Powerline Networking 101

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wtfxxxgp

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Nov 14, 2012
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I love these things. Saved me headaches and hassles to get my online gaming setup going without having to run long cables or relying on crappy wifi dongles
 

Xivilain

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This is one of those great niche products that not a lot of folks hear about. Definitely a look at for people with "bomb shelter" style basements with concrete and metal materials, where WiFi cannot reach.
 

videobear

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From Newegg customer reviews, performance of even the latest powerline equipment is far inferior to ethernet or even wifi. Plus the units have massive quality control issues. Not interested.
 

Onus

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Interesting about the valid specification names. I'll have to check the compliance level of what I'm using. I have a kit with one ethernet connector on one end (plugs in near my router), and four on the other end (my wife uses one, and my testbench gets the others): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA24G15V0949 which is no longer available, but looks similar to http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124482 which is. They run more reliably and faster than a cheap PCI wireless card, which is better than a USB dongle. This is despite the fact that they are plugged in on different sections of a manufactured home, which means they're going through an additional junction box between the sections.
 

coupe

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"Assuming that the outlets using the Powerline adapters are on the same electrical circuit, ..."

I think this part should be brought to attention more. Most people who are looking to implement a powerline setup might be confused about this limitation.
 
I always thought that powerline tech was cool! And it is cool, but to run it well you need a house with nice electrical wiring. One of my houses had two 220V (or was it 120V, I forgot) outlets, so the powerline Ethernet wouldn't work on one half of the house lol.

If you plan to use these, make sure you know where your powerlines are going.
 

shadycuz

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"Assuming that the outlets using the Powerline adapters are on the same electrical circuit, ..."

I think this part should be brought to attention more. Most people who are looking to implement a powerline setup might be confused about this limitation.
They work across Circuit breakers. Most houses only have one Circuit. Breakers "break" that circuit down into manageable pieces so if a device acts up, your whole house doesn't loose power, just that room.
 

quadrider21

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Great artical, I'd like to know a little more about what the security button does.
Do all three of these standards support security measures?
 

chill1221

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From Newegg customer reviews, performance of even the latest powerline equipment is far inferior to ethernet or even wifi. Plus the units have massive quality control issues. Not interested.
This was the experience that my family had when they tried employing this technology. Ended up throwing it away.
 

Onus

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I do believe these units are a mixed bag. I tested some other ones (500Mb/s) that died fairly quickly (one in hours, the other in days). When working though, speed was very good. The current 200Mb/s ones I am still using have been flawless (not needing even a single reset, despite power outages), and they are faster than a cheap PCI wireless card was.
 
I have a few sets of these powerline adapters. I can confirm that they come with 128 bit encryption out of the box. They also will cross the circuit breakers without any issue in my setup. The signal cannot go beyond the electrical meter.
 

joex444

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I'm assuming this "distances from 300 to 500 square meters." is a typo and that "square" should be removed. Though at that point one must remember that the distance of wire between two outlets can be hard to estimate, particularly if one doesn't know whether they're the same or different circuits.
 

lawprime

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Most excellent article! Barges and other big boats use Marine Band Radar which is adjacent to the 2.4GHz used in WiFi and often interferes. Back when 5GHz, beam forming, and MIMO were not options, Powerline Ethernet really helped me keep my network flowing. But I once shared my good experience in response to a
Slashdot request for help and I got an rather rude follow-up from another reader who said that these devices use large-scale house wiring to broadcast radio signals that completely screw up nearby Ham Radio reception. I have never heard this complaint before nor since. Any Hams out there who could weigh in?
 

mutatio

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I use my older Netgear setup, rated at 500Mbps, plugged into Monster power strips that allow for surge protection without interfering with the networking. It has worked reliably for at least 4+ years. It works well enough that it's how we hook up our Sony HDTV and home theater system for streaming. Even with an 802.11a connection Netflix will stagger and seize up. With the powerline/ethernet combo we don't run into any streaming hiccups. I am excited about the AV2 standards, but Netgear doesn't have the same equipment offered. The one we have (XAVB5001) is nice because it gives you a router-like box on the receiving end for multiple ethernet ports (TV, HTS, Apple TV, etc.).
 

f-14

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From Newegg customer reviews, performance of even the latest powerline equipment is far inferior to ethernet or even wifi. Plus the units have massive quality control issues. Not interested.
i don't trust alot of newegg reviews especially when they claim to be 'expert' users and are building their first pc or their problem is easily identified and cured in a google search. most of the reviewers are extremely lazy and expect their ddr2 ram to fit in ddr4 ram slots and whine and complain how something didn't work because their expertness forgot to program manual settings listed right in the freakin manuals of their products.

most of these phony 'expert' reviewers are easy to spot, none of their system specs or settings are listed.

