Powerline ethernet beats WiFi range extenders pants off

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/02/powerline-ethernet-beats-wifi.html


That actually looks pretty cool but I would have to fork over for a proper complete rewiring of the house with it’s mishmash of 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s wiring…(and really it needs to be done anyway) though the kitchen and 2 outlets in the house are up to date.
Also the current wifi works pretty well at covering the house.


Apparently you do not need this!


Well it isn’t a very big house though bigger than what I grew up in.

What are your thoughts on MoCA?

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I don’t have coax running all over my 1890s cabin built far outside a city and away from folks. I’m lucky to get electricity and POTS.


I didn’t know you could do that. Sounds a bit like the technological MacGuffin from that 2003 spy movie “The Recruit.”

I guess “Homeplug” is the standard? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HomePlug

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That seems like an odd limitation. What is it’s performance like with pants?


I tried several brands of Powerline ethernet adapters, including this exact same product, and it didn’t work for me at all. Our house was built in 1976, and for whatever reason I simply can’t get a solid connection except if the Powerline ethernet adapters are plugged into outlets that are on the same circuit breaker (which obviously defeats the whole purpose).

Our house is nearly 2800sq ft, and is spread-out along two floors, and a good solid WiFi signal (even with the most expensive and up-to-date router) just doesn’t seem possible everywhere in the house, and with the way the house was designed (no attic, no basement!) there’s no easy way to do hardwire RJ45 ethernet cable without stringing it along the outside of the house (and idea which I considered, but which my wife hated).

I ended up using MoCA, and that works fine. There’s already cable TV connections in most rooms of the house, and I found a brand of MoCA adapter that has a built-in WiFi access point. To extend our network I just plug in a MoCA-equipped Access Point, and now we have a good strong WiFi everywhere.


I’m looking for some real world info on this.

My detached garage gets crappy wifi reception but there is Co-ax from the garage back to the house (former owner had TV out there)

So I want to see if I can use that CoAx to put a switch and AP out in the garage, but haven’t quite got that far yet.

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Please don’t buy powerline ethernet adapters. They create horrible interference for shortwave radio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMR4wPDUM9g

You might ask “Who the hell cares about shortwave radio, what is this, 1950!?”, but when the shit really hits the fan (hurricane, earthquake,etc), it is one of the most important ways of relaying information. Oftentimes the people that end up doing that are folks that do this as a hobby, so when there’s radio interference from these things, that’s just one more area where someone who might otherwise be interested in shortwave radio as a hobby will likely just give up.


I don’t know if the standard’s objectively any good. I just know that everything that I’ve owned that implemented it (crappy FIOS routers and motorola adapters that constantly ran hot enough to burn your hands) was badly designed and subjectively horrible.

I think the usual problem with powerline ethernet is bad grounds or a noisy ground. If you have a large laser printer or xerox machine, for example, a power line isolator is a good idea. But if you’re getting good performance from MoCA, remember empirical data always trumps peer review… use what works!

That’s why I have powerline ethernet, to connect the main house to the barn and garage. Keep in mind you need proper grounds, and many residential subpanel grounds are miswired. It’s astounding how many pro electricians don’t understand the code.

I live at the bottom of a valley. You can’t get line of sight on me from anywhere but straight up. I can’t get any radio stations at all, and cell phones barely work despite the towers less than 1/2 mile away.


Powerline worked great in our old apartment. Then we eventually got a newer router and things were fine.

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My house was owned by a professional electrician. big sigh

Some things are glorious works of electrical crafstmanship.

Somethings were obviously done with the leftovers of the last job.


Shortwave radio doesn’t rely on line-of-sight though. It bounces off the ionosphere. You can get stations that are not even on the same continent, let alone line of sight.


Yeah, my DSL provider ran the connection up to my bedroom, which is annoying. I have a Smart TV in the basement, which gets no WiFi signal, and a computer in the office down the hall, for which I have a cable running down the hall along the floor (which is less than ideal). So I want to get the wires running through the walls, and while stringing Cat6 through the walls would be idea, I’d prefer a solution that didn’t require quite that much work.


I have a Grundig shortwave receiver, that I used at the previous house, and I can’t get crap with it using a 50’ antenna. Can’t get AM radio either. I don’t know why… perhaps because of the high water table? I have superior grounds.

When I replace the ancient, no-longer-code-compliant overhead wiring to the barn subpanel with a buried conduit, I’ll run a couple pieces of cat6 in the same trench, because I prefer wired connections. But for now it’s powerline ethernet between the buildings.


My condo is in a building from the 1880’s, and has weird and old electrical wiring. I decided on PowerLine ethernet for throughput reasons more than coverage (although that is also an issue presumably because of ancient layers of lead paint).

I mixed 2 or 3 different brands of 200mbps PowerLine ethernet together, with multiple endpoints. Some end points are a 4 port switch for multiple media devices, some are single port.

Barring a situation where a neighbor starts using PowerLine ethernet (hasn’t happened yet), everything works flawlessly. No extra configuration because they are “dumb” ethernet devices, no NAT or anything. Broadcast traffic happily goes over the electrical wires, and so the router acting as DHCP server happily assigns IP addresses to any device with a matching protocol listening on any plug in my house.

Yes, my neighbors could screw it up by also using Powerline. And also could get into my network. Afaik, that has not happened yet. Certainly, I am not worried about the FBI coming for me, so the “neighbor Powerline hacking” scenario doesn’t worry me overly much. And anyways due to old devices, I use an open AP with said broadcast disabled anyways.

If I lived in a building in Silicon Valley, I might be more concerned about security. Or a college town. I gather there may be newer Powerline products that involve link layer auth?

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We have this weird old house where some of the walls are basically a Faraday cage. Cellphone reception is spotty at best. The WiFi though has no problem reaching from the first floor corner office to the bedroom on the opposite side on the 2nd floor, or anywhere in the basement. Go figure.

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