A powerline adapter combines the convenience of Wi-Fi with the speed and stability of a wired connection without the snaking Ethernet cables around your house. By simply plugging a Powerline adapter into a socket near your router connecting them with a short Ethernet cable you can turn the electrical wiring in your home into a high speed network.
You need at least 2 powerline adapters to get up and running. One that plugin in you’re your router, and one to plugin in near your device. But you can have several Powerline Adapters at once, connecting all your Laptops and PCs, Sky / Tivo boxes, or Game consoles to your own home network.
Powerline Adapter Starter kits
You’ll need at least two Powerline adapters to get started, but most starter kits (such as the TP-Link TL-PA4020PKIT AV500) come in a pack of 2 with all the Ethernet cable you’ll need. Some kits will include three adapters and most can be bought individually if you want to expand the number in your home. It’s best to stick to the same brand so you can be sure they will all talk to one another, but you can chose pretty much anything from Devolo, Netgear, or T-link and expect to get a quality product. Check out the thousands of positive reviews on Amazon.co.uk for their devices.
The kit itself should contain absolutely everything you need, including Ethernet cables, to get started.
Powerline and Extension cables
If your power sockets are too close to the floor you might consider using an extension cable to make it easier to plug in the device. Unfortunately this can cause some issues from powerline devices and it is advisable to plug your adapter into a wall socket rather than extension cable where possible. An extension cable, particularly a surge protected one, can introduce a lot of interference in Powerline network with some estimates suggesting it can cause the throughput of the device to drop by 75%!
Some research from BT has even shown that more exepensive surge procteded power strips with EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) or RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) protection are actually more likely to cause your device problems, but with different wiring setups it’s difficult to say what will work and what won’t
The best advice is to avoid extension cables if you can. If you need to have an extension cable plugged into the socket, then go for a device with a pass-through feature, plug the Powerline device into the wall and the extension cable into the Powerline Adapter rather than the other way round, as the this image demonstrates.
The Powerline adapter technology is literally plug and play. Once you have plugged in your 2 devices then click the sync button on the device closest to your router and then click sync on the device near your laptop, Sky+ box, Game Console etc. The devices will communicate via your houses wiring system and sync automatically. When the lights on the device go green to show they are connected, you’re good to go. The power of a wired connection where ever there is a power socket in your home.
Once the adapters are sync’d you should be able to unplug the Powerline adapter and move it to any other socket in the house, plug it in and away you go. Much faster downloads and a great way to share and transfer files around the devices in your house.