Powerline advice

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by thecounthahaha, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. thecounthahaha macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010

    I've moved house and I've been thinking of getting some powerline adapters to help the internet a bit, but I'm unsure as to what number bandwidth I should get.

    I want the fastest I can get, but my internet is really slow (12 down no fiberoptic). Does that affect my purchasing? I was looking at something like this below, but I've read that 1200 ones might be out soon?


    Ideally I'd like to connect my downstairs Extreme with my top floor express via powerline to have a more stable and faster connection upstairs, then if that works well maybe add a powerline into the office to get ethernet internet there too.

    Does anyone have any experience with these things?

    Thanks very much
  2. mooblie, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015

    mooblie macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2009
    The Highlands, Scotland
    You're a factor of one hundred out. Your Internet bandwidth is 12Mbps, and the newly announced powerline adapters are 1200Mbps.

    So, unless you're moving very large numbers of huge files around between different computers on your network INSIDE your house, you don't need especially fast powerline adapters. In fact, the "basic" powerline adapters at 200mbps are four times faster than most people's WiFi (54Mbps) and will be fine.

    The bottleneck is the 12Mbps speed between your router and the Internet - having any faster network links inside your house is a waste of money.

    Actually, like many devices with a "up to xxx speed" selling point, they will actually run at a much lower speed in all probability - dependant on the quality/age of power wiring in your house. What you want is a reliable connection rather than the last few Megabits of speed. I use Devolo (Google it), they cost a little more than the other brands, but work very reliably.
  3. thecounthahaha thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    Ah, ok. So the bottleneck is my internet download, that's good (I guess). That means as and when my internet speeds up when we get fibre optic, the powerlines don't become instantly obsolete.

    If they run at a lower speed (like most things) then is it not better to get the fastest one at the time of purchasing so that they last longer? Can they be mixed and matched (different brands/different speeds)?

    Devolo was what I was looking at - the 3 port ones with power passthrough look to be quite useful, but they're 'only' at 600Mbps atm. Is it worth waiting for 1200 for futureproofing?

    Thanks very much,
  4. mooblie macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2009
    The Highlands, Scotland
    That's true, but with even fibre, you'll only get maybe 10-50Mbps, possibly 100mbps, so you won't get close to the speeds of the powerline adapters, even the "slow" ones.
    Yes, but the faster ones are probably much more expensive, and may even be more prone to interference, etc., I don't know.
    I believe so, but if you have a problem with mixed manufacturers, each manufacturer/supplier will blame the other. Best to get ONE brand and stick to it. You can mix speeds from one brand (I do!).
    I use 200 and 500 Devolo units - they all work together OK. I think going for 1200 is like going for "ac" WiFi - you'll probably NEVER see any benefit over "n" WiFi... it just costs more!

  5. thecounthahaha thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    Cool. Thanks for the help. Looking at the pictures, the triple starter sets come with 1x1port and 1x3 port - does the 1 port have to be the router's access point, or can that be the 3 port?

    Thanks again,
  6. mooblie macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2009
    The Highlands, Scotland
    You can use ANY of the ports on ANY device for the router.

    ALL ports on all devices plugged into the same house wiring system become connected - like one huge Ethernet hub with ports physically spread around the house.
  7. thecounthahaha thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    Great, I thought it would be but wanted to check first!

    Thanks very much for your help :)
  8. mooblie macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2009
    The Highlands, Scotland
  9. slenpree macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2010
    with gigabit wifi nowadays, powerline Ethernet adapters seem a bit old school! is there a particular issue you have with wifi, that can't be resolved by joining to access points together via WPS to extend the range?
  10. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2014
    What you should do, is to get them at a place with a good return policy. I experienced huge packet loss using power-line adapters, to a level where "500 Mbps" power-line adapters were insufficient to saturate a 6 Mbps Internet connection, or for that matter to give me acceptable network latency figures.

    Essentially: No matter what the label on the box says, power-line adapters are dependent on so many factors outside of their control that they may be completely useless in your house if you're unlucky.
  11. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    What do you actually get in data rate from your power line units ? When I tried them out (before I went CAT6) I used to get no better than 15% of the rated speed. So my 200Mbps Devolo units actually delivered 30Mbps and the 500s delivered 75Mbps.
  12. mooblie macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2009
    The Highlands, Scotland
    I deliberately keep the Devolo powerline adapters OFF the "main" segments of my Gbit LAN, i.e. I only use them to provide branches to:
    - feed a smart TV or
    - actually connect the router to the LAN (as I only get a few Mbps download speed there!).

