Question Powerline Networking and Power Strips

ProfAaron

Junior Member
Nov 19, 2021
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Okay, I suspect that the answer will be that this is a bad idea, but I am in a bit of a bind. The room my router is in only has two outlets and only three sockets (one socket is actually a switch). So I don’t have a spare socket into which I can plug the powerline adapter. I can plug the adapter into one of the power strips but is there any point to this? It seems like the additional interference slows the data transmission to a crawl, but my adapters are old. So I could get new ones, but I don’t want to spend the money if this isn’t a workable situation.

So has anyone else experimented with this? How have you fared? Any feedback would be great.
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
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Everyone's house wiring is different and each room is different. No one knows what network speed he will get until plug it in and test it.

Either use wired ethernet or mesh wifi, or coaxial ethernet network (MOCA) if you have coaxial cables at both ends.
 
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JackMDS

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Oct 25, 1999
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Plug power strip to one wall outlet, then plug what ever you have to the power strip. Use one of the free wall ouitlet for the powerline adapter.


:cool:
 
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ProfAaron

Junior Member
Nov 19, 2021
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Everyone's house wiring is different and each room is different. No one knows what network speed he will get until plug it in and test it.

Either use wired ethernet or mesh wifi, or coaxial ethernet network (MOCA) if you have coaxial cables at both ends.
Good points all. I am definitely starting to lean toward running an ethernet cable—I was hoping to avoid the trouble but this is quickly becoming just as much work. Jack also got me thinking about another course of action…

I have heard about using coax to run Ethernet, but I’ve never done it and if I am honest I had completely forgotten it as an option. As it so happens, I have a completely unused coaxial run from the first to the second floor in the room where the router is! Do you happen to know a good place to direct me to set this option up?

I have also heard of using a mesh internet, but other than the concept I know nothing about it. Is the idea to use a wide array of repeaters?

Plug power strip to one wall outlet, then plug what ever you have to the power strip. Use one of the free wall ouitlet for the powerline adapter.


:cool:
Have you ever seen the movie Christmas Story? There is a scene where the father goes to plug in his new lamp and it shows he already has about 12 items plugged into a two socket outlet, dangerously overextending the power handling of his old knob and tube wiring.

Anyway, my room isn’t that bad—oh boy I hope it isn’t—but it is a PITA. The socket closest to the router has only one outlet and I need that for the PC and other associated items. So if I unplug that one I need to run the PC, etc. to the other outlet. But that one already has two power strips handling things like lighting, recharging stations, printer, etc. However, you got me thinking maybe I could condense these. I will take a closer look.

After I read your message it also occurred to me that I might purchase a new power line adapter and get one with a socket on the outside. It is a bummer as I had hoped to just use what I had, but this is an option.


So for follow up questions: if I do go to the trouble of running another Ethernet cable, is there an appreciable speed difference between coaxial and Cat6? I have no idea what the data transmission rate of coax is, so maybe the difference is large?

Also, I‘m assuming that I would use some sort of repeater (maybe an old router? I might have one around still) at the end of the Ethernet/coaxial connection. Maybe this is a stupid question, but is the difference between a wifi repeater and this worth the effort? Or is that too hard to figure?

Sorry for all the questions. I have been out of computers for over ten years now and I feel like I have a lot to (re)learn.
 

JackMDS

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Coax is a much better solution since it always works while Power line is a bad Bet. However Coax also needs additional interface that need to be plugged In.

Regardless of which, their power needs is very low. If one of them will Trip the system it means that with or without one of them , you already running a system in Dangerous state..


:cool:
 

mxnerd

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Jul 6, 2007
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MOCA 2.0 (bonded channel, corrected by @DaaQ ) adapters give you guaranteed speed at 1Gbps. Powerline doesn't (too much noise), and usually a lot worse as Jack and 1st video below has suggested.

MOCA 2.5 is up to 2.5Gbps

Traslite, gives you one 2.5Gbps and one 1Gbps port with combined 3Gbps bandwidth it claims.
There is an animated video showing how to connect.

Hitron


 
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DaaQ

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Dec 8, 2018
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MOCA 2.0 adapters gives you guaranteed speed at 1Gbps. Powerline doesn't (too much noise), and usually a lot worse as Jack and 1st video below has suggested.

