Powerline networking is a networking standard called Homeplug AV that uses the existing electrical wiring in your house to network your computers and other network devices. It’s always better to plug into your router whenever you can, both for speed and security. It’s also sometimes difficult to receive a WiFi signal in every corner of your house. But you should have electrical outlets in every room of your house, and using powerline networking gives you the ability to piggy back the network signal on the existing wiring within your walls.
This technology has been around for quite a while and is heavily used in home automation–turning on your lights, feeding your cat, etc. The devices began gaining popularity a couple of years ago and are an excellent solution for a wired network because they are so easy to install. If you can plug it into a socket, you can install it.
How To Setup Powerline Networking
Powerline networking is relatively simple to setup. You can buy the Linksys Powerline AV Wireless Network Extender (PLWK400) and plug one adapter in near your router and the other anywhere else in the house you want to network a device (computer, game console, printer, etc.). Next, plug an Ethernet cable into the adapter, and then into the device you are adding to your network. You’re done.
The great thing about this system is you can add more adapters as you need them. If you have several devices you want to connect in the same area, Linksys also has a 4 port version called the PLSK400.
Note: Plug the powerline adapter into a wall outlet directly, not a power strip.
The signal will travel from one outlet, through the circuit breaker and then to the other adapter. Watch the video below to get an idea how this works.
So assuming the interior wiring of your house is in good condition, powerline networking is a great way to get the speed and security benefits of a wired network without having to run Ethernet cables and switches throughout your house. In addition, you can simply move the adapter to another room if you decide you want the Ethernet connection somewhere else.
While it shouldn’t matter what brand you buy, we always recommend going with the top names, such as Netgear, D-Link and Linksys. Any brand sporting the Homeplug AV standard should work fine, however.
The best powerline networking kit for your home will depend on your home wiring and budget. If you use powerline networking in your home or office, let us know your experiences.