Silicognition Prepares a Crowdfunder for the PoE FeatherWing, Ethernet and 4W of Power for Feathers

With up to 4W of power coming down the same cable as network connectivity, the PoE FeatherWing aims to make Feather deployment easier.

Ethernet connectivity and 4W of PoE: Enter the PoE FeatherWing. (📷: Silicognition)

Silicognition is preparing another crowdfunding campaign, this time for an Ethernet FeatherWing add-on with support for a 4W draw over Power over Ethernet (PoE) — allowing Feather-based devices to receive power and network connectivity over a single cable.

Having made a name for itself with the LiFePO4wered/Pi+ battery manager and uninterruptible power supply for the Raspberry Pi family of single-board computers, Silicognition turned its focus to embedded Power over Ethernet (PoE) last year with the wESP32 microcontroller development board. Now it's back, but with an add-on designed to bring Ethernet connectivity and PoE to boards based on the popular Feather form factor: The PoE FeatherWing.

"Adafruit provides an Ethernet FeatherWing for its popular Feather ecosystem — a valuable option for IoT and automation projects. But it has its limitations. The Feather still needs to be powered separately, and no globally unique MAC address is provided for the user, making deployment hard," the company explains of then inspiration behind its latest design.

"What if we could fix these issues? What if there was a drop-in replacement that would not only provide Ethernet, but also power your Feather, and give you a globally unique MAC? And still be 100% compatible in size, connections and software support? Enter the PoE-FeatherWing!"

The PoE FeatherWing supports IEEE 802.3at Class 1, Mode A and Mode B Power over Ethernet (PoE) with up to 4W available to connected devices. The Ethernet connectivity itself is provided by a WIZnet W5500 Ethernet controller, allowing for full compatibility with any libraries and software designed for the non-PoE Adafruit Ethernet FeatherWing, while a Microchip 24AA02E48 means each unit has a guaranteed globally-unique MAC. The design even incorporates a solder point to enable Giant Board support, without the need for the usual IRQ fly-wire connection.

The PoE FeatherWing is due to land on Crowd Supply soon; pricing has yet to be confirmed.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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