Improving Powerline performance

I have a smallish house that nonetheless suffers from poor wifi reception in the living room. Unless a PC has an amazing MIMO adapter/antennas reception will be horrible there. So I decided to try some Powerline adapters out to see how well it worked.

Performance was much more consistent than the WiFi, which could vary from pretty quick to nonexistent. While better than nonexistent, the throughput I’m seeing on a pair of adapters rated for 1000Mbps is a measly 30-50Mbps. Don’t get me wrong - while I like having any kind of networking available in the living room, it takes forever to download large files, even from other devices on the network.

Anyone have a few tips for improving performance? I know the usual advice about trying to put the adapters on the same circuit, but the way my house is wired the signal is going to have go through my breaker panel.

There isn’t much you can do - if you own the house, running a proper ethernet cable for a ceiling access point would be my recommendation.

If it’s a single story house - it might be easier than you think to mount an access point onto a ceiling and drop the other end of the ethernet cable to wherever your router is - it’s likely you won’t even have to repaint any walls/ceilings.

Otherwise, you’d likely have to remove some sockets to get access to the wall, get fish tape to run the cable up/down, you’re likely to run into some “blocking” on external walls, not so much on internal… or into a “top sill” which in order to get through might require you to open more holes in the plasterboard unless you can access it from above, which you’d have to fix, dry, sand , smooth, and then repaint that wall. – that’s about the worst case scenario.

Alternatively, you could try pulling ethernet along the baseboards - maybe just drill through the wall in a couple of places - not as pretty but possibly easier.

If it’s a multi story it gets more interesting. Depending on the type of flooring on the second floor and so on.


Unfortunately I have little in the way of handyman skills, not to mention being horribly out of shape (I’m in the same weight class as Wendell.) So crawling through the rafters isn’t a great option. I do know that all the outlets in the house are ‘backstabbed’ with the exception of the couple I’ve had to replace. Could that be part of the problem?

Do you have coax throughout the house? Moca is a great alternative.

Many routers have it integrated, so all you need is an adapter per coax location, a filter, a compatible splitter, and the associated cables.

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What do you mean? Didn’t you saw him working that ladder like a pro? :wink:

Im not sure wat you mean by “backstabbed” sockets, but its the cables in your wall that are main problem.
Power cables are not exactly rated for high frequency transmissions, they are not twisted, not shielded, and there are only 2 of them.

So I would say getting 50Mbps from something that was never designed as such is pretty sweet deal :slight_smile:

Other than that, like others already said, you want higher speeds , you need to have proper cable. UTP preferred, coax in a pinch.

I would rather put those cables under or in those “floor angle finishers”, i’m not sure whats the proper English term for them. It’s easier, and some of them even already have space for cable.

As for going trough the wall or floor, drill and long bit. Or you can use those big holes that you already probably have in each room. They let sunlight in :wink: Just put cable in plastic shielding that is also used for power cables.


Apparently common in places like Russia and New Zealand, around UK and Ireland nobody’s heard of it.
Also, construction/building practices vary incredibly depending on when something was built and geography. Moca (ethernet over coax) is really hard to get in Europe, for example.

Except Germany. Kabel Deutschland (now part of Vodafone, the worst ISP here) has basically a nation wide coax network. Still has cable TV on it, but also carries Internet (with the worst customer service, datacaps and uptime possible).

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Same here, over your eastern border (you know, the country with most stupid, corrupted and catholic politicians ever at charge :wink:

But coax doesn’t necessarily mean bad internet. For last mile solution seems fine. Not sure what upper limits are, but I have asymmetric 500/50Mbps and it works OK. They putting several uplinks and (de)multiplexing them in modem.
But I’m using only internet, i don’t use cable TV crap. It’s crap, I don’t have TV, and it would probably eat into my bandwidth.

Very true. Like american movies treat it as normal, that someone just puts their hand trough “wall”… :wink:

Multimedia over coax something, rather i think? It’s been over 20 years since I used coax for my needs, so not really familiar with those standards now. But yeah, it started my networking adventure at blazing 10Mbps speeds while modems were quite prevalent :wink:

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Moca is an interesting idea, but my Internet service arrives via the coax in my house. I have a feeling trying to force ethernet packets through the coax would cause significant interference. But…there is an coax connection in the living room. Do cable standards allow for multiple cable modems in the same household? Buying an extra cable modem would be a fairly easy solution, but I’m not sure what my ISP would charge me for the privilege.

Maybe some background info would be helpful. I recently got a wireless VR headset, but the best play area is in the living room on the opposite side of the house from my router and Internet connection.

Im not sure if I read you right, but you don’t have to “put” anything on existing coax from your ISP.

Assumption is you will lay new cables, and regardless if its coax or utp, there wont be any interference (coax is shielded, utp is twisted). And you can do behind your modem/router from ISP whatever you like. For example you can put another router.

