I recently installed a range of PoE CCTV cameras across my property, which are streaming 3K and 4K video data to my Synology NAS 24/7. As a result, I needed a safe and reliable Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch that would power my CCTV cameras AND ALSO reliably handle the large amount of 24/7 camera footage.
Unfortunately the ‘big name’ brands like TP-Link and Netgear were fairly expensive, so I ended up taking my previous advice (that the make of network switch doesn’t matter) and buying the Mercusys MS108GP PoE network switch.
I hadn’t heard of Mercusys before, but the network switch has been ultra reliable for me so far – as I explore in this video. I also cover the pros/cons of this video, and my other thoughts on this Mercusys PoE switch.
If you prefer text over video, please read on for the guide/transcript version of this video.
Video Transcript & Guide
Hey everyone, I was recently looking to buy two power over Ethernet Gigabit switches but the prices of the “normal” reputable brands like Netgear and TP-Link seemed quite high, so I went looking for other brands and merc-you-says merc-uh-sus merc-you-sic popped up:
They were CHEAP – less than half the price of other Gigabit PoE switches. They also had great reviews, showing as 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon:
Mercusys MS108GP PoE Switch
I previously discussed why the MAKE of network switch doesn’t really matter, so I took my own advice and bought the MS108GP from a company I’d never heard of before. When it arrived I noticed that it had a TP-Link sticker on it – giving a 3 year warranty – noice. I hadn’t realised this before buying it, but merc-you-says wait merc-you-sic basically gives you TP-Link’s firmware AND reliability at a much cheaper price, due to Mercusys being the “budget” networking brand of TP-Link.
While Mercusys sell a range of networking products including routers and “normal” switches, this particular one is a Power over Ethernet switch. This means that it can send both internet data AND electrical power down the Ethernet cable, powering a range of devices including CCTV cameras:
What I’m Using This For
And THAT’S exactly what I use these switches for: I have a few 3k and 4k cameras that are powered solely with an Ethernet cable, and they then record 24/7 to my Synology NAS.
This means that these Mercusys switches perform a crucial role – they need to power multiple cameras AND ensure that a large amount of data is sent reliably through the switch. So far, Mercusys ticks all the boxes.
Now this device is NOT a managed switch, meaning that I’m a bit limited in what investigations I can carry out on this switch. After all, there’s no management dashboard that allows me to monitor and modify the traffic flows to the connected devices. BUT I’ve been using these switches for a month so far, and I’ve had no issues with them – there are never any gaps in my 24/7 recordings, and I can access and modify my PoE camera’s recordings and settings anytime I want, without experiencing any blips. So that’s always a good sign.
Energy Usage And PoE Budget
Energy usage is super low, too. At idle it uses around 1 watt of energy, and then when I plug each of my Annke PoE cameras in, energy use jumps up around 2 and a half watts on average. As you can see, it jumps around a bit but it’s over 3 watts when the first camera is plugged in.
Once the second camera is plugged in, it settles close to 6 watts. That’s entirely expected, though – these are POWER over Ethernet cameras, meaning that the more PoE devices you add, the more power is consumed by the PoE switch.
This brings us to the only “bad” point of this Mercusys switch, actually. A PoE switch will have a “power budget”, which is basically the maximum amount of power it can supply IN TOTAL. This particular Mercusys switch can supply a total of 65 watts of power, across the seven PoE ports. This compares to some rival switches that can supply 123 watts (or more) across their power over Ethernet switches – albeit at a MUCH higher price:
The Mercusys one is more than 4 times cheaper than the Netgear one I just showed. And in my case, 65 watts of power is sufficient – even if I hooked up 7 PoE cameras, only 15 watts of power would be needed in total.
So that’s fine for my use, although there ARE some power over Ethernet devices (such as wireless access points) that require up to 45 watts of power – so you’d then struggle to use this Mercusys switch for these.
The different power deliveries over Ethernet are known as “classes”, and this Mercusys switch supports up to class 4 devices – basically up to 30 watts of power to an individual device, as per the 802.3at standard. That’s good enough for me, but big power users of PoE – see what I did there – would need to look elsewhere.
Other Useful Features
Turning back to the general features of this switch, it supports up to Gigabit speeds which is good because some BUDGET PoE devices are still capped at 100 Megabit speeds. This is an ACTIVE PoE switch and as I discussed more in another video, but this basically means that you can freely plug in non-PoE devices without worrying about them getting fried.
This switch allows us to turn on “port isolation” via a physical switch on the back, and this separates each device so that they can’t “see” each other – preventing potential snooping risks.
Another cool feature is that Power over Ethernet can lose power when the Ethernet cable is run across a very long distance… my arms aren’t long enough… but thankfully this switch has another button that extends the range up to 250 metres – although this then drops the internet speeds down to just 10 megabits, which is naturally quite slow. But if you did have a PoE device that was REALLY far away, this could be a useful feature for you.
Look And Feel
The device itself looks and feels really nice. It has a metal case which I always prefer to plastic cases. Not only are metal switches better for cooling reasons, but they look much better in my opinion. This switch runs really quietly too – I can barely hear anything unless I put my ear next to it. I can’t hear a thing. Wait. You can also wall mount it as expected.
Before wrapping up, there’s one other REALLY IMPORTANT thing I have to mention. The size of the port lLEDs. No I haven’t hit my head, this is actually an important point. I bought a TP-Link switch a few months ago and the port LEDs are TINY on it. I was constantly thinking that my devices had all gone offline. Thankfully this Mercusys switch has proper size LEDs that clearly show when data (and power) is flowing through a port.
And that wraps up this review. I should point out that I haven’t been sent this product for free, and I’m not being paid to say nice things about it. Mercusys and TP-Link PROBABLY don’t know that I exist, which makes me sad. I purchased this switch with my own cold, hard cash (well, a digital payment) because I needed the product. And it SEEMS like a really good product: I’d happily buy from Mercusys again. I have only been using the switch for a month though, so if I experience problems down the line, I’ll let you know in the comments.
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