You can set up a network to access the internet from any device using electrical cables with Powerline Ethernet or Wifi adapters
If we find it difficult to cover all the corners of the house with the Wi-Fi signal and the devices are too far from the router to be able to layout and hide an Ethernet cable, we can use the electrical network to connect a computer or any other cable device to the Internet, using the technology called Powerline. On the more advanced models, it is also possible to create a dedicated Wi-Fi hotspot network on the outgoing Powerline socket, so as to connect a smartphone or tablet even if it is very far from the modem or Wi-Fi router at home.
In this guide we will show you how to get the Internet on electrical outlets with Powerline, showing you both the classic models via Ethernet cable and the models able to provide Wi-Fi connectivity in rooms that are too far away.
How to have Internet on electrical outlets with Powerline
Here below we will explain what Powerline is, how to use it at home and which devices to buy based on our needs and the size of the house to be covered.
What is Powerline
A Powerline network uses the normal electrical sockets at home to provide a secure and encrypted Internet connection, without removing the main functionality of the socket (the normal electric current will always be available, together with a new modulated electrical signal that transmits information).
A Powerline network can work in this simple way: a first adapter connects to the electrical outlet and to the modem/router via cable. Therefore, at home or in the office attack as many other adapters as you want, they are not only bought in pairs but also individually and are all the same and exchangeable. These will be able to “see” the powerline adapter connected to the router and then receive the internet connection. If one of these adapters is also a Wifi card, you can take the signal for wireless connection as far as you want, in an environment covered by the same electrical circuit. An adapter, with this system, can also be connected to an electrical socket in the garage or in the basement or in the attic or on every floor of a hotel.
What is amazing about this network system is its performance.
Powerline networks work like standard wired networks in terms of safety and also for the speed.
Since the entire network is routed via cables there is no possibility that the internet connection can be stolen from the outside or used in an unauthorized way. Internet speed with Powerline adapters is almost the same as a direct connection with an Ethernet cable, with a theoretical maximum speed of up to 500 Mbps. However, the most winning feature of these adapters is their ease of configuration.
Virtually You can create a computer network also complex and also full of elements connected to the same network sticking to electrical outlets many powerline adapters how many they need, on the same network, without them having to be by the same brand or models.
In fact, the Powerline adapters behave like “modems”: the main adapter (where we connect the real home modem) converts the Ethernet cable signal into a specific electrical signal, available on the entire electricity network at home; the output adapter (where we connect the PC or the device to be reached) will perform the reverse operation, converting the specific electrical signal into the normal Ethernet signal. Obviously the signal is bidirectional and therefore allows us to obtain a download signal and an upload signal as if we were really connected directly to the modem/router.
The simplest adapters occupy the electrical outlet and it is not possible to reuse it for other devices; the more expensive models, in turn, supply an electrical socket, so that it can be used to supply simple electricity (Powerline Passthrough).
On the most complex Powerline networks there may be more secondary adapters, so as to connect several different devices, e Wi-Fi adapters, able to exploit the specific electrical signal to generate a Wi-Fi hotspot to which to connect mobile devices.
To learn more about Powerline connection speed and the technologies used, we recommend reading our in-depth analysis How the Powerline works, secrets and limits.
How to connect Powerline
Connecting two Powerline adapters (the most widespread configuration) is really very simple: basically they are already associated, so we will not have to do anything but connect the main adapter to the modem home via Ethernet cable (using one of the LAN ports available on the back of it) and plug it into an electrical outlet nearby; let’s take then the second Powerline adapter, connect it via Ethernet cable to the PC, Smart TV or any other device we want to connect and insert it into a nearby power outlet.
After a few minutes the control lights will turn green, a clear sign that the connection was successful: now we can surf the Internet even in the room where, until a few seconds before, it was not possible to connect.
If the adapter lights do not turn green, the connection is not available or we need to connect new Powerline devices to enlarge the network, we press the button Pair on the adapter next to the router, so we also press the button at the same time Pair on the adapters to be connected (obviously already inserted in the electrical sockets). In a few minutes, all the devices will be paired, which will start exchanging data as if we were on a single large network.
If the secondary adapter is also equipped with Wi-Fi, simply access the control panel of the same (usually via a program downloadable on a PC or by switching on the free network created at the first startup) to choose the name of the wireless network and the password d ‘access.
NOTE: for convenience, we advise you to buy and connect the only Powerline from the same manufacturer, so as to obtain a quick and fast association.
The best cable Powerline models
If we want to use classic Powerline adapters, below we have collected the best models available (both simple and Passthrough):
- TP-Link TL-PA4010 Powerline Kit, AV600 (€ 31)
- TP-Link TL-PA7010 Powerline Kit, AV1000 (€ 36)
- Netgear PL1000-100PES (€ 37)
- TP-Link TL-PA4010P KIT AV600 Nano with through socket (€ 41)
- AVM FRITZ! Powerline 510E Kit of 2 Adapters (€ 44)
To find other Powerline adapters on offer, just take a look at the dedicated page on Amazon.
The best Wi-Fi Powerline models
If instead, we want to bring Wi-Fi connectivity using the potential of Powerline, we will have to focus on the models listed below:
- TP-Link TL-WPA4220 Powerline WiFi Kit, AV600 (48 €)
- Netgear PLW1000-100PES Powerline Adapters AV1000 Wi-Fi (€ 69)
- AVM FRITZ! Powerline 540E WLAN Set (€ 70)
- TP-Link TL-WPA7510 Powerline WiFi Kit, AV1000 (€ 72)
- TP-Link TL-WPA4220T Kit of 3 Powerline WiFi, AV600 (€ 88)
If the Wi-Fi signal of the home router/modem is still available, we can avoid using the Powerline Wi-Fi adapters and rely on a Wi-Fi repeater, as described in our guide on How the wifi repeater or “Range Extender” works and which one to buy.
Powerline is a good technology to expand our network capabilities, but it needs electrical cables in good condition to be able to effectively replace the simple direct Ethernet cable connection. It is worth trying anyway, considering that Amazon provides very easy returns in case of problems with the signal or always low speeds.
If we have two routers, we can combine them together to increase Internet coverage at home, as described in our guide on how Connect two wireless routers to increase the WiFi range. If instead, we look for other valid suggestions to extend the Wi-Fi coverage, we can continue reading on our in-depth analysis Amplify home Wi-Fi and extend wireless reception.