MOCA 2.5 is up to 2.5Gbps

Traslite, gives you one 2.5Gbps and one 1Gbps port with combined 3Gbps bandwidth it claims.
There is an animated video showing how to connect.

Hitron


Just to clarify for the OP, MOCA 2.0, generally will run 500-600Mbps, UNLESS it is a channel bonding adapter.

Thanks to mxnerd for the wiki link, because I didn't know they started using channel bonding on 2.0 devices.

MOCA is definitely superior to powerline tho. I have a moca adapter to attach my Tivo box to my network. My ISP uses MOCA which is built into the gateways to run the Tivo main and minis. I had to use it for my particular setup to get the Tivo main onto the same network as my wifi for the callphone app usage.

Since I left installation and went into maintenance, the company has moved from MOCA wife extenders to EERO devices which are a mesh setup.
No experience with them personally, but they do not run over moca, and the moca needs to be turned off on the gateway by "baselining" the modem, (basically bridge mode, shuts down the router) kind of defeats the purpose of a moca enabled modem but again, I am not installing anymore.

If you can run ethernet, that is best way to go, MOCA would be second imo, possibly tied with mesh.

My MOCA adapter is a 1.1 device and does run Netflix 4k off of the Tivo MG2 cable box I have. Mine is a Netgear MCA1001 v2 , I am pretty sure it is MOCA 1.1 though.

Using the MOCA though you do have to account for the extra power plugs. I have also used the Directv external dongle MOCA adapters successfully as just moca adapters, although they run in a different frequency band.
 
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ProfAaron

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Nov 19, 2021
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Okay, I am digesting all of this still but before too much time went by I wanted to thank you all. I am almost certainly going to do a hybrid of solutions, but which ones are still up in the air. After Turkey Day I will follow up, but I have two questions should anyone be on today:

1. I was reading an article on mesh WiFi and it mentioned setting it up so that one repeater (?) picks up where another leaves off, but how do you even do that? The article didn’t mention, it sort of assumed that this was obvious, so either it is poorly written or I am poorly informed (likely the latter). Is this just a matter of changing which channel each uses?

2. I plan to split the run to the first floor and try to run as much ethernet wire as I can without expending too much effort. I have some older basic wired routers from around 2005. I have read that ethernet speeds have gone up, but will these routers present a significant bottleneck? Or are the changes more incremental.

I want to thank you guys for your help. The tech has changed so much that I feel sort of lost.

Happy Turkey Day everyone,
Aaron
 

blckgrffn

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If you buy wifi mesh units that have Ethernet jacks, usually that can be used as an uplink into a room. My sister in her house uses Eero units for their entertainment centers (game consoles, UHD player, tv etc all plug into a switch which uses the eero mesh unit for uplink) which happen to also be high usage wifi spots.

So the little pucks talk to each other, and on the back they have a Ethernet port. For the main puck (usually) you have this by your modem and it is also your router (easy mode). For this one puck in your wifi mesh, the Internet comes in.

Then you put the pucks where you want wifi OR where you want wired networking. Where you want the wired stuff you just plug the Ethernet port on the mesh puck into a switch, then devices attached to that switch use the mesh wifi backbone for their own traffic - never the wiser.

In practice with the entry level eero units this seems to be a good step above 10/100 in speed but not as good as gigabit. Of course YMMV but you could be like $150 away from an “easy” solution.
 

fkoehler

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Feb 29, 2008
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You can get one of those 1-to-3 explansion plugs that plug into the wall outlet and turn the top or bottom plug outlet into 3. I would do this over playing with powerline on a powerstrip as depending upon your powerstrip module the anti-surge or MOV's could interfere with the waveform your powerline module uses. Plus, those adapters are usually on $5, and simple break out the hot/neu/ground from 1 connector to 3 connecters each, without any electronics involved.


OK, finished reading the whole thread.

1. Cheapest would seem to be what I suggested. You can even get them at your local dollar store ($1.25 now).

2. Using coax and vampire taps is going to be a PITA, give variable results depending upon the type of coax existing, and more trouble that its worth.

3. Order an extralong cat6/6a cable from monoprice, spend the hour or so running it and be done. Almost as cheap as #1, and probably a far more consistent, reliable, and faster connection.

4. Screw around with another router//mesh, and spend a fair bit more and still have the occasional issue to troubleshoot.
 
