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Should I replace powerlines with mesh wifi?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Alex S, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. garyi

    garyi leave blank

    The easiest way would be ethernet, there is always a way :)
  2. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    A point about 'powerline' methods I'd add is as follows:

    Bear in mind that everything you plug into your domestic mains also becomes a part of the system. So unplugging, say, a vacuum cleaner from a socket in one room and taking it into another room, then plugging it in there, alters the system. As does shifting the mains lead when plugged in. As does turning on/off the device. As does adjusting something like a light dimmer.

    So if you experience variable performance, factors like those may need considering. Even if we ignore any risk of nonlinear psu loads, etc, generating self-interference!

    Basically, powerline is a bodge.
    tuga likes this.
  3. BTC3

    BTC3 pfm Member

    @Mark EJ Thank you for putting that in writing!
    I arrived at a pretty similar conclusion myself about 12 months ago. I have an old house with cables that enter at the wrong end for where internet delivery is needed. I played with powerlines for a long time, but they weren't stable enough - guess it's part of the age and history of the house. Wifi can be problematic as the router is at one end of the house and there are some 60cm+ walls to contend with between it and other rooms where it is needed. In the end I bit the bullet and went with ethernet following some water pipes from the basement to the loft, and down the outside of the house from the loft into where needed. Zyxel wifi access points (POE) handle roaming wifi, and a raft of switches at strategic locations to handle distribution - by running cables around the place, I've ended up with wired connections for many things that would otherwise have used wifi (TVs, Sky boxes, computers, etc), so wifi is really only used for a few cameras, phones and tablets, which I guess is how it should be. It took a bit of planning and sketching to work things out, but it seems - so far - to be working well. I confess I still use the BT hub as the main router. I guess I'll look at updating things in a couple of years in case things have moved on.
  4. cutting42

    cutting42 Heading to Fish Hacker Erg \o/

    Not much to add except having faced similar challenges I bit the bullet and ran cables everywhere I could including outside and inside. I run a Virgin Hub as a modem and then to a ASUS AC5300 router/wireless which I installed centrally and high in the house which covers the phones and ipads sufficiently. The rest of my stuff is wired except for the Sky Q mesh which has its own system.

    The good news is that all the previous flakiness and unreliability has disappeared and I how have a reliable and fast system house wide.
  5. tuga

    tuga European

  6. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    I ran network cables to all rooms in the house, some of them got two. We use our VM hub in modem mode, and an old Netgear N600 router for WiFi and the wired connections to rooms. Then in each room, we have either a 16 port switch or 8 port switch. I also use a firewall appliance between VM hub and router. We have a NAS on the main network for files and running the CCTV cameras.

    Our Netgear router is quite old, but extremely reliable. I am pondering updating it eventually.
  7. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    FWIW I'm useless at general domestic 'DIY'. But I didn't have any real problems running wired ethernet to the rooms when we use it. I just ran it along the tops of skirting boards, or over doors, etc. To get though doors I cut a small channel in the wooden sill under the door so the cable could run though at the corner even when the door is closed. The result is virtually invisible and works fine.
  8. Gaycha

    Gaycha pfm Member

    Powerline is fine. I cannot hear any difference in sound whether I stream to devices hard wired or wirelessly.

    ...and i seldom hoover whilst listening.;)
  9. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    But the effects I describe are real. Just that your current arrangement happens to be OK. But buy a different vaccum cleaner, and it might be different. Or...

    This is reminding me of the case a BBC engineer found where the lights on a christmas tree caused his FM radio to stop working when he tried using powerline. :)
  10. Gaycha

    Gaycha pfm Member

    I dont recall the N600 being 1Gb throughput, so it may be a bottle neck if you are streaming video etc. Good and reliable router though.
  11. Gaycha

    Gaycha pfm Member

    Most powerline issues seem to come from those older wiring systems with lots of spurs and older consumer units.

    I live in a Victorian house but had it rewired when we were renovating. So the system is very good, clean rings, minimal spurs, good earthing etc. The plugs I use also use the earth wire circuit rather than just the L/N of some powerline transmission protocols. Never had any problems and have upgraded plugs through 3 generations since 2008.
  12. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    I have some original Develo kit 18+ years old that I bring out from time to time. I used them to get connectivity throughout this 3 story house until routers got a lot better and now just one Draytek covers the whole house as mentioned above.

    I did make a discovery many years ago when I was attempting to use the plugs to get a connection from my office on the 3rd floor to a room across the landing. The performance was bad whist a connection down 3 floors was fine. As it turns out this house has 3 ring mains - one for the kitchen and one for the left and right side of the house. So to go from my office and a few feet across the landing meant that the signal went down 3 floors on one ring to the consumer unit and back up 3 floors on the other ring.


    Gaycha likes this.
  13. Mark EJ

    Mark EJ Fails to comply

    A good point well made. The only instances of this I've been involved with had just buried cable about a foot down, right up against the house outside walls, and no problems so far (fingers, etc.)

    Yes — exactly. The original electrician, and / or his successors, may not have been logical individuals.

    Yes, all of that. One is exposing data to the prevailing 'weather conditions' on one's AC mains, and the data may suffer as a result. But it's a bodge that works well enough for over half of those who try it, and as broadband speeds increase it will get more acceptable to more punters. If your 8mbps connection reduces to 2mbps at point of use at the other end of a PowerLine link, that's no good. But a 40mbps connection reducing to 10mbps is far less of an issue. For what amounts, under the skin, to point-to-point wifi it's a reasonable solution in some situations, especially in rented property (but use the encryption!). It will usually fail in situations where there's more than one consumer unit and/or earth point.

    More generally from the point of view of your music, if you have a record player (and the associated gain stages that tend to go with that), then you are probably more likely to have problems with PowerLine stuff. I get a regular background 'ticking', for example, with two PowerLine units plugged in and talking to each other in the house, in spite of having a dedicated spur for the whole stereo except the Lingo. No problem with CDs. Wifi works well enough, with no detectable musical downsides.
  14. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    One issue I've not seen investigated is the extent to which powerline might sometimes allow someone *outside* your home to receive the data, etc. I know it is often said to be a source of interference for radio enthusiasts.
  15. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    Have you contemplated moving it yourself?
  16. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    which I'm not. I have about 40 networked devices attached to it one way or another.
  17. Alex S

    Alex S pfm Member

    I guess, but I might as well route an Ethernet cable or two as much as the Virgin cable itself.

    Actually, as mentioned, I get at least 80mbps from powerlines but so many audiophiles tell me my music is ruined. I’m definitely going to stop hoovering though.
  18. Gaycha

    Gaycha pfm Member



  19. Gaycha

    Gaycha pfm Member

    if you can, ethernet cat 7 or 8 (best shielded) plus matching switches at access points/level , is best performing current starting base infrastructure for home use. A decent quality router is also a given basic requirement. So that sort of precludes the base ISP free routers, which tend to be basic in functions

    You can build out from there, including adding powerlines/mesh extenders etc. to suit your building and requirements/users
  20. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    The snag is that *not* having a vacuum cleaner connected might make the powerline operation worse than if it is! 8-] All depends on the multiple unknown and variable details of your home mains and all the items connected to it, which ones are on or off, etc, etc...

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