How do Powerline Adapters work?


A Powerline adapter is a device that sends communications signals through your home’s electric wiring. At least two of the adapters plug into your wall sockets and use Ethernet cables to connect to your router and device (TV, games console, PC whatever it may be).

Powerline Ethernet sends network data over your home’s existing wiring! How does it work, and is it something you should consider for your home network?

See more: Powerline adapters pros and cons

What is Powerline?

Powerline is a great way to set up a home network, but the speeds that can be reached are often overstated. We explain how it works and why the speeds aren’t as fast as they’re said to be.

Do Powerline adapters actually work? A powerline adapter lets network traffic travel through your home’s electric wiring. It’s a physical connection between your PC and your router, but it’s not as reliable as a direct Ethernet connection from your router to your PC.

Is Wi-Fi better than a powerline adapter? The best Powerline adapters are a much better choice than Wi-Fi extenders or repeaters, which just push a weak signal farther around a house. The Wi-Fi signal gets weaker the farther away you are from your internet router and the more things are in the way (walls, other devices, etc.).

Do Powerline adapters have to be on the same circuit? Each adapter needs to be on the same circuit for a powerline adapter to work. They can be on one or more circuit breakers, but they have to use the same wire from the transformer at your house. Technically, Powerline adapters might be able to talk to each other across more than one phase.

Is it better to use a powerline than Ethernet? Ethernet cabling is still the best way to make a network that works well, is simple, safe, and easy to fix problems with. A powerline is a great option if you can’t afford to install full Ethernet cables right now.

How far can Powerline adapters reach?

The span between powerline adapters can reach a distance of up to 300 meters (984 feet) between adapters. Three hundred meters is quite a long way and is longer than many houses. The distance between Powerline adapters is generally not a problem.

Do Powerline adapters work through extension leads?

Your Powerline Adapters will only work properly if you plug them directly into a wall socket, and not into extension leads. Most models of Powerline Adapters have a plug socket, which means you won’t lose a mains socket after it’s been plugged in.

Do powerline adapters work on different ring mains?

Powerline adapters do work across rings mains as mine do with no problems.

Do powerline adapters work in apartments?

Powerline adapters will work in an apartment if the wiring is adequate, there is minimal interference, and rooms are on the same circuit.

How do you set up a powerline adapter?

Prepare your main powerline adapter by plugging it into the electric socket and connecting the Ethernet cable to the router. Press the pair button on the powerline adapter. Next, plug in the second wireless powerline adapter and press the pair button. Wait for the devices to pair.

Can Powerline adapters work between houses?

It is possible for powerline devices to work between all homes that are fed by the same transformer. Therefore, if you setup a powerline adapter without encryption, it could be possible for a neighbor to plug in a compatible powerline adapter in their home, and tap into your powerline network.

Does powerline work between garage and house?

Will Powerline Adapters Work Between a House and a Detached Garage? Powerline adapters require that each adapter be on the same circuit. If your garage and house are on the same circuit, they should be able to communicate via Powerline adapters.

Do Powerline adapters affect Wi-Fi?

They free up your Wi-Fi.

​Frees up your Wi-Fi. Powerline connects to one of your routers LAN ports via Ethernet cable, if you connect a device via powerline instead of Wi-Fi it will take some load off your wireless network and provide more capacity for other devices.

Are Powerline adapters good for gaming?

Since a powerline adapter’s primary function is to create minimum lag, all powerline adapters are relatively good for gaming. A powerline adapter of speed range between 600-1200 Mbps provides a lag-free gaming experience.

Can I connect a powerline adapter to a router?

Simply plug a Powerline adapter into a power outlet and connect it to your router’s LAN port via an Ethernet cable. Then plug in another adapter or extender into a power outlet on the same electrical circuit. When the Powerline LED turns on, enjoy your newly extended network.

Is powerline Ethernet good for gaming?

Powerline adapters will work for providing high-speed Internet to your gaming computer or console, but they are not your best option. Powerline adapters have lower latency than Wi-Fi, which is good. However, they do not have the same reliability or speed compared to their alternatives.

Why is powerline slower than Wi-Fi?

But while powerline networks are simple to set up, very affordable, and can work well, they’re also susceptible to interference from environmental factors. This can leave you with a network that’s slower than you’d like, and slower than your existing Wi-Fi setup.

Do powerline adapters reduce speed?

The truth is that if you are on a 24mbps Internet connection then the way you are connected to the router (wired, powerline, or wireless) should make no difference whatsoever as they are all considerably faster than that.

Is it OK to plug a wifi extender into an extension cord?

Yes, you can do it. The extension cords might have filters that affect your speed, so it’s not recommended.

Can I connect a Powerline adapter to an Ethernet switch?

A Powerline adapter will work with an Ethernet switch.

Ethernet switches, also called network switches, connect multiple devices via Ethernet cables . Ethernet switches are different from routers.

Can you plug an extension cord into an extension cord?

DON’T plug extensions cords together.

Extending the length of an extension cord by “daisy-chaining” can lead to overheating the cord by overloading it, creating a serious fire hazard.

What wire does powerline use?

A powerline adaptor is sometimes called a powerline-Ethernet adaptor because it still uses an Ethernet cable, just in a more limited capacity. Think of it as a hassle-free version of Ethernet. An Ethernet cable connects your device straight to your home router.

Do Powerline adapters work on a spur?

Powerline works between the two but fairly slowly. I fitted a socket behind the TV which is just a spur from the extension ring main (a simple hole straight through the wall), and that works fine.

Do WiFi extenders need to be on the same circuit?

Powerline (Home Plug) Connectors Must Be Fitted On The Same Electrical Circuit. For Powerline Adapters to work it is essential that these are installed onto the same electrical circuit to each other, if they are not they will not connect to each other.

Can you use MoCA in an apartment?

You see, most apartment buildings are already wired for cable TV, which operates on coax wiring. This same coax wiring can be used to establish an extremely reliable wired network backbone called MoCA.

How do you hook up a powerline extender?

TP-Link Wireless Powerline Setup Tutorial Video

Where do I plug in my powerline adapter?

Powerline adapters should always be plugged directly into the wall—not into a power strip—and kits without power passthrough will block one or both of your wall outlets.

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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