Author Topic: Powerline Networking  (Read 1039 times)

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Offline fox

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Powerline Networking
« on: March 04, 2021, 08:16:51 am »
What exactly is Ethernet over house wiring? Is this where you plug in a dongle and connect it via Ethernet cable to your computer? I tried one of these a few months ago and the speeds were terrible. (I brought it back.)
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Offline ssfc72

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2021, 08:40:10 am »
I wouldn't describe it as a dongle.  There are 2 small ( maybe 2" X 3") boxes that have plug prongs to plug into the wall outlets in your house. The one sending unit you attach an ethernet cable to you modem or router and the other receiving unit plugs into a remote wall outlet, in your house, where you have a computer or tv and you hook an ethernet cable from the wall unit to your computer.

I believe Brian said  he has used them and they worked well and the devices come rated at different data speeds. The cheap older ones only may be able to do the 100 Mbps etherent speeds while the more expensive units would be able to do the Gb ethernet speeds.

Maybe your house wiring is not suitable for ethernet over powerline or the Brand you tried was not very good.  Talk to Brain P or Kal if you need better info. :-)
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Offline fox

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2021, 01:29:35 pm »
What I had was just a single unit that plugged into the wall. Nothing came with it that would be plugged into the router. So I suspect it was just picking up a wifi signal from the router and sending it via Ethernet to the computer attached to this unit.

Is what Brian was talking about also called a Powerline Network (see this article? If so these look to cost $100-200. The potential advantage to me is related to my 2019 iMac, in which the internal wifi connector doesn't work in Linux (no driver for it). Instead, I bought a USB wifi dongle, which does work, but takes one of my USB ports, and requires a special driver installation which I would have to do for any distro I want to try. I would be willing to buy an Ethernet over house device if not too expensive, but ones like those in the article I noted run $80-130 at Staples.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2021, 01:46:09 pm by fox »
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Offline William

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2021, 05:02:03 pm »
...  The potential advantage to me is related to my 2019 iMac, in which the internal wifi connector doesn't work in Linux (no driver for it). Instead, I bought a USB wifi dongle, which does work, but takes one of my USB ports, and requires a special driver installation which I would have to do for any distro I want to try. ...

Why didn't you buy USB wifi dongle or USB-to-Ethernet dongle that Linux supported?  Then, you would be all set.  They are cheap, and Asus is pretty good in terms of quality and Linux support.  Nowdays, you actually have to work at it, to not get it to work on Linux.

If you want ethernet wire into your mac, then try something like Asus RP-N12 repeater.  Keyword in description is "media bridge" or "client mode".  I use it to connect my ethernet devices in my basement to main floor router.  It's wire between devices and the repeater, and it's wifi between the repeater and the router.  Canada Computer no longer sells it, but does sell RP-AC55 (I guess, AC version instead of N).  Other people say that TP-LINK TL-WR802N works for this purpose, though I don't trust its quality.

gmiller1977

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2021, 05:10:29 pm »
I'm sorry I missed this chat.  I completely forgot about it.

I have Powerline Ethernet in my house.  I got sick of Wifi interference in the area as more APs came online.  I bought TP-Link units for my home and they work fantastic.  Faster than 100Mbit, not quite as fast as Gbit.  I just use a switch upstairs for the computers and then uplink from the switch to the Powerline Ethernet to go to other areas of my house.  I bought 2 starter kits because the cost of 2 starter kits was cheaper than 4 individual units (go figure).

It lets you get Ethernet to areas that you would have difficulty getting it to, for example, my office is on the second floor of the house, on the north side, but my internet connectivity is on the lower level on the south side.... and I don't have any bulkheads I can go through to get CAT5/6 there without going outside, on a 4/12 pitched roof..... no thanks.  Weatherized CAT5/6 cable is also WAY more expensive than what I paid for these units.

I've read reports that you can get slow speeds if the wiring in your house is old, or, if you have aluminium wiring.  Not sure if this is true.

Wifi can work in many cases, but in others it cannot. 

My VoIP phone is wired.
Plex transcodes over wire better than wifi because of the bandwidth available.

I only use WiFi for cell phones, tablets, consoles, and printers.  Otherwise, I prefer cabled connections.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2021, 05:18:15 pm by gmiller1977 »

Offline ssfc72

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2021, 05:29:26 pm »
Yes, the device that plugs into your home electrical wall outlet, I was thinking of and that Brian P. spoke about, is called "ethernet over powerline".  I have one that I bought quite a few years ago, but I haven't used and is still in the shrink wrapped box.  I will have to go looking for it and test it out.  I could let you try it out, if you want to.


What I had was just a single unit that plugged into the wall. Nothing came with it that would be plugged into the router. So I suspect it was just picking up a wifi signal from the router and sending it via Ethernet to the computer attached to this unit.

