Wiring your home network with fiber and PoE - is this even possible?

Okay, so my background here is that I know just enough to be dangerous but not enough to know what the heck I am doing, I have wired ethernet networks before with mixed results, but never a fiber network.

Ideally, I would like there to exist a small, PoE driven device that looks like this:

Basically, a small box you wall mount that is PoE driven and accept Fiber in both ends (for potential daisy chaining) as well as 1-4 ports at the front (4 ports would be ideal). The connection layout looks something like this:

Fiber in  ---+         +--- Fiber out
Fiber out ---+         +--- Fiber in
Eth (PoE) ---+         +--- Eth (PoE)
               | | | |
               E E E E
               t t t t
               h h h h
               0 1 2 3

This would then allow you to do something like this to a house:

    | Room 1        | Room 2        | Room 3        |
    |               |               |               |
    |         ..[o].......[o].................[o]   |
    | Room 4  .     | Room 5        | Room 6        |
    |         .     |               |               |
    |  [o]...[AP].........[o].................[o]   |

    [AP] - Access point
    [o]   - Outlet

Voila, PoE powered fiber access everywhere, and three cables everywhere. Sweet. Now, is there such a thing on the market? I have no clue. Is this even feasible or desirable? Again, no clue. All I know is, I want to get rid of my piece-of-shit EoP (Ethernet over Powerlines) solution in favor of a proper one, and in 2023 home fiber seems to be the way to go.

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Bumping because I am also curious.

Im thinking of cheap mikrotiks? Maybe they have a solution like that but definitely not wallmounted like the one in your mind. Might also be not cheap.

Yeah, my thought is that it should be possible to design a single socket + small low power board that draws 5-10W, which would be enough to daisy chain power for 3 or 4 segments. I know I can do similar things with Ethernet cables alone, so optical daisy chaining should not be that much more difficult, in theory at least.

It could just be as simple as the NICs inherently are drawing too much power or something silly like that. I hope this is possible, but I guess we’d need the input of someone designing the actual routing circuits, like someone working in Marvell or similar place. The logic is simple enough though.

(Optical Data Transport for Outdoor PoE Devices - Ubiquiti Store)

Something like that? Seems like a very niche thing. And only 1G SFP.

Basically a box with DC-in and then use a SFP → RJ45 transceiver and PoE injector for that PoE RJ-45 out port.

Pretty easy to DIY it. But you always need to have DC-in at the target because fiber can’t transmit power.
Very expensive cabling and tranceivers if you want to supply the entire house. 1G may be cheap, but 10G transceivers will burn your savings in no time.

I’d just get a small 4x PoE + SFP uplink switch in each room, encased in some concealing wall box

Cool idea, but then you lack UPS backing of the PoE switch

Why not just ran Cat6 everywhere? I ran Cat6 as well as OM3 where needed, so my desktop can have easy 10G

I dont understand why you would need this…

If you have to run POE to the device, why not just run the network on the same cable?

or are you looking for optical power?

This little SFP+ switch is POE powered, but again, if your already running POE what is the fiber for?

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SFP transceiver in and out, plus 8 poe RJ45 ports to use locally:

smaller unit and requires custom wiring a DC power supply because it is meant for industrial use. While this one could technically be powered by PoE+ (48v) if you cut the cable end and just wired in the power pairs, you cant really pass the poe through and it wouldnt provide enough power for the output poe+ ports on the switch itself.

and another similar to the above:

or a Netgear one that is stupid expensive but upgrades you to 10gb SFP+ ports:

Or a Ubiquiti switch with 10gb SFP+ in and out, and 2.5gb RJ45 ports and poe++ on each port:

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I’d probably just go SFP+ instead of using two wires for 1G each. And upgrade to 2.5G/10G later but you already have existing SFP+ transceivers in place.
1G uplink for 4 or even 8 ports is a bit too bottleneck for my taste.