    My computers, server and backup discs are all wholly on the wired Gbit LAN.

    I suspect I, like you, only get a few 10s of Mbps across the Devolo units.
  13. thecounthahaha thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    Hi all,

    So I've had my 650+ starter kit plugged in and working brilliantly now since I last posted.

    I've just bought a single add on 650+ to add to an upstairs room and it breaks the network!

    Every time I add it to the network it causes my network to fail, and wifi to stop working. Wifi across the whole house stops working despite the AirPort Extreme claiming it is all working properly and the 650+ devices not being wifi based.

    I have used the Devolo Mac app to find and name the devices and it can see them all periodically. It also says that there is a firmware update for this new device which fails to install.

    Removing the device fixes the problem, but does not solve getting better internet in an upper room!

    My network is based around a UK BT internet home hub 3 (maybe 4) with wifi turned off, plugged into a (tall) latest AirPort Extreme which provides the wifi and Ethernet to the house. There is then an Ethernet cable from the top port out to the 650+ triple, which is plugged into the wall with no other devices plugged into the wall, but uses the power throughout of the 650 as advised.

    The second 650 is plugged into an upstairs room and provides Internet for an airport express.

    These have both worked perfectly since I bought them months ago.

    The third device when plugged in and added to the network causes, within minutes, the wifi to stop connecting on all devices, the airport system to disappear from apple's airport utility and for no Ethernet to be recognises on any device in the house.

    Furthermore this device fails to update firmware via te Devolo Mac app.

    There are no error messages on their app, but the unit appears and disappears at random intervals.

    Has anyone come across this? I'm thinking of returning it to Amazon and buying a different one elsewhere as I have had not issues with the other 2.

  14. deany, Sep 6, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015

    deany macrumors 68030


    Sep 16, 2012
    North Wales
    I have tried a wifi extender and then Power Line adapter(s) over about 8 years.

    What mistakes!

    What I found was perfect for my requirements was Apple airport express X 2 with the router wireless OFF.

    This created a 'roaming' network where instead of having two networks (even if I had renamed the power line to same name)
    I had one single network throughout the house.

    I can't recommend this enough. If you want 100% gaurantee of success you need Ethernet cat 6 cable daisy chained from one airport to the other.

    I had to tack the cable to the outside of the house and then though the Windows.

    Amazon.co.uk sell the cable -very inexpensive, I can give you the link.

    I got my airports from John Lewis with a 28 day return gaurantee.

    With an Apple Watch on my 'old network' the iPhone and Apple Watch would loose connection over wifi because the watch was on 'one' network the phone on the 'second'.

    Now I can have my iPhone in one part of the house and Apple Watch in the other with perfect connection making and receiving calls etc.

    No more iPhone holding on to weak signal while near strong signal. The second airport speed is as good as the first so perfect wifi throughout the house.

    The size of your house depends on how many airport express & cat 6 you need.

    We have very thick walls C1870 stone house.

    Please ask if you need any more help.


    Sorry I have re read your post you have the extreme , express and cat 6.

    Is your network 'roaming' ?

    I would recommend 100% Apple (extreme & express or TM) and where possible 100% cat 6 daisy chained.

    Airport utility.

    And a 'roaming' network.

    No Power line type devices etc what so ever.

    This bit-
    Roaming Network (Ethernet-connected Wi-Fi base stations)
  15. thecounthahaha thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    Me again!

    I'm extending my home wifi network with an extra express and have bough a new pack of Devolo Powerlines, this time the 1200+ starter kit.

    To get the most out of it I've put a 1200+ by the router, and the second one in the office. The two that were there (2x 650+) have been moved to the new room, with one of them not plugged in at the moment.

    I've then set up the new express as deany described above, meaning I have 1 extreme with 3 wired expresses creating a new network with the same name and login details.

    Before adding the 2 new devolo and the new express the network has been solid for over a year. Adding the new devolo and the new express has means very very slow wifi, which drops out or doesn't connect. Speeds are 1/10 of the download speeds and uploads fail on speedtest.net. When looking at the airport utility during a drop-out, the extreme and all expresses stay 'green lit' but the 'internet' goes orange. However the UK Openreach modem doesn't appear to drop out.

    I've unplugged the new express just in case I've set up something wrong, but this doesn't seem to affect anything.

    Devolo wise, they all appear on the software devolo cockpit and appear to connect correctly. Firmware updates have been applied to the ones that need it - everything is up to date. Devolo support say that both the 650s and 1200s can be used together:


    Can anyone help!?

    Thanks very much!

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