Is what Brian was talking about also called a Powerline Network (see this article? If so these look to cost $100-200. The potential advantage to me is related to my 2019 iMac, in which the internal wifi connector doesn't work in Linux (no driver for it). Instead, I bought a USB wifi dongle, which does work, but takes one of my USB ports, and requires a special driver installation which I would have to do for any distro I want to try. I would be willing to buy an Ethernet over house device if not too expensive, but ones like those in the article I noted run $80-130 at Staples.
Mint 19.1 on a Dell 14" Inspiron notebook, HP Pavilion X360, 11" k120ca notebook (Linux Lubuntu), Dell 13" XPS notebook computer (MX Linux)
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Offline fox

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2021, 10:31:07 pm »
Sure, I would be interested in trying it.
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Offline Jason

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2021, 02:15:36 pm »
Sounded like a great meeting with lots of information. Maybe we need to record these. :) But then people might not show up.
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Offline fox

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2021, 04:00:04 pm »
I decided that I want to try a powerline adapter, so I ordered the D-link Powerline Av-2 1000 from Staples online. It is highly rated and looks to deliver at speeds comparable to that of my AC 1200 USB adapter. The big advantage is that it would hook to my iMac via ethernet, which means that any distro I try on it should get automatic internet. (My wifi adapter works but required a driver to be installed. My internal wifi is not recognized by any Linux and I couldn't find a driver for it.) I paid $80 plus tax for it. If it doesn't work well, I can just return it.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 04:43:37 pm by fox »
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Offline ssfc72

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2021, 06:09:29 am »
Sounds good Mike, I would expect the powerline ethernet adapter should work well for you. I will be interested in your findings.
I haven't had a chance, to go looking for my power line adapter, yet.  It is an older model so I would think it probably is only able to do about 300 Mbps speeds.
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Offline fox

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2021, 07:53:17 am »
It is supposed to get here on Monday, and I'm keen to try it. I believe that it comes with two adapters, so I can even put one upstairs and use it with my 2011 iMac. I talked to a guy in Staples about it, and he said that the key to it working well is (1) having not-old wiring in your house; (2) having the router and the outlet where you are using it on the same electrical box (as opposed to same circuit breaker); and (3) not plugging it into a power bar. I think I'm OK on all three counts.

I'll report back once I've tried it, but I think I'll do it in either the Marketplace or Tips thread. Probably the latter, as I there are several powerline adapter brands and I don't think my result will be specific to the D-Link I bought. BestBuy in Peterborough had a Netgear model in stock for $100 that comes with Ethernet cables; I could have gone with that one. There are also several models that can be bought for under $60, but they operate at half the speed of the one I bought.
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Offline Jason

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2021, 04:13:25 pm »
I was thinking about the old wiring. Your house looks fairly old (not disparaging it, I like old houses) although old is relative. Our triplex isn't really old but it started as a duplex and the basement apartment we're in was added later. I think the guy that did the wiring was a do-it-yourselfer and didn't really understand what he was doing or just had to do it in an ad-hoc way. I doubt powerline adapters would work here.
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Offline fox

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2021, 04:43:22 pm »
Old house is a compliment to me. But we had a renovation about 10 years ago and the wiring was upgraded. Anyway, we'll see. If it doesn't work, I'll return it and be no worse off than I am now.
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gmiller1977

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2021, 06:49:18 pm »
I was thinking about the old wiring. Your house looks fairly old (not disparaging it, I like old houses) although old is relative. Our triplex isn't really old but it started as a duplex and the basement apartment we're in was added later. I think the guy that did the wiring was a do-it-yourselfer and didn't really understand what he was doing or just had to do it in an ad-hoc way. I doubt powerline adapters would work here.

As long as it's 14/2 or 14/3 and not aluminium it should be fine in terms of age and thus in terms of performance.  We had a friend buy a house 10 years ago and it still had knob and tubing in parts.

Unless there is something in the house that is sending out a LOT of interference or if there is a bad ground, performance should be fine.

Offline Jason

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Re: Powerline Networking
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2021, 03:52:54 am »
As long as it's 14/2 or 14/3 and not aluminium it should be fine in terms of age and thus in terms of performance.  We had a friend buy a house 10 years ago and it still had knob and tubing in parts.

Unless there is something in the house that is sending out a LOT of interference or if there is a bad ground, performance should be fine.

It has aluminum wiring. I discovered that years ago when the outlets started sparking. I don't think that aluminum wiring should pair with copper outlets; I think it speeds up the corrosion. I couldn't believe how corroded the wire connecting to the outlets was.

Btw, having cats is a good early warning system for sounds like that. Years ago, I couldn't figure out why one of our cats kept jumping down into this corner. I thought he was neurotic. Turns out it was the outlet sparking on the inside. I only noticed it when I had the lights out and saw the little flashes. Now if a cat is near an outlet, I check.
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata