back to article High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables

Whether you’re a fan of the Internet of Things (IoT) or just a user of home technology, for many Reg readers IP connectivity is something that you probably want just about everywhere in your home, whether it’s to WhatsApp from the bath, or for things like media streamers and smart TVs in the living room. Compared to five years …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My TP-Link 500mbps adapters seemed ok - until doing a long automated trawl of internet sites. Then it was found that the link failed, and sometimes locked up, several times in the run. Nothing was on the mains that would cause obvious noise spikes like central heating etc.

    A wifi Edimax N300 plugged into the ethernet port of the PC doesn't have any problems talking to the broadband router for hours on end.

    The HomePlug-style adapters are now only used as the back haul for the usually unused secondary WAP.

    1. Justicesays

      Have the same issue with my homeplugs. I suspect they are crashing, perhaps due to overheating when in prolonged use.

      In the end I moved the router back to an extension socket and ditched them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I use Belkin 4 port Gb ethernet switches hanging off my powerline plugs, it saves having loads of powerline devices needing to sync up all the time, especially if you are able to group your ethernet devices in fairly close proximity.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      I have some old Netgear plugs, they haven't caused any lock-ups in the last 4 years. It certainly improved things in the basement, where my home office is. I was getting about 256kbps out of my 802.11g and n routers, with the Netgear plugs I get around 50mbps, I certainly get the full 38mbps that my Internet provider gives me on my 35mbps contract - yes, wow, they actually deliver more than they promised!

      Streaming HD video from Amazon for several hours doesn't seem to cause any problems, neither does the continual back-up running around the clock to Carbonite from my PC.

      I've been thinking of upgrading to Devolos recently, but other priorities...

  2. TRT Silver badge

    I had to throw a load of these power line jobbies into a house where the Sky box simply refused to do WiFi anywhere else but in the front room and even then you could only connect whilst you were in the same room. When I did a scan, I found a neighbour to the back of the house was belting out three SSIDs across all the 2.4GHz channels and the output power was almost off the scale. For some reason all the photons were pooling up in my friend's kitchen; some weird lay-line type anomaly probably... there was bugger all mobile phone signal on any network either, but 30 foot outside on the road had 5 bars. Freaky house. The RCD kept tripping out as well, and the light bulbs keep blowing. I advised her to move.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Noise!

    The UK Radio Ham have for many years been lobbying OFCOM to ban powerline equipment.

    When you celebrate your minor victory of getting your internet connection routed to a previously unreachable part of your house, I bet you don't realise that you just turned the unshielded copper wiring of your house into a giant aerial which is now spamming the airwaves with wide-band white noise. Any Radio HAM living within a mile of your house will now be unable to receive numerous stations from around the world.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/05/ofcom_plt_response/

    While OFCOM say there is 'no proof' of noise, a quick search of Youtube will reveal videos made by various HAMs demonstrating otherwise.

    Nightmare.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Noise!

      I had been rather dubious of this in the past, until a neighbour from about 300m away accuratey identified either mine or the adjoining house as a user of homeplugs that was interfering with his amatuer radio equipment.

      Knowing it was the neighbour using it (as my old ones had bizarrely managed to join his network) the 3 of us had a chat and he demonstrated the interferene. He was a very nice chap and offered to buy replacement ones for the neighbour that are notched correctly (his were £20 jobs off ebay of unknown origin). He really shouldn't have had to do that though.

      1. JeffyPoooh
        Pint

        Re: Noise!

        It's not *just* amateur radio (ham) operators. It's also an issue for anyone that likes to listen to longwave, distant AM broadcast band, or shortwave radio.

        The DC to 30 MHz spectrum is a precious resource due to the natural long range nature of the propagation, and it's a darn shame that it's being polluted with so much unnecessary man made noise.

        1. Chris Fox

          Re: Noise!

          Indeed, my heart sank seeing this puff piece for such HF and, increasingly, VHF noise generating crap which demonstrably fails QRM regs., with manufacturers abusing the self-certification process, and "regulators" who fail to act, and then mangle the reporting procedures so they can claim there are no complaints. The reg should know better.

          1. Nigel Whitfield.

            Re: Noise!

            If it were a "puff piece", I think I'd probably have omitted a whole section titled "Falling out of love," in which I discuss the problems that simply turning something off can have, and I'd have completely ignored the audible interference I mentioned I can hear on my kitchen sound system, following the installation of a 1.2Gbps unit.

            I wouldn't have talked about "major hassle" and being "wary of HomePlug for the long term" either, I expect.

            Now, I may not be as critical as you want me to be, but I certainly don't think pointing out these things makes it a cheerleading piece for HomePlug either.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Noise!

          "It's also an issue for anyone that likes to listen to longwave, distant AM broadcast band, or shortwave radio."

          And there's more...

          Who here knows how VDSL works (BT Infinity and friends, the so-called "superfast fibre broadband")? And its derivatives and follow-ons too.

          Here's a hint. It's not fibre. From customer premises to street cabinet it's your plain old copper (hopefully) telephone wires. You may well have known that.

          What may not have clicked is that VDSL is long, medium, and short wave radio **down the telephone wires** - the DSL standards use the same frequencies as the various AM broadcast bands (and more besides).

          So wideband RF splatter stuff like PLT, that interferes with short wave radio, likely interferes with your DSL broadband too. Most of the time for most people it's not too bad, and proper "notching" has helped in a few specific narrow frequency bands. But as more Homeplug stuff is deployed, the general RF noise floor gets worse, which makes high speed DSL more difficult, especially in the presence of certain kinds of line faults. And heaven knows BT already have more than enough trouble with the commercial and technical issues of DSL faults.

          "The DC to 30 MHz spectrum is a precious resource due to the natural long range nature of the propagation, and it's a darn shame that it's being polluted with so much unnecessary man made noise."

          Amen to that, brother.

          This PLT stuff isn't fit for proper CE approval. It's a scandal that it's even allowed to be sold. But BT plc wanted it on their "BT TV" list of parts, so they got it (much to the disgust of the BT plc DSL-related development people, who just make this stuff work, but don't generate any visible amount of direct revenue).

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Noise!

          "It's not *just* amateur radio (ham) operators. It's also an issue for anyone that likes to listen to longwave, distant AM broadcast band, or shortwave radio."

          And amateur radio astronomy, which the 300m-away neighbour was actually doing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Noise!

      > While OFCOM say there is 'no proof' of noise'

      Really?

      Ofcom Propose to Prosecute Owners of Bad Powerline Network Adapters

      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2015/01/ofcom-propose-prosecute-owners-bad-powerline-network-adapters.html

      In fact between 2013 and 2014 the regulator said that 13 different types of apparatus were “found to be causing undue interference“, which Ofcom said “identified a distinct and important need for intervention“.

      More power to them if they finally do clamp down on the cheap crappy stuff.

      1. Fihart

        Re: Noise!

        Some particularly noisy ones were issued by BT to connect their router to your TV. These caused a ruckus and BT withdrew them -- but it makes you wonder whether the current management appreciate how much their forerunners at the GPO contributed to science.

        The models in question didn't work anywhere in my home and interfered badly with my hifi.

        More recently tried Netgear models -- worked but not everywhere in the house.

    3. gwangy

      Re: Noise!

      Thanks for that .. I really laff when i see the Radio Hams whinging. Talk about Kanute and the tide. Get with it Daddyo CB radio is dead , Truck off with your convoy rolling to the nite. I hear stamp collecting and Busologists are looking for members

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Noise!

        "Talk about Kanute and the tide. Get with it Daddyo "

        Yup, these days we know that Canute got bad press and was a pretty decent chap.

      2. Andy3

        Re: Noise!

        er...amateur radio is NOT CB. We have to study and pass exams to get on the airwaves. What exams did you pass to plug those noisy interference-makers in?

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Noise!

        Talk about Kanute and the tide.

        Cnut's demonstration was intended to show his sycophantic followers that he was not all-powerful, and could not command the tide. No-one would have been more surprised than him if the waves had rolled back.

        Also, comparing CB to amateur radio is a little bit like comparing a McDonald's burger flipper to a Michelin-starred chef. Both fun in the right circumstances, but the latter has a lot more training and qualifications, and can do a lot more with his kit.

      4. The Listener
        FAIL

        Re: Noise!

        What has Amateur Radio and CB got to do with each other?

        Oh yes, they are both used by millions of people daily.

        What would you say if someone dumped toxic waste up stream of where you were fishing? its OK for them as the poison is washed down-stream, spoiling your pleasure.

        Grow up and think!!

      5. AlbertH

        Re: Noise!

        " gwangy" - you're not the sharpest tool in the box, are you? The vast majority of the developments in wireless communication that you take for granted came from the "Radio Hams" you deride.

        You wouldn't have wi-fi, mobile phones, portable and mobile radio communications, and high quality TV (we'd have been stuck with the Baird mechanical system if it hadn't been for a group of keen "amateurs" at EMI)..... Try to imagine the emergency services without radio communications.

        Powerline adaptors - of all sorts - cause massive interference - pretty much from DC to daylight. They even interfere with each other!

    4. swschrad

      not just for hams

      the noise also pips across the radio spectrum where police, national defense, and other useful services live. in the UK, those services use less power than they do here across the pond in the US, so the interference from PLD is more noticeable. in the US, the "smart meter" set at the power companies have been pushed into VHF shared services for their transformer monitoring and air-conditioner remote shutoff gear because of trying and failing to get their stuff to work without burying everything else where they wanted to park their transmissions.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Noise!

      It's junk, it fails EN55022 by a typical margin of 40dB (10,000x) and shouldn't be on the market. In fact Norway had the sense to ban them from their market. The whole idea of putting HF, VHF and low band UHF (in the case of g.fast) onto a leaky unmatched and unbalanced feeder is going to radiate. manufacturers know this and is why they have coded notches into the damn things.

      To quote Beavis - "TP for my bunghole!"

    6. Nifty Bronze badge

      Re: Noise!

      I gave up SW listening in the 90s with my last receiver, a lovely British designed Lowe.

      Even in the 90s where was sufficient digital rubbish from appliances and gadgets to prevent clean listening.

      Sold it to someone who presumably lived on a rock in the North Sea.

      Today if I want a quick DX I go to a virtual receiver e.g.

      http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/

      (search websdr for more)

      Books, TV, now SQ receives, what device can't be replaced by the internet?

  4. Efros

    I've tested lots of these over the years and the bottom line is if they work on your home wiring then you're fine, if one has problems they all will, don't even try it on wiring that is of any vintage and be wary about crossing from one circuit to another, as you'll experience significant signal loss. I haven't found any model that works well in my environment and eventually put in a wired wireless bridge to plug a dead spot.

  5. frank ly

    Plug crowding

    If you have lots of fixed low power mains powered items, it's often worthwhile to fit IEC (kettle lead) mains plugs on them and get an IEC connector strip or two. These are readily available on ebay. This saves a lot of space and the leads come out vertically, which helps with space saving and lead stess.

    I also use a TP-Link 5-port switch for any group of two or more items that need a network connection because the cost is less than that of a HomePlug adapter. I recently upgraded to Solwise AV500 and the major factor for speed seems to be my mains wiring (especially downstairs to upstairs, going through the fusebox, with old fashioned fuses) since the speed increase is not much over the old 84MB/s ones I had.

  6. Ol'Peculier
    WTF?

    Bedroom camera

    Somebody's got to ask.

    Why a bedroom cam?

    1. roger 8

      Re: Bedroom camera

      its to see if your data transfer is quicker than your biological transfer :-)

      the old Joke

      husband asks wife. "why do you never tell me when you have an orgasm"

      wifes reply " your never at home when i do "

      now you will be able to watch ;-)

    2. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: Bedroom camera

      Yes, I read "Sometimes a visitor unplugs something, because they don’t like the idea of a camera in the bedroom" and thought "fair enough, you utter pervert"

      Is this article based on Sliver or something?

