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Are diode bridges really needed?
Christian Beia, Antonio Rotta - STMicroelectronics
Supporters: Lennart Yseboodt, Matthias Wendt, Musa Unmehopa - Philips
IEEE 802.3bt 4-Pair Power over Ethernet Task Force - Indian Wells - January 2014
Goal of this task force is to make the highest power available for the
final PoE users
 The power dissipated on diode bridges can reach about:
4*(0.75V*0.6A + 0.3Ohm*0.6A2) = 2.2W @ 50W output
Diodes are the main responsible for the current unbalance in 4 pairs
systems, limiting the available power at PD interface of more than 2W
More sophisticated solutions, like active bridges, are an option in high
power applications, especially in the 4Pair applications. They imply
additional complexity and anyway the losses are still there:
4*(0.3Ohm*0.6A2) = 0.4W
Diode bridge reasons
• Diode bridges were specified in previous PoE standards
for blind compatibility with existing infrastructures:
• Crossover cables
• Installation done by non–IT people
• Now the situation is different:
• High power systems are typically for professional usage
• Installation will be managed by educated personnel
Why do not think about diode bridges
removal ?
• Now try to answer to this simple question :
• Can we remove the diode bridges from our system ?
• The answer will be :
• So why do not seriously think about building a standard which is not
strictly requiring diode bridges?
• What do we need? To specify a single PSE output voltage polarity!
(Table 33-2)
• Why not to get rid of Alternative A MDI-X? Do we still need it?
• Less losses = More power at the PD
• More balanced pairs = More power at the PD
• Less components on the BOM = less complexity
• Less components = higher reliability (what is not there
won’t get busted!)
PD systems are still protected
• Protection against reverse polarity can be done with TVS + polyswitch
• The same TVS that limits surges due to line transients can be used to
protect the converter input stage from reverse voltage applied to its
• During detection PSE limits the current to 5mA (short circuit current)
• In case of reverse polarity a red led can be possibly turned on
• Backfeed voltage can be avoided just adding a single switch (or a
diode that will be shorted after power on)
Questions? - Comments