Powerline Adapters

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Dr Lobster*
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Sat 07 Jan, 2017 18.50

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just wondering, do any of you guys use any kind of powerline adapter?

i have a couple of TP Link TL-PA410s (had them a few years now) and whilst they are ok, they have a tendency to drop and not reconnect (probably about 50% of the time they drop out) - which can be triggered by anything... randomly from washing machine or microwave going on.

i purchased a BT Home Extender 600 kit from PC World over christmas, and they were shocking, they had the problem that not only would they drop, but you'd have to go through the whole re-pairing process to get them to reconnect, so I took them back.

thing is reading reviews online isn't all that helpful because these reviews will likely be tested in lab conditions or written shortly after purchase and my experience is that you only tend to see things like dropout frequency and re connection issues over time.

my TP Links used to be incredibly reliable, but they've started to get a bit less reliable over time - I've only got two in my house (one next to router, one on my pc).

so, do any of you use them, and which brand/model have you found to be reliable ?
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Nick Harvey
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Sat 07 Jan, 2017 19.49

A general comment, rather than specifically replying to your question.

In my opinion, the power system is for power, and never behaves particularly well when used for anything else as well.

Back in the eighties, I used a pair of PowerMids for a (quite short) while, as a method of sending instructions from a remote control in the bedroom, to change the channel on the (old, analogue) satellite receiver in the lounge.

They were an <expletive deleted> disaster.

Every time any switching occurred, like the fridge or central heating going on or off, the satellite box got changed to channel 4.

I gave up with them quite quickly and came to the conclusion in paragraph two, above.
Philip
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Sat 07 Jan, 2017 19.54

The speeds you can get from them can vary wildly just based on what rooms they are in, I find. I have also had problems with them dropping out every so often, requiring you to turn one of them off and on again. It doesn't happen often enough for me to not use them though, as they otherwise provide certain rooms with a stable and fast connection that I wouldn't get over Wi-Fi.

My dream home would definitely include a mesh Wi-Fi network (like Eero) and LAN ports in each room…
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Dr Lobster*
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Sat 07 Jan, 2017 20.10

thank you both, i do appreciate and accept the technology isn't perfect, but it is, overall, more reliable than using wifi where i am.

my phoneline comes into my living room and my router is in the "front corner" of my house, whilst my pc is upstairs in the "back corner" if you get my meaning and whilst i do get wifi there, it is not a good quality signal - the 5ghz signal is almost non existent.

i do generally get good performance from them and i did once install the monitoring software on an old machine and i was getting between 40 and 50mbs, and given my broadband is only 40mb, i thought it was good enough - and faster than i was getting on wifi anyway.

the main annoyance is not that they drop out, i do accept that, it's just that you have to turn them off to reconnect that gets annoying... i don't understand why they can't just self recover.
Alexia
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Sat 07 Jan, 2017 20.13

Only ever had one experience with Powerlines - fortunately not my own home, but my other half's last place - a shared house where each tenant had a room and they each had a powerline adapter. They NEVER worked.
cwathen
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Sun 08 Jan, 2017 10.45

I've had a couple of Comtrend things (originally came with a BT Vision box) for years which have been deployed at times for various purposes. At present they are used to bring wired networking into my front room.

They're not perfect but generally up time on them is very good, drop outs are relatively rare and only once have I had to manually re-pair them. Certainly they're good enough to make me not bother to run a network cable from one side of the house to the other.

Probably wouldn't deploy them as an enterprise class solution but they've been fine for my purposes.
woah
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Sun 08 Jan, 2017 11.09

I've got some TP-Link ones that I've used for about 3 years, only for linking the Sky HD box to the internet as it's not wifi connected. No problems whatsoever and decent download speed too - but the house was only rewired in the last 5 years or so, perhaps it's not quite as good on older power systems.
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Ebeneezer Scrooge
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Sun 08 Jan, 2017 11.58

I've been running a TP Link set up to my shed (every shed needs internet, right?) and generally they work really well. I did have problems initially when they were connected via an extension cable, but since I've installed fixed cabling, they don't really seem to disconnect at all.

I have another problem with them though - when I try and stream to certain devices (mostly an old nexus 7 running cyanogen), it seems to switch off the port that they are connected to on my router. Annoyingly, its the port which feeds a hub which connects to my PC too and it requires a restart of the router when it all goes to pot.
Not sure whether it's the powerline adaptors, hub or tablet that causes it (the problem used to be worse before I removed another hub from that part of the network), but its looking like a good excuse to replace the terrible technicolor router and cheapo hub with a TP Link router and switch.
Snarky
Dr Lobster*
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Mon 09 Jan, 2017 19.58

Ebeneezer Scrooge wrote:
Sun 08 Jan, 2017 11.58
I have another problem with them though - when I try and stream to certain devices (mostly an old nexus 7 running cyanogen), it seems to switch off the port that they are connected to on my router. Annoyingly, its the port which feeds a hub which connects to my PC too and it requires a restart of the router when it all goes to pot.

Not sure whether it's the powerline adaptors, hub or tablet that causes it (the problem used to be worse before I removed another hub from that part of the network), but its looking like a good excuse to replace the terrible technicolor router and cheapo hub with a TP Link router and switch.
that's a really strange problem, i wonder whether you're getting some sort of switching loop and the router is turning off the port to prevent a broadcast storm?

i've seen in enterprise networks this happen a few times where somebody has plugged a network cable from one network socket to another and if the switch doesn't have spanning tree (stp) enabled (most consumer switches won't, i'm sure), it has the effect of the network effectively being plugged into itself, causing an avalanche... is that possible in your set up in some way? and when you're streaming, you're just pushing your kit over the edge? and either causing the router to crap out or it trigger some sort broadcast protection on the port?
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Ebeneezer Scrooge
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Wed 11 Jan, 2017 13.13

Could well be - it's along the lines of what I was thinking, although without the correct jargon!
I tried moving the powerline transmitter yesterday. It had previously been in a bedroom socket which was the most convenient for connection, but the furthest away from the mains distribution board.
For testing, I plugged it into a 4 gang right next to the router and it *seems* to have solved all of the problems.
So I'm not sure if there was a problem where the powerline adaptor was on the edge of it's connection due to the amount of mains cabling or if it was to do with the hub, which is also no longer in that branch of the network.

There definitely isn't any sort of cabling loop in the network, so it can't be quite the scenario that you mentioned. The network is fairly basic with a couple of hubs forming the extremity of the network. I think I'm going to put a couple of TP Link gigabit switches in soon anyway, so I can enable IGMP snooping in case it is some sort of broadcast issue.

Edit: Forgot - the most frustrating part about this was that the router didn't log or even acknowledge the fact that the port was turned off, so there wasn't really any logical fault finding that I could do!
Snarky
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