      1. The Listener
        Happy

        Re: Bedroom camera

        Do folks realise that unless the encryption (if you have any) needs to be totally bomb proof, otherwise others can easily steal your data and web-cam streams......

      2. Mnot Paranoid
        Devil

        Re: Bedroom camera

        Camera in the bedroom.

        Perversion.

        Powerline Adaptors

        An abomination.

    3. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Bedroom camera

      Well, it's not the only security camera in the house; just the one that causes most concern, for some reason :)

      I can also use it to check on the cats when I'm away, as they curl up in the chair or on my bed.

      The mere suggestion that it might ever be used in conjunction with the sort of remote controlled sex toys I wrote about here is, of course, mortifying.

      1. Elmer Phud
        WTF?

        Re: Bedroom camera

        Bloody hell!

        Remote pics of cat then post on FB!

  7. Pete 2

    The IoT thing

    > a fan of the Internet of Things (IoT)

    If you're a true geek you'll be rolling your own IoT out of ESP8266's and looking seriously at the possibility of configuring them as a mesh network. Given that they are < £5 a pop, any geek's house should have these in every room (they also work as wifi APs and stations) and should be hooked in to the home internet, too.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: The IoT thing

      I cant image the Wife Acceptance Factor on those is very high.

      Lifes too short these days to geek around with basic infrastructure kit. I want set up once and forget it. Its a PITA just rebooting the Broadband Router every once in a while.

  8. Mog_X

    I've had three TP-Link adaptors fail over the last year, all because of blown capacitors (this seems to be a common fault with these). I managed to fix one, but the passthrough versions were too fiddly. Now relocated the router to a central position and gone back to wireless.

  9. Firefox

    Solwise 200AV

    I use exactly the kit you have pictured here. I've had a piggy 6 and a single port 200AV for several years and they've been Ok with only a couple of re-pairings needed.

    Exactly the point of your article, more devices needing networking, so I bought another piggy 6 but the 3x system lasts barely 24h before needing switching off and restarting and usually repairing. It's now a PIA and I have CAT5 strung across the floor.

    Not entirely sure it's Solwise's fault, it's probably "noisy mains" it seems to have happened since I started charging a set of IP phones - small chargers are particularly bad at introducing noise on the mains.

    ...and guess what else has been multiplying exponentially in the home over the past few years...small chargers.

    1. Efros

      Re: Solwise 200AV

      Particular culprits in my house, ignoring the antiquated wiring, were the fridge and the microwave.

    2. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Solwise 200AV

      Yes, I was wondering that. Where once most of the things plugged in were chunky devices like TVs or PVRs with proper grown up power supplies, there are an awful lot more things now running with cheap plug-top PSUs - besides the phone, there's now the tablet, there's a test PVR, the PSU for the Raspberry Pi, the Roku, ChromeCast, VoIP phones, and so on - so, compared to when I first started using HomePlug, there's probably a lot more noise than there was in the past.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Solwise 200AV

      > small chargers

      Hear hear. Maybe it's just my luck but I've always had a lot of trouble with impulse chargers when it comes to Powerline Ethernet... In the end I went for pulling CAT6 everywhere I could and using WiFi (with bridges and repeaters as needed) where I could not.

  10. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Solwise

    Erm considering this article starts off with showing a Solwise then displaying their chart why not review their 1.2GB units which are much cheaper?

    By the way I am biased here as I use Solwise the dual Ethernet port 1.2GB units!

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Solwise

      I am waiting for some to arrive, along with a few other goodies.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: Solwise

        Just few days ago I received pre-ordered TP-Link TL-PA8010P

      2. gyre
        Thumb Up

        Re: Solwise

        +1 for the solwise 1200 piggys. Had mine since end of Jan and they've been flawless so far. Easily getting an actual (checked in both directions with iperf) 200mbit/s between floors of my house.

