Powerline Networking is frickin' awesome!

Yeah, it is. I’ve been futzing around with wireless for years but it couldn’t handle the streaming I’ve been doing to my homebrew htpc or Xbox. Running ethernet? Pain in the ass and can be expensive if you’re not doing it while building the house.

So I got this: http://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-XAVB101-Powerline-Ethernet-Adapter/dp/B001AGM2VI/ref=pd_cp_e_3

And this: http://www.amazon.com/Netgear-Powerline-Adapter-Ethernet-Switch/dp/B002J9G5XG/ref=pd_bxgy_e_text_b

This lets me plug one of the XAV101’s in near my router and modem, the other in my office and the AV switch with 4 ports goes in the living room. Setup is incredibly easy and the speed blows wireless away. Maxspeed 200 mbps. I’ve done speed tests and it shows no slowdown compared to before. (YMMV, I have good wiring, evidently!) So, let’s give powerline networking some love.

(Netgear, send me a check!)

If they are sending any checks out you’re in for a long wait. I’ve been pimping powerline ethernet here for a couple of years now and no check :( At least 2-3 other people have jumped on board the bandwagon as well by now.

Wireless is great for laptop/tablet/phone web surfing but I totally distrust it for anything (eg. HD video streaming) that needs a very consistent connection.

YMMV if you live out in the boonies with no neighbors and old wiring, but if you’re a typical urban/suburban dweller, powerline ethernet just plain works better than wireless most of the time.

Hey, we’re like a Fallout faction: The Powerline Brotherhood. :)


Welcome to the brotherhood, komrade. I’m currently using 85Mbps PL adapters. I’d like to step up to 200, but the crappy router Verizon mandates I use with FIOS is only 100 Mbps; hard to justify the expense for +15Mbps.

Get a cheapo gigabit switch, patch that into the Verizon FIOS router, and populate the switch with all your internal devices. The only thing that will be slow is data between the switch and the Verizon router, ie Internet traffic, which is slower than 100Mbps anyway.

I have FiOS without the crappy router. It is possible, despite what Verizon will tell you.

On the other hand, you do need their router if you have FiOS TV with their lame set-top box. But if you have a TiVo or some other cablecard device, you don’t actually need their router.

Not that is is hugely relevant to powerline, though I’m probably going to pick up a couple 200Mbps adapters to experiment with soon.

Due to this thread (and a couple others at qt3) I decided to give the powerline networking thing a try, and ordered one of these kits. I’m in a new building so I’m hoping the lines are hooked up in such a way that I’ll be able to run the network from my office upstairs to the TV downstairs. I’ve read that some people have trouble (even in newly constructed buildings) so it feels like a bit of a gamble, but the payoff would be huge, if it works out. I currently have a 100 ft. ethernet cable running all over the place, and had planned to clamp it to the walls and ceiling, but this would be so much better.

The kit should get here in a couple of days so I’ll report back whether it works out, in case anyone reading this wants another testimonial.

I’ve posted about this before but I use this kind of thing at home and it’s amazingly good. I do all of my console gaming across it and it works perfectly.

I hadn’t considered that - sounds like a good idea. Maybe I’ll give it a shot the next time I see a deal on 200 Mbps PL adapters.

Could you be more specific how that works out? I don’t currently have FIOS TV, but I’m considering adding it; but I also wouldn’t mind being able to ditch the FIOS router and replacing it with one of my own in the meantime.

Thanks to both of you for the info.

The fiber termination box they install has two ports they can activate – MoCA (coax) and ethernet. They really want to just activate the MoCA port, because that’s what their router and set top box expect.

You can only have network going over one of the ports, so generally they’ll refuse to activate the ether port, because their router and their set top box both want network over the MoCA port.

However, if you absolutely don’t want their router or their set top box, it’s possible to have the installer activate both ports and have the network go through the ether port. You’ll lose two-way cable stuff like video on demand, but I didn’t care about that at all. You end up having coax going straight to your TiVo or equivalent with a multistream cablecard, and ether going to your own router (I use an Airport Extreme).

