Instructables

Power Over Ethernet Router Conversion

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The idea driving this project is to turn any standard, off-the-shelf router into a Power Over Ethernet (PoE)-capable (Wikipedia Description)[] unit without buying any adapters or additional hardware.

PoE is somthing fairly common in many business/office spaces. For example, many wireless access points in office buildings and universities use the technology so they don't have to run a power receptacle to wireless access points. For this instructable though, we're going to use PoE in a residential setting. Even the big router companies are starting to sell these adaptors to consumers like this Linksys WAPPOE12. But I think it costs way too much and is kinda bulky. If you're into the DIY bulky thing though/have a need for an external PoE injector, you could try this option.

Applications for this instructable are up to your imagination. You might be relocating your wireless router to the centre of a house for better reception even though the cable modem installer might have put the cable modem say in the basement/some other inconvenient spot. Another useful application might just be to make an all weather-sealed outdoor access point with the famous WRT54G router inside it.

In my case, I will be using a 5 year-old WIRED router that I had lying around. Have no fear though, the points where we will be soldering are identical on every router/switch that you can get today. I should note that we're using cat5 here. If all you have is cat6, you can still go ahead and use that. But I should note, if you're connecting to a gigabit ethernet device, this instructable won't work. Luckilly, cable modems don't work at GigE speeds and I doubt the WAN port on your router supports GigE.

To begin we'll need some basic things:
1. A router
2. A length of cat5 cable (length depending on your location...mine was 10 ft.)
3. RJ-45 connector ends (...ok 8P8C for you technical people)
4. RJ-45 cable booties
5. A wall wart (power supply brick)
6. Some heat shrink tubing (I just used some random scraps I had lying around)
7. Your trusty soldering iron and some solder
 
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toby121883 years ago
If you do like you said and use your computer's PSU to power your router, be sure to tap a 5 volt source instead of a 12 volt source, routers don't work very well after you've let the magic smoke out!
lonjim2 (author)  toby121883 years ago
Good advice!

I'd approach it from more of a "know the max voltage of the router" point-of-view though. Taking the red (+) and black (gnd) wires will give one 5 volts of power and a ground. Yellow (+) and black (gnd) wires will give you 12 volts.

It really depends on the minimum voltage the router requires to operate. For my Linksys WRT54G and WRT300N, both can run on either the 5 volt or 12 volt connections (they each have a LM7805 IC inside to regulate the voltage). On the other hand, my Belkin F7D3302 will not run on anything but the 12 volt.
xtank56 years ago
So this lets you power your router using your Ethernet cable AND it lets you surf the web. I'm sorry I couldn't understand quite well.
xtank5 xtank56 years ago
LOL. I just read the Wikipedia description and I guess it does what I thought it does. I guess I should read before I write. LOL.
Redgerr xtank54 years ago
smooth, no worries everythings good
Grooby4 years ago
Could you have 2 devices that need power like a hub and a switch and run them off the same wall adapter? The voltages will be the same.
POE.gif
bwpatton15 years ago
actually I have antenna internet through Internet America and the power is provided to the equiptment through this method, there is adapter that uses the other 4 unused wires to transmit 12volts to the equiptment on the roof thus getting rid of the need for 2 wires.
i thought it was power from your cable internet box
Maddio5 years ago
I'm really green when it comes to being technically literate and this is the first site I have discovered like this. I love the concept so please excuse me if I don't communicate what I need to know correctly. But, I wonder if you would be kind enough to tell me did I need a wireless router in the following situation: I'm setting up my 1st ever home network because I have a desktop which only has USB ports (older that has no ethernet port) and a newer computer that has wireless. Purchased a wireless router so that both computers would have an IP connection through my cable modem which has both an ethernet and USB port. Talked to tech support of the manufacturer of the wireless router and was told that I also need to get a ethernet adapter. Not that I'm cheap or completely ignorant (computer challenged wise) but is there an alternative or are they just trying to sell yet another product they manufacture? I really think if this site is what it appears to be to me, that you all sharing the knowledge you have or have gained by communicating your insites to better one's understanding of a topic, by doing so your sharing a valuable asset which is knowledge! Let me know what you think. Thanks.
lonjim2 (author)  Maddio5 years ago
Yes, you will need an ethernet adaptor. Unless you have a usb ethernet adaptor lying around or a wireless card you can use. They're $10 and easy to find.