        -- gyre --

  11. batfastad

    Latency

    The thing that really surprised me about homeplug was the latency. Granted I've got a pair of budget Trendnet devices, not sure which gen, maybe 200mbps. Ping to the router through homeplug is about 10ms, which is the same as pinging one of my servers in a DC from my router (ADSL). Compared to less than 1ms over Wifi.

    It's a new-build flat, which I know doesn't guarantee good wiring. I don't think the brand of adaptor or the homeplug standard version would make too much difference to this though, I'm assuming the latency is simply down to the conversion/transmission protocol. Anyone able to elaborate?

    I'm not dissing homeplug in the slightest, it just works and blows my mind really. But I was just surprised at this level of latency.

    Unless I've just got duff homeplugs and other people get lower latency?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Latency

      How are you measuring your ping times?

      In the brief period when I had HomePlug things, I found that UDP-based stuff tended to fall over rather frequently, whereas TCP stuff didn't have so much of a problem.

      Why's this? Because TCP stuff has retries built in, but UDP doesn't, so whether a UDP application sees a problem or not is dependent on the application/protocol design.

      Ping (as in ICMP) is neither UDP or TCP as such. Similarly with DNS. It's more like UDP, but the application typically has retries built in. But retries won't be immediate - if a sent packet is corrupted so badly that no valid data is visible, the receiver can't say "send it again" because there's no packet to resend. The sender has to wait for a while before deciding whether to re-send the packet.

      So if you have lots of intermittent noise in this picture, you will get lots of intermittent packet loss, TCP will survive if you're lucky. UDP might not.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Latency

      I get <1 ms on the AV500 home plug kits I've provided for my family. I'm surprised your wifi is so low latency, mine varies wildly from 1ms to 50ms.

      The ones I've provided for my are all to ensure that wifi signal extends in to the rooms they want it to extend to. I used "TP-LINK TL-WPA4220T", which is a £60 kit with one base station unit and two extenders, the network signal is sent of PLN to the extenders, which then have a built in wifi AP. The APs support WPS push button setup, and the PLU is also PBS, took all of about 2 minutes to pair to the base unit and Virgin superhub, and get my (nursing) sister online in the room she likes to sit in when feeding the baby.

      I think its the first time she's ever appreciated that I'm a techy ;)

  12. Andre Carneiro

    Wired ethernet still rules

    And honestly, it's not that expensive to cable your house. A bit time-consuming, maybe, but definitely worth the hassle.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Wired ethernet still rules

      Unless you're renting, in which case plumbing cabling behind the walls is normally a no-no....

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Wired ethernet still rules

        So you run along the floor and ceiling corners, snake under doors, and so on. When you move, you can just pull it all up to please the landlord. Find this to be a useful technique not because the house I was in was rented but because all the walls (including the interior ones) were cinder block.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Alan Bourke
    Thumb Up

    1200 mbps eh?

    Finally something that won't bottleneck my 240mbps broadband!

  15. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    The time has come, the Walrus said ...

    for the UK to dump it's monster plugs - expensive and over-engineered.

    Europe has a grounded plug whereas the North American/Canadian/Japanese markets seem to manage very well using connectors with even less metal.

    Ring main fuses could still be employed but likely replaced with electronic assemblies.

    1. Efros

      Re: The time has come, the Walrus said ...

      US plugs are a PITA, the quality of components is terrible, the pins bend easily and the plugs can and do actually fall out of the wall. You need at least 4" of clearance around any wall socket as the plugs come straight out of the socket, apparently 90 degree plugs are technology beyond USAians. Gimme a decent 13A plug anyday.

      1. Caustic tWit

        Re: The time has come, the Walrus said ...

        @Efros

        I think you're being a little hard on us, old chap. You can buy the cheapest sockets, or you can, and I did, buy 'commercial' (or even 'hospital' grade) for slightly more. And we do have right-angle plugs. (sniff)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: The time has come, the Walrus said ...

