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I have a 150Mb Virgin Broadband connection, and wired connections consistently report around 161Mb/s download and 12.25Mb/s upload.

You can view the result here

I get similar results from my Macbook Pro via WiFi too, using the 5g wireless connection.

Using a TP-Link TL-PA251KIT AV200+ i get 60Mb download and 4Mb upload, via the ethernet connection on the Macbook Pro. I tried this on power sockets close to the router, and on the other side of the house. Similar results every time.

I always put the powerline directly into a socket, never via a surge protector or standard extension or adapter.

The product details for the powerline state the following...

can provide users with a stable high-speed data transfer rate of up to 200Mbps over a household electric circuit for up to 300 meters

Am i right in assuming that my 150Mb broadband connection could 'potentially' run at full speed between these powerline adapters?

If so, i am looking to narrow down potential causes for the drop, and would like to understand the feasibility of the following causes...

  • House Wiring, its quite old (yet results are consistent regardless of range)
  • Second network created by powerline, between each device (this seems hard to believe)

Any help greatly appreciated

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  • 1
    Powerline adapters hardly ever get close to their advertised speeds, because of noise, outlets being on different circuit, and other variables. I have a Linksys PLEK500 (up to 500Mbps), and I'm happy to get 40Mbps, but much more reliable than Wireless-N. Reviews have the PLEK-500 adapters going up to 200+Mbps depending on your wiring. So perhaps a newer version of Powerline will be sufficient to get full speed from your ISP.
    – shinjijai
    May 1, 2014 at 13:44
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    "200Mbps" refers to Megabits, not Megabytes. When you say you are receiving 60MB download, do you mean Megabytes (MB) or Megabits (Mb)?
    – bdr9
    May 1, 2014 at 13:45
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    Is it on a surge protector or power strip? I experimented with PowerLine adaptors a while back and found that putting anything between the adaptor and the wall socket would degrade or disable the connection.
    – PFitz
    May 1, 2014 at 15:21
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    Other devices plugged into the circuits can attenuate the signal, or contribute line noise: both reduce your signal-to-noise ratio. I haven't been able to determine in my cursory glance if the adapters are assigned IP addresses. If they are, then it may be possible to use an SNMP utility to determine their media quality, and negotiated transmission rate. Keep in mind that even new house wiring would be hard-pressed to meet even Category 3 data wiring standards, as each device plugged in alters its transmission profile. May 2, 2014 at 0:12
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    SNMP requires that the devices have IP addresses (and that your system can send and receive traffic with them. This free app on the App Store itunes.apple.com/ca/app/snmp-test-utility/id441785756?mt=12 can help determine if a device on your network is SNMP-capable. May 2, 2014 at 9:26

2 Answers 2

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I recently bought a Netgear powerline ethernet adapter that was capable of 300Mbps data transfer and should (theoretically) push my full 105/12 Mbps Comcast service. I actually get roughly 35-40Mbps, which sucks to have to settle for that kind of loss, but the reality is that you're hard-wired with that speed. Barring any major electrical noise, your latency will be super-low and the signal will be consistent. My ISP's .ac router has the range to reach where I'm at, with fair signal, but there's too much signal power loss (best case scenario = ~55dB... OKAY at best). I ran into intermittent signal loss that would screw with my web browsing and my online gaming at times - super annoying!

Jumping to a powerline adapter greatly improved my connection, even at the loss of speed. To get more to the point, the more stuff you have plugged into your walls across the house, the more opportunity for signal loss due to the noise on of those currents. If you have a ton of stuff that you leave on for no good reason, get in the habit of turning them off. I found that my high speed USB phone charger for my Nexus 6 and my Xbox One were creating a lot of noise that greatly degraded the signal from 40 to as low as 5! Now, I usually can leave my Xbox One on, but power cycling it ramped up my speed instantly, so I knew that was one item that (if left on for many many hours at a time) is capable of bottle-necking my powerline adapter.

