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I am planning on setting up a home network when moving into a new apartment. After much bad experience with wireless networks, I was going to go with a wired connection (with cat5's snaking through to the rooms).

However, I have recently come across power socket networks which work by modulating the network traffic using the electrical power (that comes out of power sockets) as the carrier signal. The inner geek wants to jump ship, but for practical reasons I am doing due diligence.

Has anyone set up such a power socket network before; and if so:

  1. What particular equipment would you recommend (manufacturer & model)?
    And what was the cost to set up (inclduign the hidden ones)?
  2. What was its performance as compared to a wired network (packet loss and other speed and reliability related yardsticks)
  3. Would you recommend the switch to power socket networks?


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The power socket networks are horrible. I can't believe people still consider them as an option. You think you get headaches from 802.11? Wait till you install one of these power socket networks in an apartment complex with cheap wiring. Get a nice reliable router and either run CAT5 or make sure all your wireless devices take advantage of 802.11N.

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+1 I'll take your advice on not taking the plunge... Cat5 snakes it is then! – bguiz Nov 19 '09 at 5:24
We used network over powerlines at my old work as we couldn't drill through one of the concrete floors into the basement, it all worked fine on a clean circuit, but as soon as anything else went on it performance dropped, and if someone was using the microwave... forget it. – Joe Taylor Feb 18 '10 at 21:30

Personally, nothing beats wired networks... If you can rip up a few carpets and put it underneath, I would!... (or in my house, just have going everywhere!).

Anything that follows the standard are compatible with each other. That being said, I have installed a few power line network adapters for people - I cannot recommend one brand over another as even the named brand ones seem to have problems - In one building with 5 adapters, 3 Netgears and 2 unknown from eBay, the Netgears all burn out at roughly the same time and the two unknown brand ones are still going strong.

Performance - It depends, Never had a problem or seen packet loss but the limit on speed is meant to be 189Mb/s, however I have never been able to achieve more than 110Mb/s... However, Wired can be (and increasingly is by default) Gigabit.

So, No, I would not recommend the switch.... Also, unless you manage to find it really cheap, I think it will be more expensive than the cost of a gigabit switch/router and cable.

Sorry if I have rambled on a bit, but hopefully I have covered your questions - feel free to ask anything else and I will happily respond.

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+1 Thanks for the comments. Gonna go with wires. – bguiz Nov 19 '09 at 5:25

I use Homeplug devices throughout my house (two sets of DHP-301s).

Personally, I love the technology. For me, it's been one of those rare things that just works the way it's supposed to and you don't have to think about it.

They basically just function as bridges between your different wired areas.

The performance can occasionally leave something to be desired, but as long as you're not doing huge file transfers you should be alright. The only time I have issues is trying to run multiple streams throughout the house. A single stream to an XBMC or 360 is perfectly fine for me. (Your actual throughput will depend on the quality of your household wiring however.)

For standard internet surfing, you won't have any issues.

If you're in an apartment environment though, you probably are better off running Cat5e through the walls. There's minimal work and you would get better performance. (Running Cat5 wasn't an option for me since I'm somewhat handyman-challenged and live in a three story home..)

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