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Network over powerline

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June 15, 2012 12:03:17 PM

Hi,

I live in 5 story building with concrete walls. Trying allow my neighbor who lives level up my internet access. Wifi is not working since he is located pretty far(no signal). I was wondering if network over powerline my work for us?http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

If that doesn't work what about wireless bridge? Any other options besides running physical cable to his apartment?

Thanks in advance,
ketrab

More about : network powerline

June 15, 2012 12:58:11 PM

It may work assuming the distance isn't to great but I would imagine that the building will be a three phase electrical installation with each flat being fed off a different phase. If you and your mate are on different phases then it will definitely not work.
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June 15, 2012 2:04:22 PM

Yeah, powerline is certainly a possibility, but as jamesmcuk points out, it doesn't always work or perform well due to local wiring issues. It's a hit or miss proposition at best. You just have to try it for your location and see what you get. Also, because you typically can't use surge protection w/ powerline adapters, there's little protection, and they do have a tendency to "burn out" after a while (say 6-18 months), at least that’s a common complaint.

Another possibility is MoCA (ethernet over coax). If you have coax running throughout the building, this can work great. In fact, I've seen ppl report speeds nearing 10BaseT (100mbps), which far exceeds what you could expect from powerline. Only case where MoCA won't work is if you use the same coax line w/ satellite TV. It can only co-exist w/ cable TV. A bit more expensive (a pair of adapters might run $100-200 depending on brand), but if it’s reliable and fast, probably worth it.

As far as wireless, that’s the trickiest since you’re limited by so many environmental conditions you usually don’t control, including other wireless devices using the same freq., obstacles, even the weather. It’s by far the easiest solution when it works, but when it doesn’t, it’s the worst because it’s difficult to control the signals and the environment.

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June 15, 2012 5:02:28 PM

Probably best to thow a length of ethernet out of his window and pull it in yours and plug in direct unless you only have part of the floor and are on different corners etc,
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September 29, 2012 3:25:36 AM

ketrab said:
Hi,

I live in 5 story building with concrete walls. Trying to allow my neighbor who lives level up my internet access. Wifi is not working since he is located pretty far(no signal). I was wondering if network over powerline my work for us?
Thanks in advance, ketrab


I used the Diamond HP200AV between two buildings on the same transformer; each building has an electric meter. Total wire length from one adapter to the other is 300 ft. Signal light is 'red to yellow' (good to poor) on both devices. Ethernet and internet access are useable; I've never noticed any signal interruption, but the remote computer is a 500 MHz computer running Win 98.

[exerpt] Instead of just saying the connection has a range of 200 meters they should give you the loss to add in for each 'device'. We've got 180 ft. of outside wiring from panel to panel but if 2 panels cause 50 ft. loss each and 2 meters costs 50 ft. each, that brings it up to 380 ft. In the house it was on an extension cord... 10 ft. real maybe another 30 ft. of loss, plus 90 ft. of building wiring and we're up to 500 ft. I'm guessing Diamond's 200 meter (about 650 ft.) 'range' is with one solid piece of romex; real world situations may vary.

Your multi-unit building very likely has an electric meter for each unit; so your signal will have to travel from your housing to your meter, to his meter and then to his housing. I ended up placing both adapters at the meter in each building with cat5e cables to the room where the computer and network switch is located. On Amazon the HP200AV is only $40 so you are not out much if it doesn't work; plus you can always use it for a hard to get to computer or device of your own.

Your difficulty is going to be getting both adapters on the same 'phase' of the power companies transformer. We have intercoms between the buildings, which don't work at all unless you get them on the same phase. Plug in both adapters in your own place first then, using a laptop with the wifi turned off, plug it into the adapter you are using to find a good signal with. If it works you have proven that the devices are OK; if the lights are green you probably are on the same phase.

Next move the laptop and adapter to an outlet in another location until you get a poor or no connection. You are now on the 'other phase' of the electric panel or power transformer. One thing, if a 220 volt device like an electric water heater is ON it will effectively connect both phases and you could get a good signal even though the adapters are plugged into different panel/transformer phases. Once you are sure that you have found both phases in your place take the laptop and device to your friends place.

At your friend's plug the adapter/laptop in, wait a bit and look at the signal strength indicator. If it is a solid color you likely have a good connection. Try to open a web page. Don't bother trying to connect to a device on your network; it may take some time for a connection to be established. If you get no signal light have someone move the adapter in your own place to the outlet that you found on the other phase in your own place. Leave the laptop/adapter in your friend's place where you have it. Try it again.

Diamond says that your meter prevents the signal from going to another house; well, it didn't in our case. One of our meters is analog, one is digital. Extension cords, power strips and line conditioners will seriously degrade your signal. A whole house UPS or line conditioner will likely prevent a connection; high quality low pass filters will choke off the signal.

Jesse Ritz
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