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For complex reasons, the distance between my PC and the wireless router is quite large. Instead of going through the rather arduous (maybe impossible in this case) task of wiring my home office for ethernet, I've been looking at other options. One of which is the ethernet over power line. One adapter sits next to your router, and another sits next to where you want network access. The adapters plug into wall sockets and ethernet cables plug into these adapters and supposedly you can get up to 200 MBps transfer speed. Here's an example of one such product.

My goal is to have a consistent connection back to the router in terms of latency. I'd ideally like to consistently acheive < 1ms ping times like I would be able to if I was wired directly. I can live with 10-20 MBps back to the router. I'm just tired of the sketchiness of this wireless connection.

Should I even bother with trying this? Will I be able to get as reliable a connection as i would through a direct ethernet connection?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I am a powerline user and here's my thoughts on the whole scenario.

I am using a powerline to connect my pc up 2 floors so I don't need a wireless connection as you could see it would have a rather low signal. I bought a powerline due to the fact that I didn't want a CAT5 cable running up my whole house.

I have to say though that my internet speeds have been the exact same if I were to directly connect to the router, I made this test by getting a laptop and connecting to the router directly. The pings and speeds were the same.

If you would like to spend the time hiding wires etc. then I would say the cabled option is both cheap and better. But if you don't care about price and want a quick "wireless" method that works roughly the same then a powerline would be better.

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It depends on the brand, on your actual home internal cables status, and other factors. It works pretty well for typical usage. Yet though, for gaming I would say it can, depending on the case, get you lower pings, or in some cases, collisions or micro cuts. Only important if your game depends a lot on very good ping and stability. The same pair of powerline goes pretty good in one home, not so well in another. Be sure though to connect directly to wall socket, having the adapter plugged alone. Doing differently will most possibly bring your a lot of problems. In typical circumstances, I'd say provides better gaming experience than wifi, but worse than direct cat 5 cable connection, which I prefer.

Ham operators (amateur radio operators) complain that these devices do produce big interferences (in aprox. 500 meters near the house having them) in their radio communications, becoming a more serious problem in case of disasters, were often emergency communications can only be made by radio.

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I have chosen 200Mbps power-line networking (from Belkin) to connect my media PC in the living room to my server upstairs. Wireless just wasn't giving me the stability and bandwidth for playing HD video.

I have had nothing but joy from my power-line network. It's fast, low latency, stable - all the things I need for playing video.

And it only took me a few moments to set up.

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I had one of the early (54mbps) power line networks.

And one thing about these is that only in perfect (lab) conditioned environments they will get their actual promised speed, but at my home even when having them directly next to each other they wouldn't go over 35mbps, and when connecting from one floor to the other it was only 12-10 mbps...

Since then I just ran some cat5e / cat6 trough my house, and now I'm getting network speeds of about 800mbps (cat5e/cat6 is rated for 1gbps but my router has more things to do then just routing so It's not giving the full speed)

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Just an side note, the network setup can get buggy if you setup an eop that is on a separate circuit in the house. So depending on the circuit and the quality of connections in the wiring, connectivity may be poor. So take that into consideration. Also, if the wiring in the house is aluminum, that also may degrade the performance of the network. As aluminum has a higher resistance factor than copper.

Houses built between 1960 - 1973 will have a great chance of having aluminum wiring due to the price hike copper took, electricians started using aluminum instead. They went back to copper when copper prices came back down.

With that said, I setup a single EOP to a camera on the far side of my house and it works. the connection isn't great. But it works a lot better than the wireless connection that randomly failed.

In case you were curious, wireless extenders are really not a viable option. There are articles on why if you want to search. But basically all they will do is extend the range minimally and include an additional 50% packet loss to the signal. So same if not more downtime of connection and a little stronger of a signal. Of course, I had to prove that to myself before believing it. :)

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