Setting Up A Powerline Adapter

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.

Getting started

You need at least 2 Powerline adapters to get up and running. One that plugs in to your router and one to plugin in the room near your device. These are generally referred to as starter kits , but you can have several Powerline Adapters at once to fill your house, connecting all your Laptops and PCs, Sky boxes, or Game consoles to your own home network. Please note that there are upper limits on the number of devices that you can connect to build the network.

Powerline Adapter Starter kits

You’ll need at least two Powerline adapters to get started, but most starter kits 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 a starter kit at a later date - though this tends to be a more expensive way of building the network. 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.

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 extension cables can cause some issues for Powerline adapters 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 expensive surge protected 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 in your home, it is difficult to say for sure what will work and what won’t. Best to play safe and assume that that the Powerline adapter needs plunging into a wall socket.

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.

Powerline adapter with extension cable
Powerline adapters do not play nicely with extension cables

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 at home.

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