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will powerline work as good as wifi

I am now in a large house (renting a room) and the router is in the front of the house and I am in the back. Don't know if wifi will have the range and stability so I am looking at all the alternatives from running a long cable to powerline.

looks like a powerline adapter set will cost about $50

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Actiontec---500-Mbps-Powerline-Home-Theater-Network-Adapter-Kit/5215483.p?id=1218625358741&skuId=5215483

has anyone use these or other powerline adapters?

how is powerlines speed? Are they more stable then wifi?

powerline cost is good i am just currious about the performance

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1 Answer 1

Powerline network adapters sound great, but they often fall far short of their promised performance.

First, depending on "how large" your house is, WiFi almost certainly is still a viable option. It depends on what type of network you use (you'll want at least N or greater), the quality of the router, the nature of walls and floors between you and the router, external interference, and the sensitivity of the receiving antenna.

Quality consumer grade equipment should be able to maintain N+ level speeds at distances approaching 50 feet without serious degradation and still have a couple of walls between the AP and receiving PC/laptop. Many types of consumer equipment will still reach good speeds (usable Netflix and YouTube) at 80 to 100 feet. Distances approaching 125 feet are not uncommon. Again, this depends on all sorts of other factors.

That said, powerline networking offers the promise of using existing electrical wiring without having to string new Cat5/6 wiring. But, just like wireless promises, there are many other factors: the quality of wiring, the quality of the powerline adapters, and external factors.

Here are some quick pointers:

  • Avoid wiring runs with GFCI or AFCI breakers. They will reduce bandwidth by over 50%.
  • Avoid mixing adapter types and brands.
  • Use 200 Mbps powerline adapters or better. Original powerline adapters usually throttle down to 10 Mbps or less.
  • Minimize or reduce electrical interference on the circuit. Transformers or devices with transformers will often introduce noise and interference reducing bandwidth.

Because it's difficult to meet all of those criteria, most people just use wireless networking. If you meet all the criteria above, you'll probably get great speeds. But then, you might just save time and effort by running your own Cat5 wire through the house and regain the ability to use the electrical outlets again.

To quote from Harvard's Characterizing the End-to-End Performance of Indoor Powerline Networks

The performance of a PLC device depends on the location of the power outlet. For example, PLC devices do not work across surge protectors, and other voltage inhibiting equipment. Also, PLC devices perform worse in a network with more AC load, which is generated by electrical appliances (refrigerator, blender, etc.). Consequently, power outlets should be carefully chosen to get the best performance from the PLC network.

And from the same paper's conclusion:

The main contribution this paper makes is that it evaluates the end-to-end performance of PLC networking. Out of necessity, we treat PLC devices as black boxes. We study characteristic such as channel symmetry, variation by time of day, impact of distance, impact of electrical appliances and simultaneous transmitters. We find that in a large home environment, PLC can deliver better per formance when compared to wireless. However, we also find that (i) the performance is substantially lower than manufacturer’s claims (no surprise here), and (ii) common household appliances affect the performance signif- icantly. Therefore, we conclude that PLC in home environments is useful, but the user experience may vary significantly. In other words, we are cautiously optimistic.

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Powerline adaptors work well (good enough for VDSL internet speeds) at my parent's house, which is made from bricks and concrete blocks, which is fairly large, while multiple wireless repeaters would be needed to cover the whole house. –  paradroid Oct 11 '12 at 4:05

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