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 Post subject: Internet through home plugs?
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Location: Michigan
Has anyone heard of powerline network adapters? Basically they act as a switch between any other adapter on your home circuit. I've also heard that it's more popular in Europe, because it's hard to send wifi signals through most homes because of the building materials. I can't wait untill a computer doesn't even need an ethernet port, because you could just plug it in! :D But mostly I want to know if any of you use or have seen them used. I'm amazed by them. (Well not that it works, but that someone thought of it)

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 Post subject: Re: Internet through home plugs?
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 6:30 am 
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thomasbomb wrote:
Has anyone heard of powerline network adapters? Basically they act as a switch between any other adapter on your home circuit. I've also heard that it's more popular in Europe, because it's hard to send wifi signals through most homes because of the building materials. I can't wait untill a computer doesn't even need an ethernet port, because you could just plug it in! :D But mostly I want to know if any of you use or have seen them used. I'm amazed by them. (Well not that it works, but that someone thought of it)
They used to sell devices that turn any plug in your home into an additional phone line. Back in 1997 when we first got internet, we used one of these with our dial-up modem on the computer. Unfortunately, the device lowered our bandwidth in half from 33.6kbps to 16.8kbps. I finally ended up running a length of speaker wire through the ceiling into the attic when I got my own computer, and was able to get the full 53kbps out of my modem. If the rooms in question are on a different branch circuit, then the signal will have to successfully pass through a transformer inside the breaker box. The transformers and your home's wiring are designed to transfer energy most efficiently at either 50Hz or 60Hz depending on what continent you live. Modern broadband connections are measured in Megabits, which requires the transmission of frequencies in excess of 1,000,000 Hz. As a result, data transmission through power distribution lines would likely be extremely lossy or have very low bandwidth. Most of the signal would either be radiated or absorbed by the wiring. When dealing with high-frequency signals, there is also multipath distortion caused by signal reflections within the wiring. Also keep in mind that even if it worked, if your neighbors were to install a similar device on their line, it would undoubtedly interfere with yours, especially in an apartment style residence.

Point is, power distribution circuits are extremely noisy and subject to all kinds of interference. They are designed specifically for power distribution and are probably ill-suited for any other use. You may try whatever product you find, but I'm telling you will most likely be displeased with the result. I am an senior ELET major (Electrical Engineering Technology), and have studied the equations behind many phenomenon. Your best bet is to stick to wifi or LAN

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 Post subject: Re: Internet through home plugs?
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 6:32 am 
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I use devolo
Stable 100 Mbps connections.

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Last edited by Georges on Fri May 20, 2011 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Internet through home plugs?
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 3:25 pm 
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I wouldn't hace to worry about my neighbors using them. They barely know how to use a computer! :lol: If i erre to use it it would be to spread my wifi signal using a second wifi router. Also I know for sure that they have improved since 1997.

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 Post subject: Re: Internet through home plugs?
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 5:15 pm 
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Look for devices that bear the HomePlug name. HomePlug-compliant devices are made by Devolo, Cisco, Atheros, NetGear, and Zyxel.

As Georges says, connections tend to be less than the stated "maximum" but they're typically stable. Each route may exhibit its own unique speed.

That is, if you install three 85 MBps adapters you might get 42 MBps from A to B, 22 MBps from B to C, but only 4 MBps between A and C. Those connections will be reliable, despite the different speeds. Unlike wireless you won't get interference from other networks nor microwave ovens.

Be careful to match the speed classes. Basic HomePlug (14 MBps and 85 MBps) can connect to each other but they can't communicate with HomePlug AV (200 MBps and 500 MBps) devices.

I recommend you start with a "kit" that includes two adapters that have already been linked.


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 Post subject: Re: Internet through home plugs?
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 5:37 pm 
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VeryWetPaint wrote:
I recommend you start with a "kit" that includes two adapters that have already been linked.


Yeah I would, either that or buy two of the same thing.

VeryWetPaint wrote:
Look for devices that bear the HomePlug name. HomePlug-compliant devices are made by Devolo, Cisco, Atheros, NetGear, and Zyxel.


By what you say I'm guessing those brands can communicate with each other, as long as the speed isn't too different. Right?

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 Post subject: Re: Internet through home plugs?
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 6:47 pm 
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thomasbomb wrote:
VeryWetPaint wrote:
Look for devices that bear the HomePlug name. HomePlug-compliant devices are made by Devolo, Cisco, Atheros, NetGear, and Zyxel.


By what you say I'm guessing those brands can communicate with each other, as long as the speed isn't too different. Right?

Yes, that's right.

In fact, just choose HomePlug AV. It's faster than the old HomePlug 1.0, it's got better privacy, it's supposed to be more reliable, and it's definitely easier to set up.

Search for "Homeplug AV" at Amazon.com and read some reviews. Some brands have happier users.


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 Post subject: Re: Internet through home plugs?
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 8:19 pm 
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I did some testing of one of these devices using the HomePlug AV standard for a friend. He wanted to do frequent bulk data-transfers from one machine to another and 802.11g (~35Mbps layer-7 throughput) wasn't cutting it. Unfortunately the performance wasn't so great. We did some testing and found that the performance from any given outlet varied widely. Cabling distance also matters a lot. Two outlets adjacent to each other tend to perform much better than outlets on opposite ends of the house.

Two adjacent outlets were able to sustain a ~120 Mbps transfer using TCP. The outlets he wanted to use were somewhat unstable in their selection of a data rate. They usually transfer at ~80 Mbps but sometimes fall down to a lower rate for a few minutes before picking back up.

Also, the latency of the connection was on the order of ~10 ms whereas his wireless network was regularly ~1 ms.

I think a much better option given the available technology is 802.11n wireless. You can regularly sustain > 150 Mbps using N and the clients can roam away from electrical outlets.

Home electrical wiring just wasn't designed for high-frequency transmission. Things like wirenuts to twist two wires together have a bad habit of acting like low-pass filters. Also, your home electrical wires aren't twisted pairs which can make them more susceptible to interference and increase the likelihood that they will self-interfere. But don't take my word for it, it sounds like VeryWetPaint understands the details better than I do.

Whatever you end up going with, you should definitely test throughput and latency to understand the throughput you're actually getting.

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