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Author Topic: Powerline newtorking...  (Read 1980 times)

Offline happypaddler

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Powerline newtorking...
« on: December 18, 2009, 06:27:44 PM »
Hi all,

Posted here, rather than the mac section - thought more people may see it  - does anyone have/use the powerline (plugs which use your home mains electrical systems) internet plug and play things? We have just moved and waiting for the broadband to be switched on (currently visiting in-laws and using their network), but looking at where the phone lines are in relation to where my time capsule (EHD & wireless router) and my office is... I need to either buy an Apple airport plug to extend my wirless network (allowing the time capsule to work), or try these powerline things.

I was wondering if they are any good, pitfalls and pros etc... its a technology I can see the benefit of, but perhaps a bit sceptical about.

All advice from mac and pc users very welcome.



Offline Jonathan

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Re: Powerline newtorking...
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2009, 06:50:33 PM »
I've used one in the past with a Mac.  I was staying in a house where my computer was in an extension and the external walls were too thick for WiFi.

Pretty much a "Ronseal" product - plug it in and it works.  As long as the speed's OK for you (and they have speeded up a lot since I used one) I wouldn't hesitate in recommending one.
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picsfor

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Re: Powerline newtorking...
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2009, 07:23:49 PM »
Used one many moons ago in their early stages of testing.
They based on fairly solid and proven technology so don't be afraid of using one.

I just haven't seen one in use in recent years, but looking at Jonathan's scenario i could see they would be a real boost.

Offline happypaddler

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Re: Powerline newtorking...
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2009, 08:58:13 PM »
Ok, thanks - I shall go and have a look at them in more detail.

Offline happypaddler

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Re: Powerline newtorking...
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2009, 09:53:53 AM »
I have been looking at the powerline plugs, during research I came across a 30 meter cable which could come out of the wired (broadband supplier) router and run into the office and plug straight into my Time Capsule, making a wireless network straight off. They cost about £10, compaired to £90 for the faster (more reliable, according to user reviews), or £60 (for the slower spec) powerline things. You guys are far more knowlegable than I, would a 30m cable make the network slow? Or is the technology good enough that I won't really notice?
« Last Edit: December 21, 2009, 09:57:26 AM by happypaddler »

Offline hevans

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Re: Powerline newtorking...
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2009, 10:58:18 AM »
I have been looking at the powerline plugs, during research I came across a 30 meter cable which could come out of the wired (broadband supplier) router and run into the office and plug straight into my Time Capsule, making a wireless network straight off. They cost about £10, compaired to £90 for the faster (more reliable, according to user reviews), or £60 (for the slower spec) powerline things. You guys are far more knowlegable than I, would a 30m cable make the network slow? Or is the technology good enough that I won't really notice?


If the cable is a standard Cat 5. ethernet cable running at 100 Mbs, then you shouldn't really notice any problems. If your network is running at 1 Gb, then you might invest in a higher quality ethernet cable.

One issue I have heard of with the powerline systems is that the signal can propagate throughout the neighbourhood, i.e. flow out of your power supply in the house to the neighbours. Whether this will be a problem or not, I don't know. But it can lead to interesting security considerations - with WiFi, much work has gone on to add security to the open radio signal, with cabled systems, you pretty much physically deny other access to the cable, a strong security measure, with the power line systems, they can be open, and are physically cabled back to the national grid - so what do they do to prevent external access?

I did use a powerline system at a hotel a couple of times, and it worked more reliably than their WiFi connection, but then the laptop was behind its own firewall, and running a VPN to the home system.

H.


Offline happypaddler

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Re: Powerline newtorking...
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2009, 05:57:54 PM »
Thanks for that, the cable option seems the cheapest and probably most secure (powerline things do come with security software to make them password protected and fiewalled - but the software only works on PC's and we do not have one in the house).

Offline Jonathan

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Re: Powerline newtorking...
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2009, 06:15:36 PM »
would a 30m cable make the network slow?

Oh yeah - cable it if you can.  Preferred method for a network is Cat5e all the way.

Fast Powerline runs at a THEORETICAL maximum of 85 Mbs.  Like Hugh says a slow wired network is 100 Mbs.  Most Macs have Gigabit cards and the time capsule certainly does.  Even if a 20m cable causes signal loss you're looking at a loss off the theoretical maximum of 1000 Mbs.  You could get 90% speed loss and still beat a Fast Powerline.

AFAIK all Cat5 cables you can buy new in shops are really Cat5e which will support Gigabit.

@Hugh - in the UK powerline networks may get onto a neighbour's system but only on pretty old installations.  Modern wiring isn't supposed to cause problems like that (though of course it's possible).  My parents' house (last wired in about 1960) shared a circuit with their next door neighbours until yesterday ;)
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Offline hevans

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Re: Powerline newtorking...
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2009, 07:43:56 PM »
would a 30m cable make the network slow?

Oh yeah - cable it if you can.  Preferred method for a network is Cat5e all the way.
Yup, cable's preferred to wireless.

Quote
@Hugh - in the UK powerline networks may get onto a neighbour's system but only on pretty old installations.  Modern wiring isn't supposed to cause problems like that (though of course it's possible).  My parents' house (last wired in about 1960) shared a circuit with their next door neighbours until yesterday ;)

Another point, it won't work in our house too well, as we have a 3 phase system. Another issue.

For simplicity, if you can run the cat5 cable, run it. You won't regret it later.

H.

PS. Merry Xmas!

picsfor

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Re: Powerline newtorking...
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2009, 08:02:10 PM »
definitely Cat 5.
You'd be surprised how many office users have their computers attached to a network via 25 and 30m Cat 5 cables - and they're none the wiser.

 

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