Here’s a classic situation in many homes around the U.S.: you’ve just signed up for the most advanced – and sometimes the most expensive – Internet system available, but it doesn’t reach all of the rooms in your home or business. The high speed you’re paying for therefore goes to waste. Is there a solution? A programmable logic controller, also called “powerline adaptor” or “PLC” will allow you to expand the Internet reception effectively to all the rooms in your home or business.
Broadband service that relies on fiber optics or cable systems can now be found in almost every household. This technology provides Internet speeds that can reach up to 1,000 Mbps (megabits per second). But what good is that if your router doesn’t reach every corner of your home? PLCs are the solution you need. Read on to learn all there is to know about these devices.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The Best Powerline Adapters on the U.S. Market
- 2.1 No. 1: TP-Link AV600 Powerline Ethernet Adapter
- 2.2 No. 2: TP-LINK AV2000 Powerline Adapter Kit, 2-Port, Gigabit w/Power Outlet Pass-Through, up to 2000Mbps
- 2.3 No. 3: TRENDnet Powerline 500 AV Nano Adapter Kit
- 2.4 Tenda AV1000 Powerline Wi-Fi Extender Kit with 2 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
- 2.5 No. 5: TP-LINK TL-WPA4220KIT AV500 Powerline
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Powerline Adapters
- 3.1 What exactly is a powerline adapter?
- 3.2 Why do I need a powerline adapter at home?
- 3.3 How should I set up my powerline adapter?
- 3.4 What exactly is “plug-and-play” technology exactly?
- 3.5 Do powerline adapters occupy power outlets?
- 3.6 What is the difference between a powerline adapter and a Wi-Fi repeater?
- 3.7 What are the advantages of powerline adapters over Wi-Fi repeaters?
- 3.8 Is it better to use a PLC adapter with Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable?
- 3.9 What is the Gigabit Ethernet port on my PLC adapter?
- 3.10 Is the design of my powerline adapter important?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Powerline adapters create a private network through your home’s ower sockets, giving you better Internet quality, speed and security. That way, you can bring your wireless connection to places in your house where the reception is weak or erratic.
- You need at least two PLC adapters for this technology to work. One PLC picks up the Wi-Fi signal from your router, while the other (or others) is the extender that takes the connection to hard-to-reach places in your home. You may sometimes need an Ethernet cable (which should be included with the unit), but installing these devices is a very straightforward process.
- Once set up, the PLCs will create a connection network that is much faster than your standard Wi-Fi network without PLCs. Since most of these adapters operate via Wi-Fi (like a wi-fi router), you won’t need to plug in the devices that you want to connect to the network.
Ranking: The Best Powerline Adapters on the U.S. Market
Some rooms and areas of your home don’t receive the strongest connection possible, such as basements and gardens, or areas behind thick walls. There are various reasons for experiencing poor Wi-Fi – old walls or interference from other appliances, for instance. Powerline adapters are therefore your best solution for this problem. We’ve picked the five best models available on the market for you to get just what you need.
No. 1: TP-Link AV600 Powerline Ethernet Adapter
TL-PA4010 KIT provides users with stable, high-speed data transfer rates of up to 600Mbps on a line length of up to 300 meters. With speed of up to 600Mbps, TL-PA4010 KIT enables heavy-bandwidth applications like HD streaming, on-line gaming and large file downloading, turning your home into a robust and high-speed networking.
This unit is about $37 and TP Link offers a 1000Mbps version for just $43. Actual data speeds vary and may be limited by the product’s ethernet port and other network conditions such as data traffic, electrical noise, and wiring issues. For better performance, powerline devices should be deployed on the same electrical circuit and rated for the same HomePlug standard. A minimum of two powerline devices are required to establish a powerline connection. If you are uncertain about your network conditions, you should consult an IT professional to assist in selecting a networking product.
No. 2: TP-LINK AV2000 Powerline Adapter Kit, 2-Port, Gigabit w/Power Outlet Pass-Through, up to 2000Mbps
Also from TP, for about $89, you can retain the power sockets udes by the system. TP-link is a Chinese manufacturer of computer networking solutions. Founded in 1996 – the same year as Netgear, it has established itself as its biggest competitor, both companies offering very similar products over the years.
The TL-PA9020P Powerline Kit equips any room with blazing fast internet by transforming your outlets into Ethernet ports for reliable wired connection to all of your devices, no matter how far from your router. With 2×2 MIMO, the adapters intelligently transfer data through two streams for maximized speed. The HomePlug AV2 then rapidly transfers your data through the electrical wiring within the walls of your home. Beamforming additionally boosts overall performance by strengthening your signal towards powerline devices. Game on in crisp, clear 4K from any room in your household without staring down a loading screen.
No. 3: TRENDnet Powerline 500 AV Nano Adapter Kit
The Powerline 500 AV Nano Adapter Kit, model TPL-406E2K, uses any electrical outlet to create a secure high speed network. Connect the first adapter to your network and plug the second adapter into any outlet on your electrical system for instant high speed network access. The compact form factor saves space around crowded electrical outlets. This adapter automatically connects to other TRENDnet Powerline AV adapters with no installation required-TRENDnet recommends pressing the ‘Sync’ button to automatically change default encryption keys.