I’ve had this done at two different houses, and it’s worked fine both places. Both times I’ve had to argue with them about it, though, and both install techs have had to call a supervisor to figure out whether I was just making things up.

I found out about this by accident – I first got FiOS before they offered TV in Pittsburgh, so I was network-only. The guy tried to convince me to use their router, but since at the time I had an already-set-up wireless network, I didn’t want to screw with it, and got him to run ethernet. Then when I added TV service, I did some digging and found that I only really needed MoCA if I wanted to use the shitty Verizon set top box instead of my TiVo.

As someone who’s just moved into an older house with only ONE (1) phone jack on the ground floor, this is relevant to my interests. Guess I’ll grab a starter kit and see if it works with U-Verse’s box.

The first couple I tried interfered with U-verse’s own use of powerline networking. As soon as I plugged in my boxes, they would make the TVs stutter and after a bit the TVs would go completely offline. I solved this by buying the ones AT&T sells on their website (PlugLink 9650), though they are limited to 85MB:

Thanks. I’m only using U-Verse for internet access at the moment though.

Even though this thread is dying, I mentioned in my last post that I’d update when I got my kit, so…

I love it! I had a little trouble finding the right combination of outlets both upstairs and downstairs that gave me a green connection speed light (most of the time I was getting red), but now that both units are green, everything is working wonderfully. HD streaming is smooth. I finally was able to get rid of my 10-mile long ethernet cable!

I find the manual’s description of the speed indicators amusing… “Green: Link rate > 80 Mbps (Best), Amber: 80 Mbps > Link rate > 50 Mbps (Better), Red: Link rate < 50 Mbps (Good)”. So when my adapters were red, it was “good”… even though my streaming video was stuttering like mad.

Anybody try ethernet over your cable TV lines?


It boasts higher speeds than powerline, and the reviews seem great, but I’d love to hear from someone here that has tried it.

I’ve done ethernet over coax and that works fine too. I suggest if you do go that route you buy a pair of Motorola NIM100s off ebay instead of buying a retail solution. You’ll generally pay way less.

I’ll give that coax thing a try. Is it necessary then to get a hub to split the ethernet output at the other end, or is there some other way that is usually done?

Also, the NIM100’s seem to have gone down in terms of supply lately, and the prices on ebay seem roughly comparable to these especially when you factor in prime shipping and a convenient return policy if for some reason they don’t work. Has anyone worked with actiontec gear?

My brother-in-law was using powerline networking in his office. He runs a business and was pulling data off of a file server in the room to a couple of different PCs that were also in the room. He was using powerline networking to go all of 12 feet.

The throughput over the powerline was 40Mb. He was pulling down some good sized files, so it was noticeably painful. I ran a 20’ ethernet cable and plugged it into their 100Mb router for a 2.5X increase in speed.

The house was pretty old, maybe 40-50 years. I’m not sure what the model was on the powerline adapter, but it wasn’t very old. 40Mb is pretty sucky, imo.

Right, but it’s not about the speed (although it’s certainly faster than wireless at least) - it’s about wanting your console in the basement to be able to use your cable modem which is upstairs in the spare bedroom without running network cable through your walls.

I don’t think anyone would recommend powerline ethernet for connecting systems in the same room. Obviously ethernet cabling is the way to go there.

As Warren said, powerline ethernet is useful for greatly extending the range of your local networking without having to run wires all through the house. I look at it as basically a wi-fi replacement in situations where wifi is too flakey to be trusted.

I do also run wifi for things like simple laptop web browsing, the powerline ethernet at my place is for things like connecting the fileserver two rooms over to the multiple HTPCs in the house… even though wireless-n theoretically provides more bandwidth than my PLE adapters provide, it never really comes close to that and even when the bandwidth is decent I find the latency to be too inconsistent for things like HD file streaming… I don’t want to watch 2 minutes of stuttering video because a neighbor turned on their microwave oven.