We all know the ESP32 is a versatile SoC that brings Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options to any project requiring a wireless connection but doesn’t feature it natively. It’s almost like it helped propel the IoT into mainstream applications due to its low cost and tiny footprint.
With that said, there’s always room for improvement, even for the favorite ESP32, which is why electrical engineer Patrick Van Oosterwijck gave the board an upgrade with PoE and Ethernet, making it easy to implement wired projects such as factory automation, smart buildings, and data centers.
Depending on the project, utilizing a Wi-Fi connection can draw a lot of power and requires the ESP32 to use a wired connection rather than battery power. Since the board already hosts an Ethernet MAC, it could be employed for PoE applications.
“By using PoE, a single cable provides power as well as connectivity, easing deployment headaches for large installations. PoE can provide up to 12.95 W to a load while PoE+ specifies up to 25.50 W. Plenty for an ESP32 which takes only a watt or so, making it possible to power other loads.”
Van Oosterwijck performance tested his design using the UDP (User Datagram Protocol) in both the client and server sides, which had some surprising results with a 70 Mbit/s draw for the client and garnering 90 Mbit/s on the server side. To see Van Oosterwijck’s complete wESP32 design process, associated files and his in-depth testing results, head over to his project page here.
UPDATE: The wESP32 is now available on Crowd Supply, starting at $45 for a single board. Delivery is slated for mid-December.