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D-Link’s browser interface design is always accessible and the home page provides a complete overview of the switch plus all ports and VLANs. However, move to the screen that gives access to the PoE settings and you’ll see that the DES-1316K offers only basic facilities. This is a big differentiator between vendors at the moment with a real mixed bag of capabilities being offered even by some of the big names. Take Hewlett Packard’s PoE switches for example. Management of its ProCurve products has always been exemplary but neither of its PoE switches offer any access to power settings from their web browser interfaces so you have to fiddle with the CLI and a serial port link. D-Link may provide web access but there’s little you can do to control power. Each PoE capable port can have its power supply enabled or disabled individually but the only other features are a display showing supplied power in Watts, voltage and Mw.
More sophisticated switches allow you to prioritise power settings so that if the drain becomes too great then ports with a lower priority will be powered off first allowing devices attached to high priority ports to continue functioning. Nevertheless, we encountered no problems during testing as the switch worked perfectly with our test Axis 211 network camera and 3Com Series 8000 access point.
For normal Ethernet operations the switch supports 802.1q VLANs and 802.1p packet prioritisation while port mirroring allows you to send data from one port to another with a network analyzer attached. You can join either two or four ports together to form high-speed trunk links to another switch or server although this is only possible on the non-PoE ports.
The extra features we alluded to at the start of this review are the bundled pair of DWL-P50 adapters. These are connected at the end of the network cable run where they split the power feed out and convert it to either 5V or 12V as determined by a small switch on the side of the module. This allows non-PoE devices to be powered over the network by connecting them to the adapter via the supplied female-to-female power cables. However, not all devices will work with this and we found the external power socket on our Axis 211 camera was smaller than the cable plug so would not fit. You can purchase extra adapters which cost around £20 each.
Very small businesses looking for a simple, low cost PoE compliant switch will find the DES-1316K is well worth considering. However, management features are minimal – particularly those for power control – so if you want more PoE capabilities then check out 3Com’s BaseLine 2626-PWR Plus. It does cost twice as much but offers 24 PoE ports, Gigabit uplinks, full web management access and support for three per-port power priorities.