Powerline Networking Makes Home Networking Easy

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.

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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

outletPowerline 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.

If you use powerline networking in your home or office, let us know your experiences.

Category: Networking

About the Author ()

David is a tech professional with over fifteen years of experience in the IT fields of hardware, software and system administration.

Comments (8)

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  1. Tracy says:

    I tried it at home here in Australia. One thing I found when I moved to AU is the scarcity of power outlets in rooms. It’s not uncommon to have exactly ONE in a large room- then you have to run powerboards & extension cords all over the place- it’s insane!

    So, that sort of eliminates powerline networking for me, as you can’t go through a powerboard.

    I also found that you should be on the same circuit in the house for best signal- I never realized that until I tried this. I know there are many things that can degrade a signal- but for me, it didn’t work & I ended up going to wireless USB dongles. FYI

  2. Dave says:

    Tracy, that’s too bad. It works great for me here in the States. As long as you have good wiring, it should not be a problem. The technology has come a long way it the past couple of years. I would not have recommended it in the past.

  3. Steven says:

    Hi Tracy I am using a WD Livewire here in Australia. It works fine connected to my TV, Foxtel and laptop when in the TV room. I have a double power point. I use a power strip for the tv, dvd, foxtel and av system. The other point I have an extention cord which runs to a floor lamp. The extention cord has a double adapter like connection on the male end. I have plugged the livewire into this.

  4. Gerry says:

    Do you know if this would work good for gaming on Xbox and Playstations.

  5. luis cast says:

    How many homes have all the rooms on the same circuit?most homes have a cb for each room.

  6. Bright king says:

    Hi please i don’t still understand on how powerline networking work. Does it provite free internet access or free ISP. Please kindly reply thanks.

    • Dave says:

      No, it doesn’t provide free access, but it can help your other devices connect to your router. For instance, if you have a router in one part of the house, you COULD use wifi to access it. But wifi is generally slower and less reliable to a wired network. Normally you would need to run Ethernet cabling to the computer in the other room. But powerline networking allows you to use the existing wiring in your outlets instead of running Ethernet cables.

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