Powerline Adapter Update #illumedati


This is an update to my prior post: WiFi Dead Zones and Powerline Adapters. As promised, I will do a full review in this Powerline Adapter Update.

Stock Photo from: Pixabay

Ok, so if you haven’t read the previous post, I’d recommend you read that first for some background. WiFi Dead Zones and Powerline Adapters

I bought:

TP-Link AV2000 Powerline Adapter Kit


Before installation, I did a quick speedtest using http://www.speedtest.net.

Regular WiFi Results

84 Mb/s down and 24 Mb/s up with 8 ms ping, not bad at all. In fact, why even bother with a Powerline Adapter if I was getting that good of signal?

However, remember that my major concern was stability. Even though I didn’t check for packet loss on WiFi, I know it was happening because I could feel it. For example, 5-10 seconds of lag when playing a game, or a website not wanting to load… then loading after 5-10 seconds. Even my daughter can tell you this happens because her Youtube Kids App on iPad will stall once in awhile (which makes her quite sad).

More so than that, also remember that the WiFi signal didn’t really penetrate my daughter’s and son’s rooms which are next to my office.


Let’s move on to installation:

I’m usually a stickler for instructions. My wife will tell you that if something comes with instructions I always read them first before I do anything. This contrasts against her style of “figure it out as you go”. However, I’ve learned my lesson many a time while trying to build something from Ikea that “figure it out as you go” is not a good idea.

Instead of a building a chair, you end up with something else, like a deformed coffee table.

Then you have to take it all apart again, wasting a lot of time in the process.

Relevant:

Luckily, this time the instructions were just a simple “quick install guide” and there wasn’t much to do. Plug either one of the Powerline Adapters directly into an electric socket and then connect the included Cat 6 cable to your Router and your Powerline Adapter. Then I just plugged my Power Strip into the Powerline Adapter. Ez Pz.

They even state right in the quick install guide that you must plug the Powerline Adapter straight into socket. Despite this, I’ve seen bad reviews of these Powerline Adapters from people who are plugging the Powerline Adapter into their Power Strips, who then get suboptimal results.


Anything else I should know?

One snag which I knew about before buying this adapter is that adapter itself is bulky. For this reason it, it prevents you from using a 3 prong plug in the top socket of a standard 2 socket electric socket. For this reason, I would advise getting a big Power Strip to plug into the pass-through of the Powerline Adapter so you don’t lose any functionality.

Ok, so now the setup next to the router was complete. I walked downstairs to my office with the other Powerline Adapter and plugged it into that electric socket. I then connected the other included Cat 6 cable from the Powerline Adapter to my computer.

According to the Quick Start Install guide, you’re supposed to then press a button on one adapter and then on the other adapter so they sync up. However, for me that wasn’t necessary. I turned on my computer and my computer immediately knew I was using Ethernet. For those who don’t know, most Network Adapters nowadays are Gigabit Ethernet Adapters, meaning they can handle up to 1000 Mbps. However, some of the older adapters were the 100 Mbps standard “Fast Ethernet“. Obviously, if you are using an older adapter, you won’t be able to see above 100 Mbps.


Powerline Adapter Results

So I went to the http://www.speedtest.net/ and here are the results:

So 111 Mb/s down, 24 Mb/s up, and 1 ms ping.

Now, this may not seem that great over Wifi because it went from 84 –> 110 down, and up was still around 24.

However, what really matters to me is whether there was still packet loss.


How do I test for packet loss?

First, hit Windows Key + R and it’ll bring up the Run command.

Type in cmd and click ok.

This will open up the command line in good old DOS… remember DOS?

It’ll say something like:

C:\Users\[your username]>

For example, mine says:

C:\Users\ResidentSensei>

At that command prompt type in:

ping 192.168.1.1 -t

The IP address of 192.168.1.1 is the address my router uses (ASUS). Find yours in this list. For example, Netgear is 192.168.0.1.

Once you hit enter, this will send packets to your router over and over. Let it run for like 5 or 10 minutes or so and then come back and press Ctrl + C.

Here’s mine:

My computer sent 801 packets and they were all received for 0% packet loss.

However, I really didn’t need to test this, because once again I could feel it. There was no more stuttering while doing stuff online and no more lag when playing games.

I only did the packet loss test to show you guys and explain how to test for packet loss.


So, what’s the verdict then, yay or nay?

For me, it did what I wanted it to do, so it’s a yay for me.

As long as your expectations are inline with what the product can do then you will be happy. I will probably buy 2 more Powerline Adapters for my kid’s rooms later on. Alternatively, I could buy another router and plug it in at my office, but I worry there may still be packet loss. I think utilizing Powerline Adapters for the downstairs bedrooms is the better bet. Who knows, maybe in the next few years Powerline Adapters will get even better.

Long story short, if your WiFi is spotty in certain areas of your house or your are experiencing packet loss, then I think a Powerline Adapter is something to consider.

However, you need to understand the products limitations. If you are thinking you will get significantly faster speed from switching to a Powerline Adapter, I think you will be disappointed. I did have a slight speed increase of 84 to 110 which is about a 30% increase, which isn’t bad. However, I think a 50%+ speed increase is unlikely. There is even a possibility that you won’t see a speed increase at all. For this reason, I would only recommend this product for those who have spotty wifi coverage and/or packet loss.


TL;DR

Powerline Adapters are definitely improving.

Test for packet loss, like I described above.

If you have spotty Wifi in certain areas of your house, I think it’s worth considering.

However, don’t buy them expecting a significant increase in speed.

Make sure you install them correctly, and make sure you buy one that has pass-through.

 

-Sensei

Did my review help? Are you planning to get one now?

How has your experience with Powerline Adapters been?

Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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