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I am considering putting a computer in my garage (geek alert) and my wireless signal is simply to weak to get through all of the concrete, steel, etc.

I've seen products at Fry's for Ethernet over power lines, but have not tried it. Is this a good solution for home use?


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I can't speak for Ethernet over power lines, but when I tried using power over Ethernet it resulted in a lot of fried logic boards. =) –  Brant Bobby Jul 15 '09 at 17:28
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5 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

I have one of those (or at least, something similar made by Netgear), and it's a bit of a hit and miss. When it works, it works well. You don't get full gigabit speeds, but it's still faster and more reliable than wireless.

On the other hand, it doesn't seem to work in every room. Some rooms just won't allow it to find its buddy which is hooked up to the router. I would go ahead and try it - when it works it's great - just make sure you can return it easily in case it doesn't work.

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Each home should have some rooms on separate circuits, you probably should map that out first to see what you can wire to what over the power-lines. –  dlamblin Nov 16 '09 at 17:33
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I use it for my home network. my house has two phone jacks - kitchen and master bedroomm and my office is in between the two. so instead of using 802.11g for two desktops, I opted for powerline. the DSL modem, tomato based wrt54g and powerline are safely under my bed along with a UPS. other side of the powerline is in the office and connects the two PC's. while the speeds arent blazing, I get 100mb between the two PCs, and no lag to the internet, including decent speeds with bittorrent, downloading linux iso's...

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Powerline Ethernet works well in most homes. Be sure to purchase the latest standard - HomePlug AV rated at 200Mpbs PHY. This standard handles a variety of home wiring much more effectively. By the way, PHY is the raw data rate over the wires. Accounting for error correction and other overhead, the corresponding Ethernet rate is about 100Mbps maximum. Of course, depending on the wiring in your house, your mileage may vary. Using HomePlug AV, you can usually expect something in the 40 to 60 Mbps range for most circuits.

One of the challenges with powerline solutions is that you don't have an easy way to determine how good the powerline links are (in other words, their capacity/speed). I found a solution from Plaster Networks that provides a really easy way to check the performance to any of the powerline adapters in your house - very helpful for troubleshooting especially for larger homes, homes with older wiring, etc. The troubleshooting tools are built right into the adapters.

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I'm running four of DLink's Homeplug units on my network (two DHP-301 kits). I've been extremely pleased with the products since I bought them about three years ago. (I literally bought one kit, used it for a week and was so pleased that I bought another and told all my friends. :) ).

Your success will ultimately depend on the quality of the wiring in your home. For me, the performance in my bedroom (two floors above the fileserver) can be flakey at times and flawless at others. I rarely have problems otherwise.

For standard internet surfing/downloading you'll never see an issue with the homeplug technologies. The bandwidth they're easily capable of will most likely exceed your modem's bandwidth by a fair degree. For file transfers or streaming though, that's where it'll be a little slower that your standard gigabit network. (I regularly stream video from my fileserver to both a PS3 and an Xbox.)

One of the big reasons that I went the Homeplug route was so that I didn't have to run cable through the walls. I know my skill set and I'm not exactly a 'handy' person, so this was the perfect option for me.

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My nearest experience is second-hand, but the one person I know who tried it found it to be moderately flaky, and wound up giving up and running cat5. The wiring in the house was nothing to write home about, though, so it's not clear that it was exactly the technology's fault.

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