devices. But as for a newly built network or 30 newly-deployed PoE devices, we have to balance the pros and cons of choosing one 48-port switch vs. 2 24-port switches.
PoE Connectivity: 48-Port Switch vs. 2 24-Port Switch Debate
In terms of the cost, usually one 48-port PoE switch will cost more than two 24-port PoE switches of the same model, but it does not mean always. For example, buying the 48-port PoE+ managed switch FS S1600-48T4S is lower than buying two 24-port PoE+ managed switches FS S1600-24T4F. If we have a tight budget and concerns cost saving most, the 1 x 48-port switch vs. 2 24-port switch debate can end here by buying the cheaper choice. Otherwise, we have more factors to consider.
In the options of one 48-port switch vs. 2 24 port switches, if we choose to do the job with two 24-port PoE switches, then we may have to undertake these shortcomings, unless they do not matter in our case. Firstly, two 24-port PoE switches take up more space than a 48-port PoE switch. A fixed-chassis 48-port PoE switch takes up a standard 1 RU space of the rack while 2 x 24-port PoE switch will use more space than that whether it is the 1RU size or smaller. Secondly, if the 2 x 24-port PoE switches are not stacked then we have to do trunk between those two switches, which will eat up ports and give you only 46 ports available. At the same time, it provides an additional potential of bottleneck at the uplink port. Since the internal traffic on a switch is going to be gazillions of times faster than a 1G or even a 10G uplink between switches. But for a 48-port one, it will have fewer issues with bottleneck/congestion. The last concern is that two 24-port PoE switches are harder to manage than one 48-Port PoE switch, even when stacking the two.
When we decided to install only one 48-port switch versus 2 x 24-port switch, there are also some concerns in practice. The biggest issue is that we lose redundancy. If we have only one switch and it fails, we’re chained until we get the replacement, which could be over 24hrs away. But in a two switches’ scenario, if one switch fails at least half of our devices can still be up and running. Another thing we may lose is the separate placing of the 2 x 24-port switches. If we have a single rack to install them, then there’s no issue but if we want to place desktop switch for IP cameras and IP access points in different offices, we may not go with a 48-port PoE switch.
After the discussion about 48-port switch vs. 2 24-port switches, here are the conclusions we have. In terms of better performance, the 48-port PoE switch is over 2 x 24-port switch. There’s less possibility of creating congestion between the two switches at the uplink ports. For easier management of the devices, it is also suggested to go with one single 48-port PoE switch rather than 2 x 24-ports. All ports on the 48-port PoE switch could communicate between them at wire speed. When we need the redundancy, we’d better go with 2 x 24-port PoE switch. If we want to avoid some problems brought by trunking and separate managing, we can choose stackable PoE switches or modular switch with two 24-port modules, which will provide large backplane and can be managed as a whole.
The concerns that we discuss in this post are general ones that we may have in choosing one 48-port switch vs. 2 24-port switches for PoE devices. The final decision should depend on our key purpose of buying them. The above factors are several things that we can take into account when we face the similar issue.
Related article: How to Choose a Suitable 48-Port PoE Switch?