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So long story short, I live in a small apartment block, not that many flats. I bough a powerline adapter to play my games through Steam Link works brilliantly! I get very good speed, good enough so Steam Link works flawlessly. However I noticed that on peak hours (18:00) the connection gets a little bit busy so the speed drops enough to make it harder to stream.

I checked on my Modem's settings the connected devices and I was surprised to find iPhones and Apple TV's that do not belong to me and all of them are connected to LAN 2 (The same that in my modem belongs to the powerline).

My question is, can the traffic of my neighbour's devices (that seem to be connected to a powerline adapter as well) affect my network? I thought powerlines were encrypted, and also Why are our networks entwined? I supposed my powerline would not detect anything outside my electricity box?

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    since iPhones cant connect to the powerline networking, are you sure they arent connected to your wireless?
    – Keltari
    Feb 21, 2017 at 0:07
  • Pretty sure they are not. Not only I use a very complex password but also they are showing as connected to LAN2 port which is the port that goes to my powerline. The fact that they are showing there tells me that they are connected through WI-FI to my neighbour's network but somehow the networks are intertwined? Feb 21, 2017 at 0:16
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    talking about your "Electricity box", this is not necessarily true. If the breakers are closed, your network is theoretically accessible to those outside your circuit as well
    – Blaine
    Feb 21, 2017 at 2:51
  • "I thought powerlines were encrypted" -- That helps only if you have properly configured your powerline units. Apparently you're still using the default (low/no security) setting, which allows plug-n-play operation. See security.stackexchange.com/questions/9725/…
    – sawdust
    Feb 21, 2017 at 3:16

2 Answers 2

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I'll assume you're talking about HomePlug AV, the most common type.

HP AV powerline networks have a network membership key, which is most often set to HomePlugAV by default – so if you and your neighbour both bought the same kind of adapters, they'll have the same default key and therefore be part of the same network.

The easiest way to change it is to use the "Pair" button on your adapters – press it on one and then the other within 2 minutes and they'll set up a new network key.

To add a third (4th, ...) adapter, press the button on the new adapter first, and then on one of the old adapters to "accept" the pairing.

Many adapters also allow this to be configured via their web interface; if there isn't one, you can use "open-plc-utils" on Linux, or the manufacturer's provided app on Windows:

plctool -M -K <new_network_password> broadcast

(All manufacturers' HP AV devices are required to accept the same control packets, so the app & the device don't even have to match.)

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  • Brilliant! I actually thought they were encrypted already but apparently my neighbour and me both have the exact same models so the network names were the same. I thought to my neighbour and they had no idea you could change it either and now we have both added security to our networks and their devices are not showing in my router anymore. Cheers! Feb 21, 2017 at 19:00
  • HomePlugAV is the default network specified by the HP AV standard – so it doesn't usually depend on the model, and it doesn't even depend on the manufacturer. (Though yes, some models do come pre-paired.)
    – user1686
    Feb 21, 2017 at 19:22
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There is more than one powerline networking technology, and more than one vendor of each (with different default settings) and multiple ways to configure them. So if you don’t recall setting up encryption on your powerline devices, then it’s probably not on.

Yes, if you don’t have encryption enabled, you and your apartment neighbors will all be on the same network.

Just like home gateway routers, powerline networking boxes usually have a management UI you get to through your web browser. So log into your boxes and see if they see other powerline boxes that aren’t yours, and see if you have encryption enabled.

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