Use up to 8 adapters to network devices in different rooms without running new cabling. Power Save mode reduces power consumption by up to 80%. Quality of Service (QoS) technology prioritizes video, audio, and online gaming. LED displays convey device status for easy troubleshooting. Advanced 128-bit AES encryption secures your network. This adapter is ideal for use in buildings that interfere with wireless networking signals. At $40, this is a great kit.
Tenda AV1000 Powerline Wi-Fi Extender Kit with 2 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
The Tenda PH5 Double 1000Mbps provides faster network for your entertainment. With the new generation Broadcom Powerline chipset and Homeplug AV2 technology, the transmission speed of PH5 can be up to 1000Mbps. At $60 this kit has great reviews and is a best seller. And it’s Gigabit Ports is 10 times better than 100M ports which is the real Gigabit network for your entertainment.
The maximum distance between the two adapters is 300 metres, which shouldn’t be an issue. The patented TP-Link power-saving mode helps you reduce your consumption by up to 85%. It’s easy to pair your devices using the dedicated button on the adapters, and the powerful AES encryption will protect your home network from external risks.
No. 5: TP-LINK TL-WPA4220KIT AV500 Powerline
With advanced HomePlug AV technology, at $ 54, the Powerline WiFi extender TL-WPA4220 KIT uses your existing electrical wiring to extend your Internet access to any room in your house. Add Powerline access points throughout your home to create strong, reliable WiFi connections where you need them most. With 2 ports, It’s perfect for connecting smart TVs, streaming players and game consoles for HD video streaming and lag-free gaming.
It sets up in minutes and Push-and-Secure encrypts the connections with the touch of a button. For best performance, plug them directly to wall outlets in the same electrical circuit, do not plug them into any kind of power strip. Comes in a set of two adapters to quickly and easily expand your home’s Ethernet through your power outlets and into hard to reach areas using HomePlug AV technology.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Powerline Adapters
Everyone is bound to encounter some problem with their Wi-Fi connection at some point or another, be it at home or at work. But there is a wide range of devices that can help you solve this issue, and it can quickly become overwhelming. Which powerline adapter do I need? Is it the same thing as a Wi-Fi repeater or amplifier? In the following section, we tell you everything you need to know about these devices to help you make the right decision.
What exactly is a powerline adapter?
Also called PLC (programmable logic controllers), powerline adaptors allow you to broadcast your Internet connection’s signal through your home’s electrical system. That way, you can extend your router’s signal if it doesn’t reach every part of your house on it’s own. You’ll therefore enjoy better and stronger coverage.
Powerline adapters require at least two devices to work. The first one picks up the Wi-Fi signal and takes it to your mains. Called an extender, the second one receives this signal through the cables of the house and sends it to the areas where it is plugged.
Why do I need a powerline adapter at home?
Powerline adapters will provide you with fast, secure and stable Internet connections when the network you’ve set up at home is insufficient or weak. This is a common issue, since the quality and proper functioning of any Wi-Fi connection depends on several factors:
- The distance between the router and the connected devices.
- The layout of walls, rooms, furniture and ceilings.
- The presence of other electronic devices or household appliances that may interfere with the signal.
- A large number of other wireless networks in the environment, from neighbors or nearby offices that will also generate interference with the connection itself.
- The Wi-Fi speed advertised includes not only Internet data, but other types of data as well. Some providers include bandwidth speed from other communication protocols in their measurements of speed, which can make up approximately 60% of the total bandwidth.
How should I set up my powerline adapter?
Installing your PLC adapter is very simple, as the latest models all integrate plug-and-play technology, enabling you to start working without much configuration. Here’s a quick guide to setting a PLC up yourself:
- Connect the powerline adapter to a plug near your router. You will need an Ethernet cable for this, which is generally included with the adapter you buy.
- Connect the second adapter (the extender) in the room or zone where you want to strengthen the signal. You can install as many extenders as there are rooms that need greater coverage.
- If you purchased wireless models, all you have to do now is connect to the Wi-Fi network created by to the adapters. You’ll find the password in the box or on the plug itself. If the PLCs are not wireless, you should use the Ethernet cable to connect your devices.
What exactly is “plug-and-play” technology exactly?
This technology allows you to use your powerline adapters without having to do any kind of configuration beforehand. It is often spelled Plug-and-Play. In that regard, the majority of PLC adapters automatically copy your main router name and password with the push of a button.
Do powerline adapters occupy power outlets?
The disadvantages of the very first PLC adapters was that they always required an outlet in every room in which they were plugged into the wall. Thankfully, most modern powerline adapters now come with integrated plugs. This means that you won’t lose any plug spaces with your PLC, and you can use them for whatever else you want as well as internet boosting.
What is the difference between a powerline adapter and a Wi-Fi repeater?
