We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

Wi-Fi vs. Powerline

Charliehendricks281 needs to extend his network across a large house. He asked if a Powerline solution would make sense.

Charliehendricks281 needs to extend his network across a large house. He asked the Networking forum if a Powerline solution would make more sense than wireless.

[Email your tech questions to [email protected] or post them on the PCW Answer Line forum.]

This isn't an either/or situation. The two can co-exist and enhance each other. You can use a Powerline network to extend your Ethernet, your Wi-Fi, or both. (I'm assuming you already have a router with both Ethernet and Wi-Fi.)

Powerline technology turns your home's electrical wiring into a network. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance provides standardization over products from different companies.

You need at least two Homeplug adapters for a Powerline network. You connect one to your router via Ethernet, and plug it into an AC wall socket. You plug the other into a wall socket in a room too far away for a good Wi-Fi signal, and it gives you one or more additional Ethernet ports. These act as if they're directly plugged into your router--even if they're on the other side of the house. You can usually buy these two adapters together as part of one "starter kit."

When I first set up my own Homeplug system, I was truly astonished by how easy it was. For once, the overhyped expression plug-and-play seemed appropriate.

Using Powerline to extend your Wi-Fi network takes a little more work. You'll need a HomePlug Wi-Fi adapter, which is basically a regular HomePlug adapter with antennas. But you'll also need to set up this adapter with an SSID (translation: a network name) and a password. To effectively extend your existing Wi-Fi network, simply give the adapter the same SSID and password as your existing Wi-Fi network. Your adapter should come with instructions on how to do this.

Although I've had mostly positive Powerline experiences, the technology has its problems. For instance, you can't plug an adapter into a surge protector--unless you buy a HomePlug-compatible surge protector. Other problems can be more serious. Logitech offers a useful list of known Powerline problems here.

Read the original forum discussion.


IDG UK Sites

LG G4 Note UK release date and specification rumours: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 killer could be the LG 3......

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model