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Easily Extend WiFi Networks With Powerline Adapters

Easily Extend WiFi Networks With Powerline Adapters

13 Sep 2018 | 6 min read

Quick Summary

Extend weak WiFi networks with a TP-Link Powerline Adapter. Find out how this simple solution can boost any home or office network.

Powerline Technology for your network needs

Powerline Adapters are a versatile solution for boosting weak WiFi signals and extending wired broadband networks. They're easy to install and even easier to use. These adapters can help connect laptops, computers, 4K HD smart TVs, or games consoles directly to a router, just using your existing electrical mains sockets. No technical knowledge is required and installation is about as simple as it gets. What’s more, with this clever piece of hardware, there's no need to drag Ethernet cables from room to room.

How to Use a Powerline Adapter

The standard HomePlug AV, for example the TP-Link TL-PA4020PKIT V1.20 600 Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit, can easily turn an electrical circuit into a super-fast network connection. All you need to do is plug the adapters into separate power sockets to establish the network infrastructure.

  • Plug the Adapter into the wall socket and connect to your router with an ethernet cable.
  • Plug another Powerline Adapter into a wall socket, wherever you need to extend your network.
  • Pair the two Powerline Adapters, then plug in your device into the adapter and you're ready to go.
Plug and pair powerline adapters

Applications for Powerline Adapters

Powerline Adapters for Uninterrupted Coverage

TP-Link Powerline Adapters are ideal when an uninterrupted network connection is needed. So for interruption sensitive applications such as YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and X-Box Live they can be a great solution.

High-Speed Connections For All Devices

Powerline Adapters can deliver combined speeds of up to 2000 Mbps/2Gbps to smartphones, tablets and computers. Advanced 2X2 MIMO (Multi-input Multi-output) capabilities and beamforming technology also establish multiple simultaneous connections ensuring the highest speeds and network stability can be enjoyed on all web and streaming activity.

High speed connections with TP-Link

How do Powerline Adapters work?

Powerline adapters work by transmitting internet traffic across the existing electrical cabling in your building, rather than over dedicated ethernet cables.

This is basically the same technology as PoE (Power over Ethernet), where devices get their power through the same ethernet cable used to transmit data, but with the roles reversed. Here, electrical cables with the primary function of transmitting power are being used to transmit internet traffic as well.

How Is This Possible?

What is key is that electrical charge already plays a part in the transmission of data across networks and it uses copper cable to do it.

Ethernet cables are made out of twisted or untwisted pairs of copper cable. Electrical cables in your home are also made of copper. Copper is the preferred build material in these instances because it is a good electrical conductor.

But what does electricity have to do with streaming a video or browsing Facebook, you ask? Your devices interpret all data, at the fundamental level, in binary. Binary is a number system composed of only two values: 1 and 0. In the real world, we can map binary values to physical events. In the case of your network devices and powerline adapters, 1s and 0s correspond to the presence or absence of electrical charge at the end of a copper cable.

An Analogy - Binary is Like Morse Code

The medium, then, is less important than the simple presence or absence of electrical charge. Any metal that acts as an electrical conductor and can carry a charge will be able to relay a signal. This works in much the same way as morse code. You see the presence or absence of light and you group those individual bits into ‘packets’ of data in your mind and reference them with your ‘map’ of that language, which links particular patterns (of light and its absence) with letters of the alphabet. With these packets strung together, you begin to identify words, sentences and phrases which convey a message. In much the same way, computers interpret the electrical signals sent to them.

How Multiple Electrical Signals Travel Simultaneously Through A Shared Medium

If you’re wondering how electrical signals can be sent through cables that are already providing electrical power to various devices around your home, it’s because electricity travels through your home’s cabling at different frequencies depending on its application. Much the same as the air provides the shared medium through which the radio waves which provide both 4G data and your favourite FM radio station travel (hint: the waves are broadcast at very different frequencies depending on their application), so too does the copper wiring in your home provide the shared medium through which different frequencies of electrical signals travel. Again, depending on their application.

In much the same manner as your phone can ‘catch’ a signal out of the air from a 4G broadcast, or the radio in your car can receive your favourite stations, so too can powerline adapters themselves ‘catch’ the data signal out of the shared medium that is your house’s copper wiring, using their own programmed logic to do so.

Impact on Throughput/Usage Experience

Though using dedicated hardware (ethernet cables) will always be preferable where possible (they’re actually designed to transmit data), the impact on user experience when using EoP instead of dedicated ethernet cables will not be severe in most cases.

Having said this, it’s safe to assume you will experience some signal degradation, especially if you’re positioning two powerline adapters very far from each other, or if the quality of your house’s wiring is less than stellar.

Even so, newer houses with good quality wiring will provide an environment in which powerline adapters can thrive. Given this condition, you’ll frequently find that powerline adapters deliver a better user experience in terms of performance speeds and reliability than WiFi!

Pros and Cons of Powerline Adapters

Pros:

  • Extend existing networks even in buildings without many available ethernet sockets.
  • Come in both wired and wireless formats, giving you flexibility.
  • Incredibly easy to set up.

Cons:

  • Possible negative impact on throughput/usage experience (see above).
  • Dedicated ethernet cables will always provide better performance.
  • Power surges can damage units.
  • Possible security issues if being used in buildings with shared electrical infrastructure.

Recommended Powerline Adapters

At the push of a button, Powerline Adapters can copy an SSID/wireless network name and router password, so you roam seamlessly through your home or office thanks to the proficient wireless handoff.

Adding new extenders is also very simple. With Auto-Sync, your setting configurations for one extender can be pushed to all other extenders in the network automatically.

The TP-Link TL-WPA4220KIT AV600 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender Starter Kit is a great choice for extending or boosting your WiFi coverage. All of TP-Link's adapters are compatible with one another too, so it's easy to mix and match adapters according to the needs of you or your customers.

With Powerline Passthrough models such as the TL-PA9020PKIT 2-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit you can also ensure that no plug socket is wasted. Passthrough Powerline Adapters operate like traditional power outlets and contain their own integrated plug socket.

Seamless integration with TP-Link

For devices that require a wired connection Powerline Adapters also contain multiple Ethernet ports, so you can connect multiple wired devices at once without any hassle.

For a secure, fast way to extend and strengthen your network throughout the home or office, consider a TP-Link Powerline Adapter.

View our full TP-Link range here.

Easily Extend WiFi Networks With Powerline Adapters