When it comes to home network, Wi-Fi is always your first choice if there is no wiring done whatsoever. It’s the easiest way to get the internet access to every room in the house. But Wi-Fi has range limitation and is very easy to interference with if you live in a house with thick walls or set up a device that is close to a microwave. In cases like that, powerline network is an easy and awesome alternative to choose instead.
The concept is simple, instead of running wires through your house, you use the existing electrical wire as a sort of data wiring to carry the data signals. Since electricity is 50 or 60 Hz and data is transmitted at least 3 kHZ frequency, the power wave that powers your home electric devices does not interfere with the data signal.
If you like the idea, there are a few more things you need to know before diving in.
It comes in pairs
You will need 2 Powerline Adapters to start with. Using only one doesn’t cut. Why? Because the setup goes like this:
You can add more adapters later to extend your home network around your house. Just make sure the adapters you add in are from the same vendor or better, the same model.
It still needs to connect to a router
The Powerline Adapters bring your computers into the same network. But if you want these computers to access the internet, you need to connect the Powerline network into your router that goes to the internet, just like the graphic above indicated.
Really easy to set up
The devices are almost plug-n-play. Plug them into the wall, push in the network cable, and you are off to go. However, some of the adapters come with security features that require you to press buttons on the adapter to pair up.
Neighbour won’t get to you
If you are worried about your neighbour penetrating to your home network through the powerline at their home, worry no more, as long as you own your own house and pay your own bills. The signals from Powerline Adapter won’t be able to travel to outside your house because they are scrambled by the transformers placed in your house by your Hydro company.
Not work well with surge protectors
The surge protector is a great friend to your PC but not so much with Powerline Adapters. It scrambles the data signals from the Powerline Adapter. Plugging the adapter direct to the wall or into a power bar that doesn’t the surge protection works better.
Not as reliable as wired network
Well, this is expected. It depends on not only the way how your home power line laid but also the brand and model of the adapters you choose. You may have to try out a few different models and brands to find one that works well with your home setup. Even you are using one that works you may still need to power cycle the adapters once a while to keep them in the top working condition.
Overall, Powerline Network is a technology that has been around for a long time. There are many products out there from different companies to choose from. It totally works and works really well in most of the cases.