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mxnerd

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Jul 6, 2007
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If OP need 10G in the future and willing to spend his time and effort to wire an ethernet cable,

then it's great. Cat6a > cat6 > MOCA 2.5


I believe most houses have RG6 coaxial cable now, however. Of course OP should check the existing cable first.

What really give inconsistent result is powerline adapter, you can't even guarantee the sockets in a room are on the same circuit.

OP has no need to get a new mesh system if satisfied with existing wifi performance.
 
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Fallen Kell

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Wired network (excluding powerline) gives you guaranteed speed, yet mesh wifi gives your wireless devices convenience & freedom using same SSID around the house without interruption when you are walking around.

A well designed standard, non-mesh WiFi network would provide the same freedom/capability to not be interrupted when you walk around. But that said, a lot of that non-interruption is based on how the client acts, not the router/access points. The reason you may experience a pause/interruption is due to bad hardware/driver implementation on your WiFi card in the computer/phone/laptop/tablet (again, assuming you have properly configured your wifi network itself).

For a properly configured non-mesh WiFi network, you need to space the multiple access points around the house/area fairly evenly. All of them are set with the same SSID, but each uses a different channel. Please note, that channel usage does overlap, so what you really want is to use non-overlapping channel selections across the various access points (which for the 2.4Ghz means using channels 1, 6, and 11, and you probably want to limit it to using only 20Mhz channel width, even though the later standards support up to 40 or even 80, almost no client cards/devices will support those and if there is even just a single device in your network's range that does not support the 40 or 80Mhz, your network will still slow down to 20Mhz, and at the same time cause more interference due to constantly checking to see if it can use the larger widths). This problem also exists in the 5Ghz spectrum with the latest standards that support 80Ghz, there are effectively only 2 channels that will not overlap/interfere with each other.

I usually don't bother explaining 5Ghz much as when we are discussing dealing with a large home/area for coverage, 5Ghz just will not cut it due to the drastically higher interference it receives from objects/walls/humans due to less penetration capability of the frequencies. When trying to cover a large area, 2.4Ghz is what you need to use.

The final point that you really need to do is measure at each access point the strengths of the signals from the other access points that are nearby which use the same channel. Now with 3 channels in 2.4Ghz, you should be able to properly space a 4th or even more access points without having channel overlap (i.e. from any access point, you should not be able to detect the signal from another one on your network that uses the same channel). If you can detect a second one using the same channel, you need to tweak the transmit power of them so that they can no longer see each other. You should ideally also tune the transmit power across all the access points so that you have similar boundary cross-over/handoff ranges between all the access points (i.e. you want it so that the signal strength reaches low enough from the AP the client is currently using to reach the search threshold of the client to cause it to want to transition to a different AP, and ideally, you want that to happen before your client can see two APs that are using the same channel on your network).

But really, these above issues of tranmission power tuning only really crop up when dealing with installations that have more than 3 APs (or 2 in the case of attempting to have 5Ghz coverage). The real issue with seamless transition is completely client based, and changing your WiFi access points to a "mesh" does not fix the issue. While you might see a fix, the reason for the fix is that you probably replaced/upgraded the client side device with hardware/software that now properly supports the transittion in the first place, which you could have done with your older network as well. The downside of the "mesh" is now you are using additional WiFi channels just to have the access points communicate back to each other, causing even more interference across your network than you would have had with wired access points.

I put that last bit in bold, as this is the real problem that people do not understand.

There is some other tuning that you can do when dealing with poor/bad designed clients that do not want to switch between access points, and that is to have a cutoff on the router for clients to be able to communicate using both the "minimum signal for authenticate" and "minimum signal for connection" values. Most all routers/access points default these to -128. By raising them to a higher value such as -60, the router/access point will prevent the client from connecting to it until it sees that as the minimum signal strength (you will need to tweak this based on the signal strength you scan across your coverage areas in the transition zones between the APs). Again, this can and may cause a hiccup for the clients that have bad tuning, but it will be better overall as a whole for your network since it forces them to switch to a different AP which will have better signal strength for servicing that client and will not cause the wifi network to drop down into degraded modes for all devices connected to it just so it can communicate to the worst signal devices on the network (as you are only as fast as the worst device on the channel).
 
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