I would like to get a pair of Ethernet over powerline adapters so I can get a better connection on my desktop than what I currently get over WiFi.

My problem is that I live in a block of flats. I'm not sure if this will share my LAN throughout the whole building, or just my flat. Can someone shed some light whether this is an issue or not?

A colleague said you can encrypt the traffic, and I could probably setup my router to only allow certain MAC addresses. But I still don't like the idea of sharing my connection throughout the whole building.

  • 1
    It's only work if they are on the same wire/circuit. Mar 28, 2014 at 18:18
  • 3
    This is not true, it's dependent on phases, which means in theory, your neighbor could pick up your information.
    – DJ Chateau
    Mar 28, 2014 at 18:25
  • 4
    AFAIK, these devices work by being paired. One of your neighbors couldn't pair with you without you taking action to allow the pairing.
    – joeqwerty
    Mar 28, 2014 at 18:28
  • 2
    "But I still don't like the idea of sharing my connection throughout the whole building" -- Then why do you use 802.11, which broadcasts the WiFi signal throughout your building and beyond? You already have a security problem. You're just replacing one security problem with another security problem.
    – sawdust
    Mar 28, 2014 at 19:11
  • 5
    Beware that your Ethernet power adapters link is a mix of PoE (Power over Ethernet) and Ethernet over power, aka Powerline Ethernet. Hope you understand the difference.
    – sawdust
    Mar 28, 2014 at 19:24

4 Answers 4


I believe (and have made an edit to your post) that you actually mean an Ethernet over powerline bridge. These are a fancy set of circuitry that ultimately act as a very long Ethernet cable.

How far it works is dependent on a few factors that ultimately require a combination of testing and test equipment. The most straightforward way to try it out would be to visit a neighbor and plug it in directly to see if you can get a connection in their flat.

As others have mentioned in comments, it's normal for these devices to be simple bridge type adapters that require a pairing procedure of some sort. Once paired, these devices will only communicate with each paired device, not with unpaired devices that appear. You can look for specific models of adapters that include built-in security, such as these TP-LINK ones.

  • I like the TP-Link ones - most of these devices come with cross compatible software, and theirs was the nicest I've used so far. I use it with my aztech adaptors too.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Mar 31, 2014 at 1:23

Referencing this answer - Its supposed to stop at your power meter - I do believe the connection between the mains and power lines is coupled, rather than a physical connection, which allows this. The theoretical range is 300 meters, but practically, this is the length of your power lines, and homeplug is a sensitive to line noise, so it will be less.

Every homeplug adaptor I've bought has had a standard pre-set private network name and adaptors on the same power line with different network names don't talk to each other. I'd strongly recommend resetting these to something, since if nothing else, it helps you troubleshoot. Once this is done, you will not be sharing your connection with a non-paired adaptor in your apartment let alone the whole building.

I'd also add, I never picked up anyone elses network when I ran homeplug, and I'm sure at least one of the ~90 apartments other than mine has at least experimented with it ;)


Yes, the connection will travel farther then you think - have a look here to see the comments relating to these devices travelling across meters and phases of wiring.

This is not to say you can't encrypt your signals, only that they may well travel through to other flats.


If you connect your routers internet port or WAN port to the line that goes out to the internet and you place all of your devices on the LAN (internal ports) or even a wireless LAN behind the router, you should be safe as long as you stick to an encrypted Wi-Fi connection, if you decide to go wireless.

The router is your hardware firewall, as long as you keep your devices connected to the LAN side of the router and don't DMZ them, they will be safe. I don't know if you want to send a Wi-Fi signal a long distance but a company called Ubiquiti makes some great long range access points, no need to use power line Ethernet, it is slow and from what I have read, it has many draw backs to it. Ubiquiti website

If you want to confirm you are on your own LAN, turn on file and print sharing and allow the necessary ports to open in the software firewall. If you don't see any unknown PCs that aren't yours in your network, that should confirm you are on your own LAN. You can also download a program called netscan.exe from this website Netscan download site. With this tool you can set the IP range of your network and scan to see, what other devices are found on it. You should only see your won devices

I hope this helps out Cheers

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