However, I think market for utp in consumer space is way bigger than coax. So accessibility ans prices should be better. But that are just my feeleengs, so I can be wrong, and probably someone will correct me soon if that’s the case :wink:

Also you have option similar to what this video I posted is talking about. Sure I posted it as a joke, but I minded a topic a bit.
So you can put sh**load of wifi repeaters in your house, and then you don’t have to lay any cables. But this probably will be more expensive, and also usually tad slower.

Not to mention that idea specifically behind this EnGenius stuff doesn’t seem kosher to me. Sure its easy to set up, but thought that my devices are calling in to some company, without my knowledge, for whatever reason, doesn’t sit well with me.

I was perplexed, why Wendell didn’t even mention security risks with any of that… felt bit like watching some influencer video.

Edit: Topology of solution were talking about would look something like that:

ISP – (modem – ISP router) – your router ------------------------- AP (your awesome VR room)

But If ISP router is decent enough you don’t need “your router”. Also ISP’s modem and router are one device sometimes. And AP stands for access point, they usually cheaper than routers.

They make a moca filter that you use where your coax enters the home. This blocks you from providing your internet to everyone else using moca on the cable system; moca has a distance that it will work as well, but the filter is highly recommended.

Moca operates on a different frequency than cable tv/internet and therefore wont interfere with those. Ive used moca in the past with no detrimental effects to the provider tv/internet signal. Splitters will have an effect on moca, use quality splitters and not the cheap ones.

As mentioned before, use the filter, if your moca signal hits the cable providers hub, that hub will amplify the moca signal back to the cable providers systems and you will provide free internet (and access to all your network services, as they will be on your LAN) to anyone else using moca on the providers network.

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Something like the AV2000s are your best bet:

They support 2x2 MIMO and I got > 100 megabytes/second download speed with them. Obviously your mileage may vary with your home wiring.

I got sick of them blocking electrical outlets and eventually just ran cat6 through my apartment.

I thought DOCSIS and MoCA interfere with each other. But I thought wrong. Apparently 2.0 one detects DOCSIS channels.

You can put more frequencies on cable, but it will depend on your ISP. You would probably have to buy second service from them. Because your modem has to speak on the other end with their device. And data is multiplexed over several channels between those.

If you decide to to go with MoCA, on the same cable as your modem, then as I understand their protocol, you wont be sending any ethernet packets. They are converted into channels, just like between your ISP and modem.

I would guide you how to connect it, but like I said, I didn’t use coax in long time. That’s why I suggested solution on ethernet side of the modem.

I’ve got the AV1000’s (no wifi AP though.) The Tp-link utility says I should be seeing 200Mbps download speeds, but I only get 30 Mbps, 40 if I’m lucky. Any idea why I’m seeing this big discrepancy?

Had a similar issue with Devolo units recently. I assume that full-duplex (simultaneous communication both ways) does not work, so it falls down to half-duplex (which is like humans communicate, both can speak and listen, just not at the same time) which tanks speed.

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This is what it looks like. That cylinder on the “In” port is the filter, which keeps the channels used from going out into the neighborhood, but allows the channels of the incoming internet.

I’m no layer 1 expert, but shouldn’t half duplex just, um, halve speed. If so, I should still be seeing 100mbps or so…

No it means half the direction at once ;). But since TCP needs some control both ways, so it will have some impact on speed even during one way transmission. But it depends on many variables, and can result in transmission slower than just half.

Imagine “people talking” example, but in loud bar. Hope that explains why some things may not be able to communicate as fast :wink:

I also checked docs on this device, cant find technical specs what they’re using to transmit data over power cables. But when you look past their BS marketing they clearly say its “up to” 1GB/s. And fine print explains:

“***Maximum Powerline signal rates are the physical rates derived from HomeplugAV/AV2 specifications. Actual Powerline data throughput and Powerline range are not guaranteed and will vary as a result of network conditions and environmental factors, including electrical interference, volume of traffic and network overhead, AFCI circuit breaker, and Powerline being located in a separate circuit”

So in other words, you will maybe/probably get this on ideal cables.

And they call it 1GB/s because rj45 port uses this standard.

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Back when I was still naive about how much powerline sucks, I got a pair of TP-Link AV1200.

My actual transmission speed was ~130mbps on a good day, with minutes long connection drops randomly throughout the day. It turns out both are pretty normal. Hitting above 200mbps means you have an idea situation.

Powerline is garbage.

I had the AV1000s first. I got the same speeds that you’re getting now. My father also has the 1000s and gets 30-40 mbps. I don’t know enough about the technical aspect of it to know why, but going up to the AV2000s more than doubled my speeds on the same circuitry.

Even with the 2000s, on random days it’d still tank for a little while. Mainly if my wife was watching Netflix, I’d drop to 1-2mbps.

Like I said, I eventually gave in and did a shitty cat6 job.