Power over Ethernet is a technique (actually two techniques; 802.3af (PoE), and 802.3at (PoE+)) that transmits power over regular U/STP cables. It allows for WiFi access points, routers, switches and other devices to source power from the same cable as they source data. Several devices have built-in support for it; for example higher-end access points (for example the Ubiquiti AP-AC-PRO) have it.
I was left wondering how I could power devices without integrated PoE support, for example an Odroid C2 (which has a generic 2.1mm plug at 5V). I figured I needed some active 5V PoE splitter, but searching eBay for it yielded only 100Mbit-only versions. If you require Gigabit, you can find the WT-AF-5V10W from WiFi Texas. You’re only in luck if you’re in the States though; shipment to Europe is around €50.
Part of the reason I was eBaying (and ali-expressing), instead of searching with regular suppliers, was that I did not believe any “brand” would manufacture this kind of device. The second reason was that I needed something cheap-ish. Turns out there exists an option that is both relatively cheap and branded; it even turns out there are multiple options:
- D-Link has their DPE-301GS, which was around €30.
- TP-Link has their TL-POE10R, which retails around the same price, but I was able to get it at a decent enough rate at the distributor;
- I can’t get my hands on the TRENDnet TPE-114GS, but apparently this one can plug right in an Odroid C2.
What’s in the box?
The TL-POE10R web page is not very verbose of what this product is about, which is mainly the reason I am writing this post; both as a reminder for myself, and as a guide for others.
Long story short:
- The device itself, with Gigabit+PoE-in, Gigabit-out, power out;
- A power chord;
- One Cat5e cable (nice!).
In more detail: the power connector and chord are standard centre-positive barrel jacks, and the chord is a male-male version. The device itself has a voltage-selector: 5V, 9V, and 12V are your options. The manual states a maximum power output of 10W.
This makes it easy to power any TP-Link consumer device on PoE, as all those have a female barrel jack. I also tested powering a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X with it in 12V mode; worked perfectly.
I created a few barrel jack 3.5mm to 2.1mm cables, and the Odroid C2 boots perfectly! Hooray!