As stated earlier, even older wiring can support good speeds, but remember that your wiring can run hundreds of meters depending on how everything is setup, and jumping between circuits further drops your signal - enough to probably cut your bandwidth by more than 50%. So if you don't have a fast internet service (under 15 Mbps), powerline adapters could ultimately be pointless, since you could see subpar connectivity. However, newer homes with up-to-date wiring can prove to offer lower noise when using these adapters. My home isn't new... not old, but not new. A newer wiring setup would probably double my speeds.

In the end, if you're choosing between accepting weak WiFi signal and decent, if reduced, powerline speeds, choose the later for sure. If you'd rather, run a powerline adapter from your source and put it maybe mid-way between your modem/router and where you need internet then hook up an access point. You'll probably pull the best speeds that way (if you aren't required to have a hardline connection). It just costs a bit more since you need the adapters AND the AP for that.

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You sure can't get 60MB/s (480 Mbps) for the simple reason that the powerlines get advertised (and named) with values much above their real capabilities. For example they say 200/500 Mbps but then they have a 10/100 Mbps ethernet port. And that's the bottleneck. If you get 60 Mbps you get a good value since an ethernet 100 Mbps connection should reach a maximum of about 80Mbps. To get full bandwidth from a fast internet connection (above 100 Mbps) one must buy a powerline with a 1Gbit ethernet port. To me it sounds like false advertising, but what can we do..

Then there is the v2 standard, which supports MIMO. With MIMO the throughput between the power lines is raised using the three electrical wires (phase and neutral plus the ground) and goes back to SISO (Single In/Single Out) if only two wires are available (the ground is missing. Typical with old plugs in my Country).

Still, from the reviews I have checked the highest bandwidth reached has been about 350 Mbps. Which wouldn't be bad but that was true only for one powerline (Netgear I think). But the reviews were some months old, so things may have improved, now.

PS: I know this is old, but it may help other users like me before they waste their money.

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  • "To me it sounds like false advertising" -- It's not. If you take a bus to the airport, fly in a jet, then another bus into the city, would you claim that the trip by jet was overrated and there was no benefit of jet travel because the averaged travel speed was crippled by the bus speeds? You are confusing/conflating bandwidth of individual links with averaged throughput.
    – sawdust
    Jun 24, 2019 at 2:10
  • It's misleading the least. If they sell 2 PLAs, each one with a single 10/100Mbps port there is no way a connection can ever reach the "jet" speed of 500+ Mbps. Actually I'd love to know how and where they measured that maximum bandwidth and why that (claimed) speed is relevant to the consumer. Also considering that the electrical network is a second bottleneck. So much that even with 1Gbps ethernet ports the maximum bandwidth measure between 2 PLAs didn't go above 350 Mbps. I measured it myself with the 2 PLAs plugged into the same power strip. With mine it was around 300Mbps. Jun 24, 2019 at 5:21
  • More one time: you are confusing/conflating an averaged speed with the speed of individual links. You didn't measure the speed of the PowerLine link. You are only able to measure the average speed over all links. The Ethernet frames are store-and-forwarded (i.e. buffered) between each link. Each link can have its own unique speed, independent of other links. You think it's misleading because you misunderstand how Ethernet works.
    – sawdust
    Jun 24, 2019 at 7:29
  • And one more time: I don't care if the internal link is 1Gbps or more when the device I'm buying is bottlenecked first of all by the 100Mbps ethernet port(s). Also because most old PLAs only have one of those ports. There isn't any switching. Thus the maximum bandwidth I can get is limited up to 100Mbps. And that is, as a consumer, the first information I care about. My PLAs have two 1Gbps ethernet ports and 1Gbps internal link. I have got, as AVERAGE, up to 300 Mbps. So, what would I have got if the ethernet ports were at 100Mbps? Less than 1/3. That's what I care about. Jun 25, 2019 at 6:41
  • @MicheleDall'Agata But the bottleneck isn't their fault. The powerline can still run at the advertised speeds, you just don't have the hardware to reach them. That isn't false advertising.
    – user319256
    Jun 13, 2020 at 21:31

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