"DADE L.
3/13/2015 6:10:12 AM
Tech Level: High
Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
3 out of 5 eggsWorks really well while it works
This review is from: LINKSYS PLSK400-NP Powerline AV200 4-Port Network Adapter Kit, Up to 200Mbps
Pros: I was able to get a LAN connection upstairs in my house which was super awesome. Things run really well and are a breeze to set up.

Cons: Sometimes disconnects for me. Probably once every hour or so. It really hurts my experience playing games as the outage normally kicks me off of whatever game I'm playing. I often end up just going back to WiFi.

Other Thoughts: Mine probably just had something wrong with them - they were still super helpful and I do really like them otherwise." <=====3 most likely he plugged it in on the same circuit as his chest freezer or refrigerator or window air conditioning unit, note his lack of specs and no mention of large appliances on his circuit? not even a mention of a 5-5-5-15 ram clock timing or anything experts KNOW to include.

i bought this same kit for my brother an my parents, my brother used to have an issue with it until i saw it was plugged into his circuit with his chest freezer when i line tested the circuit (i thought the instructions were clear and simple, he never bothered to read them) i've personally used these for a few years as well in places i couldn't run cat5e due to steel beams in the walls and subflooring and i added another with built in wifi extension, no software was required and worked great, but to enable the security to the wifi you need to download the software and use the software to set the security every time that adapter loses power or it loses it's settings. the whole system kicks butt over the modem & routers G/N wifi from both netgear and linksys and actiontec.

there is limited bandwidth tho as it can run 1080p on netflix and youtube an ipad and iphone at the same time, mmo gaming is acceptable with about 20 in ping added on (w/o using the wireless) but you simply can not online game and run netflix at the same time with out lag spikes.

i've analyzed the network several times when my brother has a party and 16 cellphones connected to its wifi isn't a problem unless you're trying to online game at the same time even via a direct cat5e connection to the modem with ple400 a plsk400 and a plwk 400 wifi. and people using more than 1 wireless devices so don't plan on gaming if more than one person is using the wifi, the lag will infuriate you.

these are the homeplug av standard, i will look into finding him a replacement homeplug av2 standard set up as soon as i find one with wifi i can gift him for x-mas or his birthday which ever comes first. ( i use family like lab rats to test lots of things heh heh heh SSSHHHHHHhhhhhh!!!)

over all good article, i'm not an expert, just a jack of trades but more dangerous than the average user as many of my cisco network admin friends have trained me like a minion/apprentice to help them for lots of projects and enough to build, program and maintain my own networking nightmares. basement and house to house gaming was glorious FU STEAM & Origin!
 

Alex Atkin UK

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Jun 11, 2012
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"Assuming that the outlets using the Powerline adapters are on the same electrical circuit, ..."

I think this part should be brought to attention more. Most people who are looking to implement a powerline setup might be confused about this limitation.
They work across Circuit breakers. Most houses only have one Circuit. Breakers "break" that circuit down into manageable pieces so if a device acts up, your whole house doesn't loose power, just that room.
No actually they are correct. Notice the wording, each "circuit breaker" isolates a "circuit". Powerline is only designed to work on a single circuit, what you are described is the whole phase.

While yes they CAN work across circuit breakers (and thus across different circuits) as long as they are on the same phase, its not guaranteed and usually degrades performance. They are not sold for that purpose.
 

ralanahm

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Thanks for the idea. I had tried one many years ago that was worse then dial-up so I ran cat5 across the floor in apartment and now I think I will get one again.
 

gorfmaster1

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I have had a few of these and they can save you from having to run Ethernet to areas where wireless is poor. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking at running cable as a potential alternative. plus it has an inherent "hub" type setup on some allowing up to ~8 devices in one building which is very nice IMO.
 

Onus

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I had not considered the phasing issue, but that's a very good point. These ought to work across circuits, but L-N will never work across phases. Perhaps AV2 addresses this by using N-G (unless they're shorted in the breaker box).
 

none12345

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Apr 27, 2013
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No tests? I dont trust that this stuff works as advertised, i want to see how fast it actually goes. How it does with multiple users with loads. Latentcies introduced under various load patterns etc.

Ive been curious how good this tech has been for awhile. But never bothered to try it. Id love to see some tests....
 
While not every smart meter uses Powerline, those that do are an example of the electricity industry utilizing existing power lines to exchange data, such as utility companies receiving updates from your smart meter regarding your electricity usage. That is if you opt in to such a service, of course.
You may not have an option with this technology. Where I live, they upgraded everybody to the smart meter.
 
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