But this is a bit of a side note and strays away from the content matter of my instructable. I think the site you're looking for is http://practicallynetworked.com/support/troubleshoot_index.htm
westfw6 years ago
Um. Real "Power over Ethernet" is a lot more complicated than this: 1) It doesn't provide power unless the "powered device" asks for it, to avoid zapping devices that only expect data on those pins. 2) It allows power and data to share the same wires/pins. 3) voltage is typically 48V (a standard telco voltage.) So this instructable tells you how to wire up a router to provide SOME power on the unused wires of ethernet cables, which may have some valid uses, but it's NOT really "PoE", and it won't be compatible with commercial products that expect to get their power over PoE. (grr. It's a real shame that real PoE is some complex and expensive (and not very energy efficient, either, since your central switches suddenly have to have supplies sufficient provide power for ALL possible ports whether or not anything is even plugged in.) A while ago I was looking for a low-cost PoE solution for smaller projects (say, a 3 watts module), and I couldn't find ANYTHING. (there's a fair amount near the top of PoE at 12+W.))
Derin westfw6 years ago
hmmm,ethernet only reqs 4 pins while CAT5 has 8
westfw Derin6 years ago
Note that Gigabit ethernet uses all 8 pins...
Derin westfw6 years ago
oh,I am caught off guard NO 10/100 ETHERNET!! JUST GIGABIT! now im all screwed up(jk)
Derin Derin5 years ago
i was not doing it anyway
lonjim2 (author)  westfw6 years ago
A good point indeed if your daisy-chaining or connecting to a GigE source. I guess I should just clarify that this mod would be best suited for powering wireless/wired routers/access points at 10/100 Mbps -- devices that would need to be in an odd place. In that situation you'd run some cat5 from your modem end (have the wal wart on that end) and then connect the modem signal/power cat5 cable to the uplink/internet port on the router. You don't need GigE to connect a high-speed modem, especially when you consider that the highest speed FiOS connection will "only" give you 50 Mbit/s Downstream / 20 Mbit/s Upstream. You don't have to worry about causing interference as we're pushing 12 volt direct current power of the two pairs which isn't like that nasty AC stuff in your walls.
sunset1 westfw6 years ago
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=9503&cmp=ALSOS">http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=9503&cmp=ALSOS</a><br/>I dont know what you are looking for but I may have some other links. <br/>Hyperlink tech is one other place. I have possiblyone more place to send you if you need it. <br/>They used to have a bunch of poe stuff at great prices. <br/>sunset1<br/>
lonjim2 (author)  sunset16 years ago
That's effectively what I tried to avoid buying. But handy if you have something that requires the 802.3af specification to function. Essential this instructable is to teach you 1) how to make your router "PoE"-compatible (in a home brew sense) and then create the injector. I'd just like to stress that you couldn't buy one of these and make any device PoE compatible without internally modding the pcb inside the ethernet device.
lonjim2 (author)  lonjim26 years ago
Correction: you could use this device to power a router. But my concern with it is it doesn't make the router "PoE compatible" internally. You have to use an 8p8c adapter that breaks out to a barrel-type connector at the other end. I know I sound picky...but I'm a minimalist when mounting equipment beyond the desk.
Truegod westfw6 years ago
I don't think he is trying to power PoE compatible devices, just power the router.
lonjim2 (author)  westfw6 years ago
Thanks for adding what I neglected to westfw. It should indeed be noted that this is homebrew PoE -- not something you'd mix EVER with a commercial PoE solution. The uses for this are for mostly wireless routers.
spsteevoe6 years ago
Great Instructable! any thought on pros/cons of wiring it to a +12v rail from your rig's PSU? That is my ultimate goal, but haven't been able to troll up any answers just yet...
lonjim2 (author)  spsteevoe6 years ago
I'd be really interested in doing this...eventually. I'd test it out on a cheap power supply but the cat5 cables can definitely handle the 12 (maybe less) volts quite well if safely done. Right now, it's surprisngly not an issue as I don't even have an ethernet drop near my desktop where I'm living now.
http://steveshacks.livejournal.com/2795.htmlhttp://steveshacks.livejournal.com/2795.html
Derin lonjim26 years ago
cat5 is rated to 30V each connector
lonjim2 (author)  Derin6 years ago
Are you sure? I thought the PoE standard (IEEE 802.3 --which this definitely isn't...but uses the same 24 awg cable) defines its maximum at 48 V? At least with IEEE 802.3a I know it's 48 V.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_over_Ethernet

Derin lonjim26 years ago
I say,I did not use wikipedia but I used the "check one thats laying around" method,it said 30V on it
richms6 years ago
This is really handy to centralize the power adaptors for all your wireless accesspoints in one place. My accesspoints are all linksys wrt54g's and they are happy with anything from 5v up to at least 14 (came with a 12v adaptor) - so voltage drop isnt an issue, and higer voltages are better since the current will be lower so less voltage drop. Using a 5v one as you have means that there isnt a great deal of voltage drop before the thing will stop working. Most stuff works at 3.3v internally and your already pretty close to the low end of its regulation with a 5v adaptor and not much cable.
Great job. Pretty cool, and yes, xtank5, read before you right, haha! :P