D-Link DES-1526 PoE Smart Switch review

Price when reviewed

The DES-1526 represents D-Link’s first serious stab at the power over Ethernet (PoE) switching market. The company did make a tentative move into this territory earlier this year with the DES-1316K, but it was quite literally a half-measure, as the 16-port Fast Ethernet switch provided power on only eight of its ports.

D-Link DES-1526 PoE Smart Switch review

The DES-1526 is a more serious contender, since it offers PoE support on all 24 dual-speed ports and backs them up with a set of dual-personality ports for high-speed Gigabit uplinks. It’s a standard end-span device, so it provides power over the same Ethernet wire pairs used for data delivery, allowing end devices to be powered directly from the switch. Being fully 802.3af compliant, the switch contains automatic-detection circuitry that prevents it from sending power to non-compliant terminal devices. A useful optional product is D-Link’s DWL-P50 power adaptor, which also allows non-PoE-compliant devices to be powered from the switch.

The DES-1526 provides a good range of status LEDs. A matrix to the left of the ports advises on link status, speed and activity. PoE information is good, as separate indicators show which ports are providing power or have failed. A single LED also indicates when supplied power is reaching the maximum for the switch. Note that the total power this switch can supply is only 170W, so you may not be able to use all the ports to power attached devices.

Installation is simple enough. D-Link’s Web Management utility automatically searches the network for D-Link switches and displays them ready for configuration. Pick a switch from the list and you can then manually assign an IP address to it or select DHCP and provide an administrative password. It’s a handy tool, as it provides direct access for firmware upgrades and, once the switch has been added to the monitoring list, it can maintain a log of SNMP traps. Web browser access is supported and D-Link offers a simple but well-designed interface that opens with an overview of switch, port and VLAN status.

The switch supports the standard mix of VLANs, port trunking, mirroring and 802.1p packet prioritisation, but PoE gets more attention than the DES-1316K. The PoE status screen shows supplied power and voltage for each port, but also indicates the Power Device Classification of the attached device. The switch can use this information to automatically set a limit on the power for each PoE port. However, you can use one of three manual settings to configure the maximum power for selected ports; if this threshold is breached, power is disabled. We encountered no problems testing with an Axis 211 PoE network camera and 3Com Series 8000 access point. The switch correctly identified their power classifications. The PoE status screen also provides an overview of supplied power and shows total available and used power in Watts and as a percentage.

PoE offerings currently on the market are a mixed bag. Many products, such as HP’s ProCurve 2626-PWR, don’t even provide browser access to PoE settings. The DES-1526 does this and more, making it a good, cost-effective choice for companies looking to extend power out to the network edge.

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