I wanted to improve the range and reception quality of my wifi hotspot for my neighbors, because it wasn’t very good with the router inside the house. There are basically two options for improving reception outdoors: an expensive extension antenna at the end of an *incredibly* expensive cable, or mounting the whole router in a weatherproof box and running a much cheaper ethernet cable up to it.
I did not want to run an additional wire to the router for power, so I decided to build a POE kit for it. Basically, the ethernet cable has two unused twisted pairs of wire. A pair of adapters are built which allow power to be run between them over these wires. The wires are kind of thin for this purpose, and some voltage is lost over large distances, but usually a whole twisted pair is used for each polarity (-) (+). The shorter, connecting cables that are not between the adapters should not be energised, since you don’t know if your hub is supplying POE in an incompatible way, or if one or more devices is built to ground or short-circuit these terminals.
These instructions told me how to quickly and safely open the case. This will void your warranty, but remember that if you bought your router from FON, they have sold it to you *without* a warranty:
I was going to build a *pair* of POE adapters out of ethernet cable connectors (the kind to make one long cable out of two), but there was only one left in the store. Looking at the back of the circuit board of my Linksys WRT54GL router, I saw that the necessary terminals were left unconnected, not grounded nor shorted with other terminals. This would make it easy to simply solder a pair of wires onto the back of the router circuit board.
This diagram shows the actual choice of wiring polarity I used, and is the most used standard, “New Cisco POE”:
And finally, here are the actual pictures of my own completed Frankenstein:
My soldering skills could use some improvement!
NAKED ROUTER, WOO-HOO!!! (You can barely tell, but yes, the LED lights are on)
I should have put a power receptacle on the adapter, but I was impatient so I just cut the power cord. After stripping the wires and resoldering them, I chose to reattach the plug so I can still use it directly. I marked the “energised” side with the red dot. The POE is only connected to the jack on the left leading to the router’s WAN port, not the one on the right leading to my cable modem.
Here is one of the world’s best tutorials on building your own POE kit:
The next stage is building a weatherproof enclosure. I’m looking for a plastic food storage container (“Tupperware”) as a temporary solution.