Wojtek Wajerowicz

ethernet over powerline

Imagine this familiar situation: you just got your new amazingly fast broadband Internet in your flat or house, you set up the WiFi and you realize that the signal is strong enough to be usable only in half of your home. It seems that, due to some amazing properties, the walls are able to let all the sound through, but not 2.4/5GHz electromagnetic waves.

What do you do then? In the old days you could either buy more powerful USB WiFi adapter for your laptop/desktop or pull an Ethernet cable between your router and your computer. Both of these solutions are not perfect: the former won’t work with mobile devices and the latter is probably going to be quite cumbersome or messy if not done properly.

Nowadays there’s a nicer solution to this problem:

power-line communication

You don’t need to add any new cables in your home, you probably already have them connecting all the rooms in your house, so why not re-use them? That’s exactly what power-line communication does. It allows you to avoid having to put a long Ethernet cable, instead you can use a special power socket adapter and use a short cable from your router to the nearest socket and another one between a socket closest to your device and your device. You just need to make sure that there are no circuit breakers between the sockets or other safety devices on your electric installation, as power-line communication doesn’t work very well with them.

I can already hear you asking:

what about my phone/tablet/laptop with no ethernet ports?

There’s an easy solution for that as well: some of the adapters include WiFi connectivity, which with quick set up can even clone your existing Wifi network so you don’t have to update settings on your devices. How amazing is that? Of course, usual caveats regarding WiFi set up with multiple Access Points still apply.

equipment

There’s plenty of different brands offering devices for this technology. I’ve used wireless extender from 300Mbps AV200 Wireless N Powerline Extender Starter Kit with Solwise plug. Although manufacturers don’t guarantee interoperability between different devices, as long as you get devices using the same standard (AV200 or AV500 being most popular), they seemed to work well out of the box. You can find lots of comparisons between devices online.

That’s one solution to solving WiFi range problems at home without using too many new cables. If you have others solutions, drop us a line.

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