A WI-Fi gateway is a device that converts IEEE 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE) into DC power for supplying power to devices such as access points, VoIP phones, and wireless security cameras. This type of product would normally be used in an IT environment where running actual wiring to power devices is either impractical or expensive. A typical gateway might have a power input, an output connector, and a cable to connect to the network.

How Does It Work?

A PoE-supported switch provides 48 volts of power over unused wires within an Ethernet cable, while data is being transmitted through other pairs in the same cable. In this way, power and data can be transported simultaneously over the same cable using Power over Ethernet technology. Others have referred to Power over Ethernet as 'infinitely scalable, meaning that you can add more devices anytime without having to worry about where they will get their power from or how much it cost per device. The result is lower cabling costs that are easier to manage but also fewer wall outlets required for powering your devices!

How Can I Find Out If My Devices Support PoE?

Fortunately, there are ways to find out if your devices support Power over Ethernet. One way is to check the specifications sheet for each of your devices or look on the manufacturer's website. You can also consult our database that lists more than 600 wireless access points and IP cameras that support Power over Ethernet. We are constantly adding new devices to this list so be sure to check back often!

To verify if a device has integrated IEEE 802.3af compliant class 2 circuitry, simply plug it into an outlet strip or injector with no data cable connected and measure its power consumption using a clamp meter. The maximum current delivered will be 13 watts (W) where 0W means zero loads and the device is turned off and 13W means maximum load. A typical access point will normally draw 0.5-1.0 watts while it's expected to reach up to 2W if data activity is detected (e.g., 15% of the time).

The Purpose of a Gateway

The real advantage of a Power over Ethernet enabled gateway is that it converts the voltage from 48v to 12v DC, allowing you to power your device without having to worry about the distance limitations of standard Power over Ethernet injectors often found on the market. This is especially important and useful for applications where the device needs to be installed some distance away from the power source, such as an access point mounted to the outside of a shop.


Gateways are also great for people who like to move their devices around or need to test out different configurations without having to reset up all of their devices. If you ever buy more than one switch and want to make use of the PoE ports but don't want to buy more injectors, you could use a gateway. Just daisy chain it to your first switch and then connect as many (remote) devices as needed. The only consideration here is the maximum distance between the gateways and the first switch can be up to 100m depending on the power requirements of those devices.

Differences Between a Router, Modem, and Gateway

A router is a device that connects your home/office to the Internet, while a modem transmits data between the service provider and your computer. No data cables are going from one port of a router to another, because it does not have multiple Ethernet ports at all. A gateway will contain an Ethernet switch with multiple ports outputting wired Ethernet connections. It also provides a wireless access point and can use the interface of an existing router (emulating it to make it work like one).

Gateways are devices that bridge wired connection(s) with one or more access points by splitting the network/wireless signals into multiple SSIDs. They come in different forms but the most common one is probably a wireless gateway. These provide the convenience of having both Ethernet and wireless connections in one device.

Why Use Gateway?


Although gateway provides more functionality than just splitting the network, there are only a few reasons why people buy them. Of course, some models can be configured to work in different ways but ultimately they all do the same thing. The main advantage of using a gateway is that it requires less hardware and setup time which simplifies deployments for non-technical users.

People who buy a router just want their network to work as soon as they've plugged in the modem and turned it on, without having to think about any other devices that may be required. Most people have no idea what a gateway is because it's hidden behind the scenes inside those devices with all those blinking lights. Now, you may be wondering if there's much of a difference between the gateway and wireless router. The answer is no, not really. A typical 802.11N wireless router will contain an integrated access point, DHCP server to handle IP address assignments, firewall for security purposes along its usual routing capability to connect multiple subnets.


Gateways are devices that contain more than just an access point. They will either provide multiple Ethernet ports for wired connectivity, wireless capabilities, or both when used along with an existing router. The best reason to use a gateway is that it provides more functionality in one smaller package which means less hardware and time required during deployment.