While many people seem to think these terms are interchangeable, this isn’t the case. Although their goals may be similar, powerline adapters and Wi-Fi repeaters do not perform the same functions. Following is a table to help you understand the differences between the two devices:
|Powerline adapter||Wi-Fi repeater|
|What is its role?||It broadcasts the Internet signal through your home’s electricital system.||It extends your connection’s coverage by capturing the signal from an existing Wi-Fi network.|
|How many devices are needed?||At least two devices: the central one, connected to your router, and the extender. It includes an Ethernet cable.||A single device that acts as a repeater and a power cable.|
|What connection speeds can it reach?||This will depend on the powerline adapter you purchase.||It will depend on your existing Wi-Fi network.|
What are the advantages of powerline adapters over Wi-Fi repeaters?
Powerline adapters offer multiple advantages over repeaters. The most important one is that they provide a much more stable and stronger connection signal. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of these devices:
|Powerline adapter||Wi-Fi repeater|
|Advantages||Very easy to install. Its connection is more stable because it depends on the electrical current. It is more versatile: ideal for large houses or those with many floors. The vast majority of models feature data encryption systems.||It is more affordable and doesn’t rely on power sockets.|
|Disadvantages||It doesn’t work well on multi-socket adaptors and it is more expensive.||Its connection is unstable, as it simply repeats an already weakened signal. It is often exposed to unwanted intrusions. If the signal is weak when it reaches the repeater, it won’t work at 100%.|
Is it better to use a PLC adapter with Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable?
This depends largely on how you want to use your powerline adapter. If you’re planning on connecting it to a video game console, a television or a desktop computer, you will get the best connection with an Ethernet cable. On the other hand, you should opt for wireless powerline adapters if you simply want to get Wi-Fi to your laptop or smartphone. Note that models offering Wi-Fi connections are slightly more expensive than corded models, and that some adapters combine both options.
What is the Gigabit Ethernet port on my PLC adapter?
Certain powerline adapters will feature a port that is called Gigabit Ethernet. This will allow you to connect a high-bandwidth device to the Internet at high speeds, ensuring, for instance the proper transmission of videos in HD. While this feature is nice to have, it isn’t essential either to make the most of your powerline adapter.
Is the design of my powerline adapter important?
You’ll naturally see a wide variety of designs available when comparing different powerline adapters. That being said, the reality is that its aesthetic appearance won’t affect at all the effectiveness of the device. While these devices tend to remain connected at all times, they are first and foremost designed to go unnoticed.
On the other hand, you will want to pay attention to the placement of the various connectors and additional elements that make their use easy. This is the case, for example, regarding location of the button to restart the Wi-Fi. You will find some exaggeratedly minimalist models, and others that are overloaded with buttons, lights and even antennas. In the end, your personal tastes will make the final decision.
On the U.S. market, the vast majority of powerline adapters feature the latest technology, which makes their use, configuration and operation as simple as possible. However, there are still key factors that can make a difference between a good connection and a top-rate connection. We’ve detailed these criteria in the section below, and we’re confident they’ll help you make the right decision when purchasing your PLC.
- Connection Speed
- Integrated Plug
- Energy Savings
- Ease of Use
Connection speed is probably the most important factor when it comes to powerline adapters. Brands generally set the price of their devices depending on the connection speed they offer. Given the conditions of the Internet signal in some arts of the U.S., we don’t recommend you to opt for an adapter with a speed lower than 300 Mbps. Keep in mind that their efficiency can sometimes be greatly reduced.
Most people use a wide range of different electrical appliances each day. This is why it is essential to buy a powerline adapter that won’t take up another electrical outlet. In that regard, check the product description to make sure it includes an integrated plug to make the most of your device.
Since we use so many appliances on top of lighting, many of us are looking to cut those expenses by using devices that help us reduce our consumption. Great news! You will find many powerline adapters that include a very useful energy saving mode. We strongly encourage you to take note of this, as they can reduce your energy consumption by up to 85%.
Ease of Use
The installation manual of many devices can sometimes be overwhelmingly complex. As we mentioned earlier, the plug-and-play technology helps you configure your PLC adapter in a jiffy. All you’ll have to do once you open the box is plug the devices in, press a button and enjoy a greatly enhanced connectivity.
So many wireless networks and users with mobile connections surround us. This represents a risk of unwanted intrusions into our devices. This is why you can now purchase powerline adapters that feature an integrated data encryption system, protecting you from potential external hackers and identity thieves.
Our world is in constant digital transformation, and many of us cannot afford to have a poor connection. Powerline adapters are a great solution solution for vreating a local Internet network through your electrical grid. This is particularly helpful when your Wi-Fi signal cannot reach all the rooms or areas od you home or business.
Nowadays, high-tech powerline adapters are easy to set up, safe, and feature integrated plugs so that you do not lose any power outlets. As you saw in our selection of products, you have access to models that can reach speeds of up to 1000 Mbps or more. Whether you connect them via an Ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi, these devices will help you deliver a stable and fast connection everywhere in your home.
If you liked our guide, feel free to share it on social media so that others can learn more about powerline adapters. You can also leave us a comment in the section below, and we’ll be happy to get back to you!
(Source of featured image: Le Moal Olivier: 63350692/ 123rf.com)