A Very Cool Self-Enclosed Managed Hardened Gigabit Ethernet PoE Switch

Brilliance Security Magazine recently had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with GlenNiece Kutsch and Dennis Troxel of Transition Networks to see what we could learn about their new self-enclosed, managed, harden, gigabit ethernet, PoE++ switches. That seemed like a lot of adjectives to describe a network switch so we just had to learn more and share it with you, our readers.

To give us a little background, Dennis said, “PoE++ is a new specification that IEEE has put out. Before that, there was 802.3af and 802.3at. These are your 15 and 30-watt specs and now there’s a 60-watt to 90-watt spec called 802.3bt.” This spec was just recently ratified by the IEEE.

We talked about what some of the security equipment applications might be for the new PoE specification.  Dennis commented, “If you look at a camera provider like AXIS, they have what’s called a Q6000. It’s a 360-degree camera with a PTZ under it. They actually meld together and there’s one cable so now you need to have 60 watts because you’re powering two cameras.”

There are other relevant applications as well.  Dennis explained that “Transition Networks deals with companies such as Leviton, Cree, and Hubbell. They are lighting manufacturers that are making PoE lighting. It’s LED PoE, and they need the 90 watts PoE power to do that. Soon we will have HVAC systems, thermostats, and lighting – all of those things actually powered by PoE as opposed to being utility power.”

Dennis and GlenNiece told us about the “hardened” and “self-enclosed” characteristics of these new switches.  GlenNiece said, “What we did is we took everything you need with that switch and we put it in its own enclosure, and it’s small. It’s about 10 by 11 inches and you can mount that switch directly on a pole or a wall.”  Dennis added, “It’s an industrial switch. It can go minus 40 to plus 75 C, so it has that range of temperature. You need no external enclosure because this is in an IP66 cabinet, which is a case around it that is already hardened. So the switch is obviously the guts and if you open it up the switch is inside with all the required connections. But now an installer can buy that and just stick it right on a pole.”

Delving into the “managed” aspects of these switches, GlenNiece stated, “With many of our switches we are implementing an integrated device management software. So you can do things like PoE scheduling through the switch. If you want your cameras to be active only during business hours or only on weekends, you can schedule that.

You also have auto power reset. So if for some reason something goes down on your camera, it will auto power reset. You can say, I want it to ping that device three times. If it doesn’t respond, reset the device.

There are a couple other really unique things about the switch. We have developed an app to go along with the switch and there are two really unique features. One is an NFC antenna included in this switch. So what that allows you to do is to configure the switch before you power it up or connect anything. You can go through this app, enter in the assigned IP addresses, enter in your system information, and literally open the box the switch comes in then hold that tablet or smartphone up to the NFC antenna and it will program that switch.

The switch also has built-in BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). That comes in really handy for troubleshooting. Obviously, most of these are going to be installed in a high place, on a post or a wall. You may need a scissor lift or at the very minimum ladder to physically access the switch, right? Instead, you can communicate through the app, communicate through BLE with the switch to troubleshoot it. If there’s a problem, you can reset the switch.

We also have an option for wireless extension – if you have a situation like maybe a parking lot where you can’t trench new cable, you can attach a wireless antenna with the wireless module included in the switch. You can have a wireless directional antenna to transfer the data.”

As with all products we highlight, Brilliance Security Magazine has not tested this equipment to validate the claims of our interviewees, but this new line of switches from Transition Networks certainly seems to live up to its impressive list of adjectives.  If you use smart switches for security applications, we suggest that you check these out.

We included the datasheet for the SESPM1040-541-LT-xx Series of Self-Enclosed Managed Hardened Gigabit Ethernet PoE++ Switch to save you from having to look it up yourself.  Please note that this spec sheet is marked as “coming soon.” We’ll let Transition Networks field any questions about when these products are shipping.