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Extending your home network : A Guide to PowerLine Technology

There’s nothing more annoying than having parts of your home where your Wi-Fi won’t reach. However, it’s not necessarily all doom and gloom as PowerLine kits have everything you need to quickly, easily and securely start enjoying the Internet in every room of your home.guide to powerline title

PowerLine adapters are essentially devices that use the electricity power lines in your home to send your broadband signal between a device connected to the PowerLine and your router. PowerLines are a far more effective way of transmitting your broadband signal than extension wiring, ensuring your connection remains strong, no matter the distance.

The modern home network needs to be capable of managing a number of devices simultaneously. With this in mind, it can be extremely beneficial for some devices to have a wired connection in order to operate to their full potential. This is where PowerLines come into play and can be a particularly useful tool when using devices that place a lot of strain on the home network, or performing tasks such as HD video streaming or gaming.

 

The Pro’s of PowerLine Networking

The main benefit of utilising PowerLine technology is that in comparison to relying on a wireless signal, you can extend your network very easily to areas where a wireless signal would not reach, without compromising on quality. A PowerLine signal works in very much the same way as a regular wired connection, so in terms of latency you will get very little in the way of dropouts – making it the perfect solution for online gaming.

 

Another significant point that needs to be conveyed is that PowerLines are designed to complement your Wireless; they’re not some sort of replacement. As demand for increased bandwidth becomes more prevalent in households, adding PowerLine technology into the home can increase bandwidth ensuring both technologies co-exist together in the home environment.

 

Why are there so many different PowerLine standards in the market?guide to powerline dlink starter

 PowerLine is essentially a bridging technology, allowing you to extend coverage to areas of your home that would otherwise receive a weak Wi-Fi signal. It’s an ideal solution for a games console or perhaps a Smart TV, where a wired connection acts as a more stable and reliable solution when compared to using Wi-Fi.

 

When it comes to the various different speeds on offer however, consumers can often find that they’re presented with a number of options at different price points, which can be quite daunting and confusing as there are a number of standards available in the market today. The reason for the variety is to offer solutions that meet all consumers’ requirements. For instance, if you don’t place a great deal of strain on your home network, then you may not necessarily need to opt for Gigabit PowerLine kits.

 

Another factor when selecting the best PowerLine kit to choose is your broadband speed, as your PowerLine setup will only ever be as fast as this. However if you’re a home user who needs high speed internet for online gaming, voice over IP calls or HD video, or if you have begun to adopt 4K media services you will benefit from a Gigabit PowerLine starter kit, providing that you have fast broadband speeds in place. D-Link offers 500 Mbps and Gigabit PowerLine kits.

 

Setting up a PowerLine Kitguide to powerline dlink plugs

Utilising PowerLine technology in your home could not be an easier process. The technology is, simply put, plug and play. With completely hassle-free installation, they plug directly into a power socket with no additional cables required.

 

However, it is particularly important to note that PowerLines will only work when adapters are plugged into the same electrical circuit, so it may not be possible for instance to extend your home network to your conservatory via PowerLine technology. Additionally, homes with old wiring are not necessarily the ideal environments for PowerLine technology to thrive.

 

If you’re using the Internet solely for casual web browsing, streaming music or a few non-HD TV shows, then 500 Mbps should be more than capable of dealing with your requirements. For streaming HD movies and TV shows or sharing files around the home, or, if you have a great deal of web-enabled devices then it would be preferable to use either 500Mbps or a Gigabit, the latter particularly so if you are looking for a solution to cope with the strenuous demands of online gaming or streaming 4K video content for instance.

 

If you’re looking to bolster your home network and improve the wireless performance of stationary devices such as games consoles, Smart TVs or your SKY box then PowerLine kits could really bolster your home network and improve the connectivity of products in your home. Not only is this a practical solution but it’s also an incredibly affordable one, with D-Link kits starting out under £25.

Guest Post by our partner #TechExperts at D-Link

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21 COMMENTS

  1. It might be worth adding that you can also use powerline to extend a wifi network to hard-to-reach bits of your home. Just by a powerline bundle that includes a wifi extender. This takes the internet on the mains circuit and extends it into the local vicinity. So no need to establish a wireless link between the base station and an extender.

  2. I’ve found it difficult to find a WiFi extender that actually uses the powerline connection, and doesn’t simply try to “re-broadcast” the WiFi signal. Anyone have any suggestions?

  3. NETGEAR PWL1000. BRILLIANT PRODUCT
    you can specify the wifi channel and the bandwidth the link approached 1 gig speed highly recommended

  4. It should be pointed out that Powerline equipment can cause serious interference to nearby radio communications. This is well documented on the internet (Search Google for ‘plt interference’).

    Anyone using powerline equipment may be forced to remove it if it is found to cause interference to CB radio, Ham Radio, Airband, Business communications etc. Home electrical wiring was simply never meant to carry RF signals as it is not screened and can radiate harmful interference from these devices.

    Hard-wired network cables should always be the first choice as they don’t cause any interference and are more stable and reliable giving much faster speeds as well.

  5. I’ve found that, over the years, powerline adapters are very unreliable. If they last more than 18 months then you’re lucky. This applies to Devolo, Edimax, TPLink and Zyxel adapters (I have a stack of failed ones here). The other thing is that most only have 10/100 ethernet connection. 10/100/1000 interfaces are much more expensive but, if you are buying a 500Mb/s or even a 200Mb/s homeplug, what is the point if the network connection is 10/100?

