If you’ve decided that powerline networking is right for you, here are some simple tips that will help you get the best from your setup.
- Plug your adaptor directly into the wall – The key here is to not plug your adaptor into an intermediary device such as a surge protector or power strip.
- If you’re using more than one adaptor, make sure they’re on the same mains circuit – It is possible for powerline networking to work across circuits but the downside is that you’ll experience a loss of strength when you do this. If you’re looking to maximise speed and quality of connection, then using the same mains circuit is the ideal solution. As an aside, you may well not have a wiring map of your house, so trial and error (with a bit of speed testing each step of the way) may be the best way to ensure this.
- It is best not to plug adapters in twin sockets – This is particularly important if the plug is next to equipment that takes a lot of electrical power from the circuit, such as a washing machine.
- Try to keep the range (reach) required down as low as possible for good WiFi – Range matters! The further away your devices are from your WiFi signal, the weaker (and thus less reliable) it is. With WiFi, keep devices within at least 30m of your adaptor. The actual adaptors themselves are supposedly OK up to 300m from their source, but we’d recommend 200m. And you need to remember this isn’t line of sight; it’s length of wiring… What’s going on behind your walls with respect to the distance your electric current needs to travel to power your devices is a lot further than you think!
- Choose your circuit breakers and power cables carefully – Some circuit breakers etc. actually block powerline adaptors, so ask before you buy. However, if you do need to use a circuit breaker, the key is basically to ensure that you’re not using your adaptor in the same circuit.
- Other electrical devices on the same circuit can make ‘noise’ – Quite a few types of device, e.g. fridges, draw a lot of power and as a result can produce a lot of ‘noise’. Switch-mode power supplies, e.g. mobile phone chargers, are particularly bad at doing this. It’s worth bearing in mind that noise has more impact towards the receiving end, as opposed to the transmitting end of a powerline network. So, for example, if you’re plugging an adaptor into a twin socket that’s also being used by your microwave, be prepared for interference. Some adaptors, however, do have built-in filtered outlets and may help reduce problems with noise.
- Assess the quality of your hardware – Putting the quality of your copper wiring aside (as that may well be too expensive to change!), it’s worth checking out the speed your hardware is actually meant to achieve etc. One has to take what manufacturers say about download and upload speeds with a pinch of salt, so check reviews and take advice if you need to before purchasing.
- Stick with one type of adaptor, don’t mix ‘em up – Though all makes of adaptor should be compatible with other makes, some just don’t ‘talk to each other’. However, even if they do ‘talk’ it’s very possible that you’re not going to get optimal performance. The simplest way to avoid this problem is to stick with one brand.
- Powerline networks work best using technology with the same speed rating – Simples.
- Your Powerline adaptor does need to have a Gigabit port to achieve speeds of over 90Mbps – Double simples.
At Blue Sky Computer Solutions, we’ve set up and installed powerline networking for home-based workers, home-based businesses, and many SMEs across Northamptonshire and further afield. It’s an IT setup that can bring great benefits to a small business.
If you’re looking for advice and guidance on how to get the best out of powerline networking, please talk to us. We can knowledgably advise you on the best route to take!