The 802.3af PoE (Power over Ethernet) specification may have been ratified as long ago as June 2003 but it’s only now that we’re starting to see some switching vendors taking it seriously. Smaller businesses looking to inject power into their networks have had a raw deal with few low-cost products making it onto the market. The DES-1316K PoE Switch is D-Link’s first foray into this market and looks to remedy this situation by offering a bunch of 802.3af compliant ports at a very affordable price and an extra feature that makes it that little bit more versatile.
The PoE specification is designed to free up many network devices from the distance constraints imposed by power sockets. The placement of equipment such as network IP camera, wireless access points and IP telephony handsets has always been restricted by the need to be close to a power outlet but PoE does away with this.
Along with most products available today the DES-1316K is an end-span device. It provides power over the same wire pairs as used for data delivery so end devices can be powered directly from the switch. Being fully 802.3af compliant, the switch contains automatic detection circuits that prevent it from sending power to non-compliant terminal devices, ensuring that only those devices that present an authenticated PoE signature will receive power.
The DES-1316K adheres to D-Link’s design philosophy of dull brown chassis. Despite offering sixteen dual-speed Ethernet ports, note that they are separated into two groups and only the left-hand group of eight ports is capable of providing power. As the latter are 802.3af compliant they can be used for connecting normal end devices such as workstations as without the correct signature they won’t supply power. The front panel provides a matrix of LEDs showing network link status, speed and activity while separate LEDs for the PoE ports reveal whether they are providing power or have suffered a power failure.
Installation is a swift affair as the switch does not provide a serial port for access to the CLI (command line interface). Instead you load the bundled Web-Management Utility which discovers D-Link switches on the network and displays them ready for configuration. This allows you to change the IP address for management access if required but it also maintains of log of SNMP traps and provides the tools to upgrade the unit’s firmware.