  6. Ethernet runs at 10Mb OR 100Mb OR 1,000Mb – but never 500Mb or the other speeds often sold.

  7. Your expert says adapters have to be plugged into the same circuit. Mine works well through different circuits but via the same consumer unit.

  8. Powerline won’t work well if you have a decent amount of filtering in your mains circuits, as you should have for anything sensitive running off the mains. Ignore the hype. I go for ethernet cabling every time but I have to admit that Wi-Fi kit is now a lot better than it used to be.

  9. I work in a very old building. Cost and the age of the building are prohibitive to installing structured cabling throughout to provide APs for wifi coverage so for the past 2-3 years I’ve been using powerline (homeplug) products to provide wifi access over the site. I am Zyxels. Certainly after a few firmware upgrdades they seem to work pretty well,

  10. It would be useful if you could explain the following:

    1. Are their different standards so that one Powerline make will not speak to another one.
    2. Can you have more than 2 Powerline Adapters that all speak to each other and does it work.

  11. I have been using a “Power-line home network” for about 4 years now and have never had any problems. We have four different computers all connected though one hub connection, also our smart TV uses this same network to watch Netflix etc with no problems (e.g. NO buffering etc).

    Power-Line networking is the best thing since sliced bread, and really cheap to set-up.

    P.S
    I don’t work for Power-Line, I am just an IT manager for the last 25 Years.

  12. Question 1: I hope so. I read somewhere else that powerline standards should be the same. So, a powerline ‘receiver’ from one manufacturer should be able to ‘connect’ to a powerline ‘injector’ from a different manufacturer. However, as the Zywel powerline wifi APs that I’m using seem to be no longer available I’m going to purchase a TP-Link TL-WPA4220 AP and see if it will connect to the same Zyxek powerline ‘network’ name on my system.

    Question 2: Yes it definitely works. I have two distinctly different powerline networks running on the same electrical circuits. One for public wifi access and one for private network access. They co-exist without and issue.

  13. Graham –

    Question 1: Yes and no. In theory two different adapters (different manufacturers) should ‘talk’ to each other as the powerline/homeplug standards should allow this. I will be testing this theory out shortly as the wifi APs I use are now longer made so I’m will have to buy a different brand so I will soon see if a new one will connect to the existing injector of a different make.

    Question 2: Not sure if you mean two different adapters using the same network name or different network names. But the answer is yes to both. I have multiple access points connecting to one network name and also more than one network name on the same circuit.

  14. Let me give you my set up. THIS will answer many questions about what you can get away with and also show that you don’t have to stick to any standard advice.

    My house is nearly 70 years old with the original wiring. I have a cable router in the livingroom with a 6 metre ethernet cable going to an ethernet switch behind my TV. This switch has 8 ports and feeds all my entertainment devices ie smart TV, ps4 etc. Another cable leaves the switch and goes into a 500 powerline that’s plugged into a wall socket. A second powerline is in my bedroom and this is plugged into a 3 meter 6 gang extention coming from a wall socket. The powerline has 2 ports feeding my smart TV and my ps3. It also has wireless capability which I use for my wireless tablets, kindle, and even my 3DS. My TV is mainly used for Netflix or Amazon Prime. I’ve had no buffering or drops whatsoever and the wireless connection has been very reliable.

    The experts say that old wiring won’t be efficient and we shouldn’t use extention cables. I’m using both with zero problems!

    I’m using TP-LINK adapters that are connected to a Netgear switch. I also have 2x 200 powerline adapters which work anywhere in the house or outside on a 40 metre extention. Don’t bother about different circuits, as long as they’re all connected to the same consumer unit it should work. For people with problems there’s either a problem with your wiring, cables or even you not knowing what you’re doing. I’ve never used the pairing buttons on the powerline, they just work! Hope this has been helpful.

  15. Why is there never mention of the disadvantages of these products?

    1. Depends on your wiring they can work great is effectively be unusable, no guarantees.
    2. If you have VDSL broadband such as BT Infinity they can actually cause your broadband speed to be significantly reduced / latency increased due to crosstalk.

    Speak to any expert and they will tell you Powerline is absolutely the LAST resort as there are far too many issues that can occur with it.

  16. A few points to add from a electrical point of view. Brilliant little device but will cause “noisy earth”. Also something to note, that when I’v taken a few of these apart from multiple manufacturers, there is no fault suppression on the cat5 plug, which if a large earth fault occurred (unluckily on a modern property) then it is likely to damage you “kit”. The 3rd point is if your house has multiple RCDs then these can cause nuisance tripping.

  17. I am using a standard BT offering. running off a BT Hub4. I am on BT Infinity. New consumer unit with all the usual RCDs and new wiring. It all seems to operate well. I am only running a laptop over that link. Not noticed any of the problems mentioned above. The one thing that I would like to find out is the bandwidth, number of Mbps that I am getting over that extender link rather than what I might be getting if I took a CAT5 Ethernet cable from the hub. Any advice? For me that might influence me on whether to upgrade my Extender kit or whether to go to the trouble of running CAT5 cable. I think that if we could do that measurement reasonably easily we could all make better decisions?

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