What are your Powerline networking tips n tricks

GidsterGidster London, UKMember Posts: 224
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edited September 2019 in Devices & Security
Powerline is the tech that sends data around your home over the same wiring as your electricity, with adapters that plug one end into your power sockets and the other an ethernet port or built in wifi access point.

Homeplug is the predominant standard. And just like Wifi, there have been many generations over the years that have improved claimed connection speeds. v1 of Homeplug maxed out at a theoretical 14mbit/s.  The latest kit is described as AV2000, which I assume has a max throughput ot 2000mbit/sec.

There have been a few mentions here of Powerline in the context of mesh solutions: https://community.fing.com/discussion/59/why-is-mesh-better-than-wifi-extenders/p1

I've had varying degrees of success with Powerline adapters, usually plugged into non-mobile devices that need high-throughput and low latency, such as TVs and games consoles.

Installation is one of the most joyful aspects. You just plug one into your router and another into your device and they just work - like connected by an ethernet cable. And most recent devices are compatible with each other. Of course data rates have been nothing like the claims - but usually good enough for 1080p HD. But I have a home that's over 100 years old and has been extended several times, so I imagine the wiring is a little dodgy. Plus early devices seemed to get very hot and die regularly - I've lost quite a few.

My biggest home networking challenge has been getting decent rates in the new extension, 2 floors up. Wifi is or course notorious for not dealing as well with vertical distances. And the addition of 5GHz - which carries more data but travels less - has been of no benefit to this challenge. Wifi extenders placed in various positions on the ground and first floors did not work well enough. Its's worth noting I'm in central London which has very high wifi/RF congestion. And early variants of Powerline proved extremely inconsistent. Sometimes rates reached a decent 30mbit/sec but often collapsed to under 2mbit/sec - unusable. I understand noise from particular equipment - say certain types of lighting - can cause such short term issues but I never tracked down the source of my problems. That this is an extension with its own electricity switch is undoubtedly part of the challenge.

I finally got something consistent in the loft extension with the addition some TP-Link Av1200 kit and have plugged a Netgear wifi AP into this. Data rates are typically around 10-15mbit/sec - a 10th of the theoretical max but good enough for most needs.

Do you guys have some tips on getting the best from Powerline and maybe recommendations on kit that performs better? Has anyone tried the latest generation (is that AV200?) - how is that working out. Is Powerline still a viable option? Has it been integrated into any of the mesh solutions?


Head of Product at Fing
Gidster

Comments

  • mozarellamozarella Member, Beta Tester Posts: 104
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    To be honest, I don't think Powerline / DLAN is a good technology, rather than a necessary evil.
    Powerline transmits data on cables that are not designed for RF transmission. There are also sources of interference that can change from day to day. And such sources of interference can also be caused by neighbours as well.
    Then it should be mentioned that the developers of Powerline / DLAN often specify double the speed. For example, I once used DLAN 200 adapters from Devolo. 200 means 200 MBit. However, it means 100 MBit from A to B and 100 MBit from B to A. So 100 MBit Fullduplex.
    Is it really not possible to lay a LAN cable?
    If DLAN / Powerline really has to be, I would use a big manufacturer (I only know Devolo or AVM, german brand). They have management software that shows the DLAN transmission. Sometimes you have to use a different socket in one of the rooms. It is important that there are no overvoltage filters. A single circuit is also important. Fuses also interfere with DLAN transmission.


    GidsterHronos
  • GidsterGidster London, UKMember Posts: 224
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    Thanks @mozarella. I had to brute force it (ie. go for a device that promised speeds way higher than I needed) but it solved my problem. 
    Laying a cable would have been ugly or expensive
    Head of Product at Fing
  • PoohPooh Member, Beta Tester Posts: 674
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    @Gidster there a reason you didn't just put down a CAT 6 cable when you had the new extension done? I did that 20 years ago with our basement (Cat 5E) because I realized when we brought the house and finished the basement off that WiFi was going to have a heck of a time getting through the concrete encased basement to the main part of the house. Net result is that we get an east 500MB everywhere now.
    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
  • kltaylorkltaylor Moderator, Beta Tester Posts: 1,191
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    I haven't used that in years, @Gidster, I have a few of the adapters in my shed which has been their home for quite a few years now.  Is the home environment an issue where ethernet cannot be run?
    "There's a fine line between audacity and idiocy."
    -Warden Anastasia Luccio, Captain
  • GidsterGidster London, UKMember Posts: 224
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    I dont have ethernet cabling anywhere in the house, so adding it when we added the extension would have been disruptive. 

    Head of Product at Fing
  • kltaylorkltaylor Moderator, Beta Tester Posts: 1,191
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    Gidster said:
    I dont have ethernet cabling anywhere in the house, so adding it when we added the extension would have been disruptive. 

    Gotcha.  Well, I suppose that you could use the aged technology to achieve what you're setting out to do, just be aware that speeds will be affected by it.
    "There's a fine line between audacity and idiocy."
    -Warden Anastasia Luccio, Captain
  • GidsterGidster London, UKMember Posts: 224
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    edited September 2019
    I might have given these a try if they were backward compatible. And they are expensive
    https://www.devolo.co.uk/magic-2-wifi
    They use "Gh.n" tech, whatever that is, to reach speeds "up to 2400mbps"
    "Please note: To date, only devolo Magic uses the innovative G.hn technology, which offers the highest transmission speeds. Magic therefore only takes advantage of full output in a pure G.hn environment. The simultaneous use of other PLC adapters – even those of the outstanding devolo dLAN devices – impairs performance."
    Head of Product at Fing
    kltaylor
  • RomulusRomulus Member, Beta Tester Posts: 35
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    I have some devices on power line adapters but can't say I like the technology much as rates are way lower than specified .

    My tip is run a cable from your router to close to where your breaker box is and put the primary adapter there (close to the breaker box). That way there is the absolute minimum of power cable between it and your other adapters. It can really help pep up the reliability and performance.
    Gidster
  • GidsterGidster London, UKMember Posts: 224
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    Romulus said:
    My tip is run a cable from your router to close to where your breaker box is and put the primary adapter there (close to the breaker box). That way there is the absolute minimum of power cable between it and your other adapters. It can really help pep up the reliability and performance.
    I'm going to try that. Thanks!
    Head of Product at Fing
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