28
Aug
2015

PowerLine Networking: Good house wiring matters! (Ft. TP-Link AV500)

I decided to grab some relatively cheap TP-Link PowerLine adapters from Amazon to try out:

These are the AV500 2-port Powerline Adapters (came in a pack of two). They feel like they are great quality and certainly meet safety requirements (I don’t want 240V mains blasting the heck out of my stuff). I got two ethernet ports for my server and my main PC. Some more shots:

These were extremely simple to set up. Just press the button on each one within a certain time frame and you’re sorted. Bear this in mind when getting these adapters: even though they say they are rated for up to 500 megabits, the ethernet ports on the adapters are only 100 megabits. I used a 100 megabit connection when testing these and got the following results:

image

About 85 megabits, certainly plenty enough. More and more ISP’s these days are offering higher than 100 megabit connections, so if you have a faster connection, be sure to get an adapter with gigabit ports. Latency was very good, I got around 30 ms with WiFi, so this certainly chops off a lot. To the router, I was looking at 1 ms or less.

…then I moved house. At the new place, the connection is only 60 megabits (boo-hoo 😉 ), so I plugged my adapters in and this is what I got:

image

Only 7 megabits! Sometimes, I get about 1 megabit. For comparison, this is what I can get over WiFi:

image (1)

Strange! I did some investigating and discovered that my plugs were not only on a different circuit to the plugs for the router (downstairs), they were also on a different consumer unit entirely, meaning that the PowerLine signal has to travel from the router, down to the consumer units, cross consumer units to my circuit, and back upstairs to my sockets where the PC and server are. That is a much longer distance and aren’t really designed to work across circuits, so they perform poorly here.

I grabbed their “PowerLine Utility” from their website, and this is the link speed I was shown:

Screenshot_2015-08-28_15-21-33

Meh… 14 megabits. Definitely a house wiring problem. So it looks like I’m stuck with WiFi whilst I am here, hopefully I have better luck with the next place!

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