In a smart building, smart city scenario and in the Internet of Things (IoT) realm, deploying digital ceiling Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches to deliver network connectivity and PoE to PDs (Powered devices) is beneficial. The deployment strategy of delivering power and data safely over the same Ethernet cable pairs equates to substantially increased efficiency, cost savings, and ease of installation. To achieve that, digital ceiling PoE switches support many features and technologies. Let’s briefly discuss some of them.
Microchip Technology (News - Alert) Inc., through its Microsemi subsidiary, offers the PDS-408G, a digital ceiling switch, which comes equipped with support for the above-mentioned standards and features. (Please refer to Fig. A. Microchip Technology’s Microsemi PDS-408G digital ceiling PoE switch).
A plenum-rated network switch such as the PDS-408G can be installed in the ceiling to provide automatic PoE power based on PoE PD device class and data connection concurrently for applications and systems such as:
Thus, a multitude of devices can securely connect to IP-based smart building control systems, energy monitoring/management, and building security monitoring/management applications. This enables us to control, command and collect usage data, which is very beneficial.
PDS-408G as a power sourcing equipment (PSE) provides gigabit Ethernet to the connected devices and centralized power management for the connected PoE devices. PDS-408G’s 4-pair PoE technology permits you to deliver 90W PoE power over 4 pairs very efficiently, while offering savings in cable loss. When the PDS-408G is powered by an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), the PDs can continue to receive power even, during power interruptions.
Hence, the PDS-408G will be the focus of our discussion and the ensuing functional and interoperability testing. You can access the datasheet for the PDS-408G here: Microchip Technology’s Microsemi PDS-408G
The Microsemi PDS-408G supports features and functions such as:
Let us, now conduct the functional and interoperability testing of the PDS-408G. During the test, we will deliver PoE power to the PDs and field real-time streaming media, video traffic, place inbound and outbound voice and video calls.
The test setup consisted of the MicrosemiPDS-408G (software release version 1.13), PoE firmware (24034356.1056.003) and the following systems (Please refer Fig. B. Functional and interoperability testing of Microsemi PDS-408G digital ceiling PoE ethernet switch):
Powered the PDS-408G, logged into the PDS-408G using a browser. On the web-based GUI, the left panel provided all the switch configuration and view options, including: Overview, Network (IPs MAC), Access Control, VLAN, PoE-BT-Power, Spanning Tree, SNMP, RADIUS TACACS+, Aggregation/LCP, LLDP, Port Isolation, Loop Protection, IGMP Snooping, Port Mirroring, Maintenance, Diagnostics etc. It’s basically everything that relates to the management and provisioning of the PDS-408G. We clicked/navigated and selected appropriate values for:
Network (IPs MAC) > configuration > ethernet ports for ethernet port configuration (Refer to Fig. C. PDS-408G Ethernet Port Configuration), >IP v4/6 for DNS servers, IPv4/IPv6 interfaces and IP routes (default-gateway), >NTP-enabled NTP configuration, >Time zone configuration.
VLAN > configuration for global VLAN configuration and port VLAN configuration, PoE-BT Power > set PoE-BT power for PoE configuration (Global configuration, extended power mode and uninterruptible power), port configuration (enable PoE, PoE mode 802.3BT or legacy), priority (low, high, critical), Terminal type/description.
Spanning tree > configuration > STP configuration (STPbridge configuration and STP port configuration).
LEDs on the PDS-408G convey the operational status of the ports. When, PoE LED (right) is green, power is delivered over 4 wire pairs; when it is orange, power is delivered over 2 wire pairs; when blinking green, there is a PoE error such as a short or overload. When the link LED (left) is green, the port link is up; when it is blinking, it is transmitting data and the link is up. As a network switch administrator, you can remotely power down the connected devices during periods of low use or power-cycle the devices. If we clicked on overview > unit overview, the unit overview page provided us the status of the port (network connectivity, PoE-status, PoE power usage, reset PoE, SFP module information, total PoE power consumption, switch temperature, etc.) It provided all essential information in real time.
Here, we could also reset any of the connected PoE PDs. We clicked on reset PoE and PoE power was shut down (PoE disabled) temporarily for that port for a few seconds, and then PoE power was restored (PoE Enabled). (Refer Fig. D. PDS-408G Unit Overview)
If we hovered the mouse on a port, it displayed the port network status, and when you click on the port, it opens a page with the port statistics details for that port. We configured the requisite parameters and connected our test PDs. Thus, the PoE and network connectivity for the GXV3370 IP video phone, DP752 DECT VoIP Base Station, GRP2614 carrier grade IP phone GWN7600 and GWN7610 Wi-Fi APs were provided by the Microsemi PDS-408G Digital Ceiling PoE switch.
We then clicked on PoE-BT, set PoE-BT power and put a check mark against uninterruptible power, updated and then saved running configuration. We restarted the PDS-408G (maintenance > Reset & restore unit > restart device) from the web GUI interface and observed that all the connected PDs continued to receive PoE power as the switch was restarting. (Refer to Fig. E. PDS-408G Power Over Ethernet Configuration). Next, we clicked on, maintenance > software update > select active image and activated the alternate image. Yet again, during the re-activation of the alternate image, all the connected PDs stayed up. This indeed is a very valuable feature, as we may need to restart the PDS-408G and or activate a software image after an upgrade to a new version, without powering down the connected PDs. This is especially vital for LED-light fixture PDs, as we will want the lights to stay on, even when the PSE is being restarted.
Under view PoE-BT power, for each port, it showed us important and relevant information in real time, such as the PoE status, Poe power (actual PoE power consumption by PD), PoE max-power (maximum power that PD can consume based on its class 0-8), PoE class (detected PoE PD class), PoE priority (user configured PoE priority) and PoE current (PoE current consumed by the PoE PD). (Refer to Fig. F. PDS-408G Power Over Ethernet Status)
The test devices powered up and successfully registered with the ITSP’s external SIP trunk/UCaaS call control platform in the cloud. We were able to run applications that required high bandwidth and low latency, such as real-time voice, video calls, streaming media and video-on-demand. The Patton Virtual SmartNode (vSN) as a Virtual Network Function (VNF) Session Border Controller (SBC) provided SIP registrar services and SIP demarcation from the public SIP trunk/UCaaS provider in the cloud, while maintaining interoperability and interconnectivity. Its provisioning and management were accomplished using the Patton Cloud, a single portal network orchestration tool.
PDS-408G’s configuration was easy and straightforward. From an administrator’s perspective, we were impressed by the simplicity of installation and versatility of the PDS-408G. We changed the PDS-408G settings using the web GUI. Settings also can be changed using CLI and/or telnet.
PDS-408G’s functions and features were easily accessible, thanks to its web-based management interface and we found that a simple deployment is just a few clicks away. The well laid out screens meant we just needed to follow the intuitive onscreen menu layout. Modification and configuration of PDS-408G’s features using the web-based Microsemi management interface gave us complete control of the unit’s administration, monitoring, reporting and alerting functions.
During our testing, Microchip Technology’s MicrosemiPDS-408G Digital Ceiling switch delivered both PoE and reliable connectivity and it was easy to deploy and manage. It is indeed a plug and play Digital Ceiling PoE switch.