          Not to mention the average plugs take the better part of a decade to start wearing down and they're designed to not be that difficult to replace if you need to. I replaced all the sockets in the house I moved into (some 25 sockets, including three bathroom ones that required GFCIs) in a day and a half (would've been a day but some rooms couldn't be done right away due to being in use).

          1. choleric

            Re: The time has come, the Walrus said ...

            It's the Ozzie plugs that worry me. Same basic structure as a North American plug (the difference being the angle of the pins relative to each other) but handling 220V ac.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The time has come, the Walrus said ...

              Voltage isn't the killer, remember. It's current. And most households carry the same total amount of power. If they have double the voltage, they use half the amps. Anyway, if you think Australian wiring is bad, try up north like in the Philippines. Their plugs are American style...except there's no earth wire nine times out of ten!. This makes sensitive stuff like computers a rather touch-and-go affair.

          2. Efros

            Re: The time has come, the Walrus said ...

            Have you tried to buy a non moulded plug, you can but they are butt ugly affairs that really don't blend in a domestic environment. I agree that the sockets can be high quality but I was talking about the plugs which for everything I have bought here are moulded onto the cable. I think my major gripe is the lack of surface contact, which can and does lead to overheating of the socked due to arcing, and the sticking out the wall thing which is just annoying.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: The time has come, the Walrus said ...

              Depends on where you go. Places like the Philippines tend to have shoddy electrical work. Slapdash and impromptu repairs, not to mention lots of screwed-on replacement plugs and jury-rigs, are distressingly common.

  16. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    If properly tested ... Banned.

    And if CE mark properly policed none of the these spectrum hog Transmitters would be on the market.

    The testing is a lie as they do not test correctly.

    They are really transmitters. It's impossible to transfer at more than about 0.1Mbps on house mains wiring without out illegal transmission.

    Notching Amateur bands is a sop! It proves they are illegal. The Broadcasters are entitled to the same protection.

    1. choleric

      Re: If properly tested ... Banned.

      "Notching Amateur bands is a sop! It proves they are illegal."

      Good point well made. Have an upvote.

  17. Andy3

    Oh no, not more of this rubbish. I'm a radio listener and amateur radio operator, and these things are a menace. A couple of years ago one of my neighbours got a pair of these things and completely ruined my hobby. Every band from 3 MHz to 30 MHz was hammered with a huge noise level and I couldn't hear a thing. Luckily I kind-of knew this family and I invited him in to see the problem. He was horrified that his 'home network' should be causing someone a problem and he ditched them.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A friend set up a CCTV DVR in her loft space. A professional electrician added some more mains sockets based on the existing feed for the gas boiler.

    The smartTV in the lounge quite happily uses the router that is in a bedroom (office) via ethernet-over-mains plugs. However - two sets of such adapters proved almost useless.

    Now one would think that the gas boiler installation was part of the top floor bedrooms' power ring. The electrician could not explain what was wrong. In the end an Edimax N300 ethernet-to-wifi adapter gave a good connection to the router.

  19. Caustic tWit

    The Devil's Own

    I've always felt that HomePlug was the resort of the lazy and the desperate; this article and these comments to this article have only strengthened my prejudice. If an unqualified 'handyman' could retrofit our 150 year old farm house with ethernet in one day - ten wall plates - with all cables terminating in the cellar where the NAS/switch/router/modem lived, including connecting all the wall plates correctly with only my hand-drawn diagram to guide him, it ain't all that hard. The man had never seen Cat 5 before (it was 1999), and had only the haziest notion of what a computer was. There is almost always a way to fish wire up, down, or sideways through walls, or hide it behind baseboard. There are all sorts of stick-on covers and shields for the rare situation where you must run it exposed and it even comes in colo(u)rs. More of a problem if you rent, I understand, but any reasonable landlord (oxymoron alert) should be able to appreciate that you are adding value to the property. Given the several drawbacks of HomePlug it's worth the trouble to run wire.

    1. Youvegottobe Joking

      Re: The Devil's Own

      What about people in rented accommodation? According to the ONS they account for 36% of all property in the UK.

