How Do I Improve My Powerline Network Performance?

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How Do I Improve My Powerline Network Performance?

Wireless communication relies on transmitting radio waves through the air. In contrast, powerline communication uses a different medium—electric power conductors—to send data. This is why powerline adapters provide a more stable connection over long distances without reduced strength caused by physical obstructions and interfering signals. Powerline expands and complements your home network by reaching spots Wi-Fi can’t cover.

Like wireless networks, powerline communication has its own standard called HomePlug, developed by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance. TP-Link powerline adapters are based on HomePlug AV and HomePlug AV2 standards to provide higher data transmission rates and secure data encryption.

Normally, the maximum powerline signal rate is the physical rate derived from HomePlug AV/AV2 specifications. It’s important to understand that this ideal rate does not actually represent what you’ll always experience with your devices. This discrepancy can be caused by many factors like power line environment, quality of power line cables, and interference from other appliances. The good news is, with some simple tweaks, you can easily improve your powerline network performance.

If your powerline rate is low, try the steps below to improve its quality of service.

  • Avoid interference from nearby electrical devices

Devices being charged create noise signals on the powerline circuit, which can interfere with powerline communication, especially for adapters at the receiving end. If your powerline adapter is working near a power adapter, it’d be tougher to receive data signals. Having other appliances plugged in, like hairdryers, vacuum cleaners, or electric-fans, can cause similar problems.

To prevent this, relocate your powerline adapters away from those devices or plug those electrical devices into a surge protector.

  • Plug powerline adapters directly into wall outlets

TP-Link recommends you plug powerline adapters directly into wall outlets instead of surge protectors or power strips. Powerline adapters discern data signals from current signals while they are transmitting together through circuits. However, surge protectors identify data signals at higher frequencies as noise and try to clean it. This is not good news for powerline networking.

  • Check PLC compatibility of your circuit breakers 

The circuit breaker is a device that is designed to automatically protect the power line circuit. Once a fault is detected, it interrupts and stops the current flow. Unfortunately, the HomePlug Alliance has reported that not all circuit breakers play well with HomePlug devices. That’s why you should check if your circuit breakers are HomePlug friendly.

  • Place powerline adapters at a proper distance

Check if the distance between the adapters is too long. In theory, the maximum distance is 300 meters. However, with interference and line quality, it will be hard to reach the full 300 meters. Taking the advertised max distance and your house wiring into consideration, place powerline adapters at a proper distance.

  • Standardize your in-home powerline network 

Though HomePlug AV standard adapters have good compatibility to work properly with each other, the maximum speed of the entire powerline network is determined by the weakest link. For example, if you have two powerline adapters with different speedslet’s say AV1000 and AV300—the best rate your network can reach would be the slowest one, 300 Mbps. Install and match adapters that have same or similar capabilities to build a standard powerline network.

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