Cheaper than the netgear (139$), but the size is usually a no-go if you prefer a simple wall plug, and reverse PoE might be too special:

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Basic idea is to have a reliable fiber-everywhere connection that does not involve having to pull a cable to each and every individual room and that would allow me to switch to a fiber connection with minimal cable rewiring in the future.

The PoE is there to make sure the connectors stay powered on so that the only external connection from the “outside” is the network jacks. Only the fiber “sides” should have the PoE of course. Why PoE instead of a barrel cable, basically because PoE is already an established standard. I could power the endpoints with a regular power outlet too, I just figured if everything is done from the access point there is so much less things to think of.

Of course, the device connecting to the outlet could also power the outlet though, that would eliminate PoE daisy chaining… Hmmmm… :thinking:

Nah, since AP powers PoE I could add an UPS there, too. Quite a simple fix, really.

I could, but CAT6 do add the number of cables that would need to be drawn, and you need to rewire for CAT6e or CAT7 whenever that becomes a thing, too. Fiber has no theoretical limit, it is only a question of how fast the endpoints can blink a diode.

But yeah, just dreaming of the perfect home network wiring right now. Might be a bit silly, which is why I am throwing out the idea here. At least it makes for some entertaining discussion and perhaps a lesson or two learned? :slight_smile:

No reason to re-wire for a newer type of cable realistically. 5e has been out since 2001, that’s 22 years ago, and I still run 10Gb over it no problem

Good quality Cat6a in the wall will last longer than you’ll care about

What I did was count every device I think I could ever have plugged in, then add 2

This has resulted in 10 x Cat6a runs, 2 x OM3 and 2 UPS backed electrical circuits under my desks. I don’t think I’ll ever need more. Ran 8 to my HTPC area too for good measure, etc, etc. Cable is cheap!

Nope. The product as drawn can’t exist because you can’t daisy chain PoE. Only the first unit would be in spec — the rest would be under-powered.

I also don’t see why you would want or need to power it over Ethernet, given that you would have higher-speed fibre carrying the data, and AC outlets in all of the rooms that could supply the power?

Your nodes are really just 4-port switches with 2x SPF uplink ports. The trick, I think, would be finding a switch which has 2x SPF but ONLY 4x GbE. Most of the switches I see with 2x SPF have 8+ GbE.

Back to the electrical side: Each GbE and SPF port is likely to consume approximately 600-700mW of power when active. So if you budget for 1W apiece you only need 6W for the device. PoE delivers ~13W to the end of the wire. (PoE+ delivers ~26W.)

Since PoE, to be in spec, needs to be able to output ~15W at the port, your drawn device would:

  • have 13W of power available to it
  • need to spend 4W on 4x GbE ports
  • need to spend 2W on 2x SPF ports
  • need to make 15W available on the PoE port reserved for daisy-chaining

13W in … 21W out. No beuno.


Do you rent or own?

Any time I need network in a location I just pull a cable, I have a riser going from my garage to my attic and then cable hooks running the span of my attic. Pick the room/wall I want the cable in, drill a small hole and drop the cable down it.

CAT5e, and CAT6 both can run 2.5gbe which is more than enough for 99% of consumer applications. Running 2.5gbe to your AP’s will also give you more bandwidth than any streaming device can eat up (unless your running uncompressed 4k from a Plex server).

The if you really want fiber, then when you pull your CAT cable just pull a fiber at the same time.

This solution seems “simpler” than pulling but its actually more work because its not investing your time on the front end to do it right and do it once. CAT cable and Fiber in the wall is infrastructure that “pays” for itself while wall warts, poe fiber repeaters, and Ethernet over power are all by nature bandaid solutions and will never be as reliable.

Also, bundled cables exist!


Yep, you make a lot of sense. Thanks, that answers quite a lot of my questions. :slight_smile:

Currently renting but looking to buy something in the near future, we’ll see how it goes, but CAT6 for now and dual-wire with fiber seems like the best of both worlds at this point in time.