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I am unable currently using 2 Powerline network adapters with mixed results. Was curious if adding additional adapters would improve overall performance. Thus far have been unable to find a clear answer.

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  • Could you provide more details? When it works, what speed to the devices connect at? How far apart in the building are they located? – sblair Dec 2 '11 at 16:43
  • The adapters were working well enough for some time now. The connections are 2 floors apart. I have been using a Revue, PS3, Wii and a wireless router across them. About a week ago it stopped working on that electrical outlet. – p0rkjello Dec 2 '11 at 17:04
  • I's even worse than that--additional adapters increase the probability of collisions. – wnrph Dec 2 '11 at 21:46
  • The monster powernet 200 documentation claims you should add more adapters to improve overall performance. Whether this is really true or not I'd be interested in knowing in more detail. – Doug T. Jan 4 '12 at 17:43
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The monster powernet 200 documentation claims you should add more adapters to improve overall performance. I'm curious why they would state this if its clearly not true as the current answers state?

Their comment is quite subjective; if all of the powerline adapters were all electrically in the same location, then sure, adding more on the line would not only increase load, but add more noise filtering on the same line (hence creating a path of least resistance for the signal to travel over), thus adding more = a good thing.

Is it ever true? Is it just a gimmick to sell more units?

In your situation, I would say no; as your going across multiple floors. Given that you are traversing across multiple circuits, the information has to travel the length of the powerline adapters down through the circuit breakers to the other adapter in the house. Thus, a longer path than simply between both units.

Is it true only for some brands/models? (ie the powernet 200 also does some noise filtering -- maybe more filtering is better?) Maybe more powernet units helps the units better learn the noise characteristics of your power?

This really would only apply if each unit were on the same line; not split across multiple circuits. The current answer provides some additional detail as to why this would cause an issue; Houses with old wiring, for example, can interject so much noise on the line, or be ran improperly so much that increased attenuation on the line would cause the signal to degrade to the point where the powerline amplifiers couldn't properly pickup, amplify and filter out the noise.

Faulty wiring is another issue. Even if the wiring in the house is brand new, faulty wiring, short circuits, exposed wires, even wires going around other junctions or around other pipes that can cause interference can add increased attenuation and signal degradation to the line. Both of which the powerline adapter cannot fully compensate for.

So, the factors you have here are:

  • Faulty Wiring: Injects noise and signal degradation
  • Old wiring: Cause too much line attenuation to be useful
  • Separate circuits/long circuit pathways: Causes increased signal attenuation on the line

And, lastly, you also have load:

When you add more units to the same line, you increase the load on the line; and as you increase the load on the line, you interject noise and attenuation; if it's on the same line, the attenuation can be compensated by the powerlines internal amplifier, but if it's on a separate line, it's like picking up a conversation in the next room, amplifying it, only to hear a muddy mess; unlike NCIS or CSI, these units cannot re filter out the signal and make the muddy mess into something clear enough to transmit to another unit.

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You can treat powerline networking for all practical purposes just like any other network, so unless you have some fancy networking kit that can aggregate bandwidth across multiple NICs and switch ports then adding extra powerline adapters will let you link additional computers, but not make a single link "go faster"

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I use a pair of 200mbs powerline adapters to connect with my office 150ft down the garden. Data speed for large file transfers is around 20mbps. If I plug in another adapter in the office (switched on but not used) the speed increases to 35mbps. Turning off or unplugging it results in the connection slowing down again.

In the past i have also connected other powerline adapters in the house - but these seemed to slow down or completely break the office connection, so i put in some cat5 cable to that device and then left it all alone for the last few years.

This seems very like dealing with the unpredictable behavior of radio signals - sometimes the best way of finding a solution is to just try a few things out until it works for you.

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The underlying problem is most likely that the two devices are (electrically) too far apart, the wiring is old or unsuitable, or there is some form of interference. Adding other devices probably won't overcome this.

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From Powerline FAQ :

What is line "noise"?

Every appliance on your electrical line generates noise, or interference, for Powerline transmission. While distance has some affect on line noise, the number of appliances and age of electrical wiring will have greater impact. The longer the distance and the greater the line noise, the less square footage you will be able to cover with Powerline.

It might be that some electrical appliance, new or old, is now generating electrical noise.

You could check if there is interference on one floor only or in the entire house, by maybe turning off electrical appliances one-by-one or unplugging entire circuits in the search for this appliance. This way you might create a map of problematic appliances and/or electrical lines.

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