      I was in a rented flat for a few years with a landlord who would not allow me to put in any network cables or even put picture hooks up etc and with the amount of wifi networks in the area (counted 12 networks one day) i literally had zero signal in half the flat even with a buffalo airstation g54 high power.

      I managed to ditch my homplugs because when I bought my 1930's house I spent a day putting cat 6 and 6a in all over the place before we moved in any furniture ...

      Some people have no option but to use them. I'm glad to be shot of them as proper gigabit everywhere is excellent ... however I soon found that I can saturate my old NAS, my underpowered windows home server and my 76Mb broadband all at the same time if I am not careful.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: The Devil's Own

        "I was in a rented flat for a few years with a landlord who would not allow me to put in any network cables or even put picture hooks up etc and with the amount of wifi networks in the area (counted 12 networks one day) i literally had zero signal in half the flat even with a buffalo airstation g54 high power."

        No network cables at all, not even run along the floors and ceilings (which can be held in place with nondestructive hooks)?

  20. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Though from a security point of view, I’m pretty sure it ought to be more complicated than that, lest someone sneak an extra HomePlug onto the network.

    Thought of that immediately, then thought how else it might be abused, say in someone else's residence or in a hotel. It's a nifty bit of engineering, but at a minimum there ought to be some management tools bundled with it.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      There usually are - with the various tools supplied, you can set your own password, but the 'easy connect' buttons would seem to make that fairly redundant. If security is an issue, you'd have to avoid using any such bits of kit, and set a password on each unit yourself.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why can't the radio hams use something more modern, like a phone, to talk to people that are far away, rather than having to rely on AM radio, that clearly doesn't work because of all the homeplugs everywhere?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why can't the radio hams use something more modern

      Dear troll,

      Homeplugs splatter all over all kinds of stuff. The "ham" frequencies are just one of the earlier victims and more vocal about it. There are and will be others.

      The more homeplugs are out there, the worse the effects will get.

      The homeplugs also splatter over frequencies used for broadcast (maybe you don't personally care?).

      Homeplugs also splatter over the frequencies used for DSL broadband service (broadband down the phone). Lose a few dB of signal to noise on your DSL broadband because of the carp from the homeplug and your broadband will get noticeably slower. If you're unlucky it'll stop working altogether, for no obvious reason. Even more fun if it's intermittent.

      DSL faults are hard to fix at the best of times, let's don't make it worse.

      There are other victims too, less obvious ones.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Why can't the radio hams use something more modern, like a phone, to talk to people that are far away, rather than having to rely on AM radio, that clearly doesn't work because of all the homeplugs everywhere?"

      It's not just them. Consider shortwave radio listeners who are trying to pick up reflected radio transmissions from far away. They already have a hard enough time as it is because of the distance; any significant interference and they just lose the signal. And no, for many of them Internet Radio is not a substitute, either because they don't see the need for Internet or because the station transmitted doesn't have an Internet version.

  22. Nifty Bronze badge

    A tip if your Powerline is next to router but inexplicably slow

    I have found that placing the in-plug switching power supply of the main WiFi router right next to a Powerline adapter seriously slowed it down. Ensuring an air gap of a meter improved the speed greatly. Presumably some sort of inductive interference.

    1. Strangelove

      Re: A tip if your Powerline is next to router but inexplicably slow

      "Presumably some sort of inductive interference."

      more likely coupling direct via the wiring I'm afraid - most of the plug in power supplies are very much designed down to a cost, and the maximum permitted levels of conducted interference into the mains required for CE marking are not anything like strigent enough to guarantee reliable co-existance, they are more set at a level that means you should not annoy next door. Anything more than that is a bonus. As noted, above by others, by declaring the mains plug is not used for power, but solely for communications, the PLT folk allow themselves to inject a much higher level into the mains than everyone else- about 40dB more, or typically a couple of watts of RF- comparable in power to a mobile phone.

      This is a silly regulatory loophole, originally intended to permit high signal levels in properly shielded communication cabling but not in power leads, and needs to be shut. Right now there is too much big money in it however.

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