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Alan SilvermanFlag for United States of America

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How good are powerline ethernet and wifi adapters?

I have clients with ongoing wireless Internet connection problems.  I just bought some Netgear  XE102US and WGX102NAR Wall-Plugged Wireless Internet
Range Extenders.  They'll be running on Windows XP.  

This is new technology to me.  With two XE102US connectors you get a straight ethernet connection from the modem.  With one XE102US and one  WGX102NR you get a wireless connection coming from a wall plug.  

In the first case, do you have to worry about surge protection?  In the second case is there a need to encrypt the data?  What are the gotcha's with this technology?  Is any one manufacturer better than another?
Thanks,
Al  
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Darr247
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> In the first case, do you have to worry about surge protection?
Surges, no; nearby lightning strikes or something shorting the other pole to the neutral... well, those instances will hurt a lot of devices, and fortunately they're rare (but check your homeowner's policy for exclusions).
 
> In the second case is there a need to encrypt the data?
I'm pretty-sure all brands of powerline adapters encrypt the payloads between them, so you don't really need to encrypt it between the XE102US and WGX102NR any more than needing to encrypt it to go across a cable between 2 switches or between a NIC and a switch or a switch and a router, et cetera.
 
> What are the gotcha's with this technology?
 
The adapters that are talking to each other likely need to be on the same phase of 208/110 3-phase systems (used in commercial settings more than homes, but gaining popularity with more PV arrays and Wind-gen systems going in) or on the same pole of the 2-pole 120/240 systems commonly used in homes in the USA. So if they don't work try them in different receptacles (receptacles on different walls are - not always, but - often on different circuits, which may be a different phase/pole too). If you share a transformer with a neighbor, it's possible they can plug in one and tap into your network, so don't leave security disabled and don't leave the default keys/device names in place.
 
> Is any one manufacturer better than another?
 
I heard recently that the Linksys PLE200 adapters where not compatible with the Netgear XE102's or DLink DHP's, but that the Netgear and DLink units do talk to each other. I can't confirm that because I haven't tried mixing brands, but it would be nice if there was a 'powerline' standard they had to comply with to use the term 'powerline' in their names (kind of the way the WiFi alliance protects the use of ''WiFi''). So I would say if you stick with the same brand for the whole job, they're about equal... then again, the DHP300 and 301 won't talk to the DHP304 or 305, either.
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Tried this with two clients, each with a XE102 coming off the primary router (trendnet in one case, dlink in another.  I found that with both when there was encryption I couldn't get the powerline adaptesr to work.  They get strong connectivity and even an ip address, but the Internet still didn't work.  Take off encryption and they worked.  
How did you turn off encryption? I don't see any way to turn it off between devices.
It's my understanding that either the password is the same on both/all devices thus their encryption vectors match and they talk to each other, or the passwords don't match and they can't talk to each other.
I don't understand how the XE102's work.  They're like a router, but they don't seem to work like a regular router.  The Trendnet router connected to the cable modem.  That router had encryption.  I went to http://192.168.1.1 in IE, put in the Trendnet userid and password and turned off encryption for the Trendnet Wi-fi. Suddenly the Internet worked through the WGX102NR.  There was always connectivity and I could even get an IP address but I couldnt get an Internet connection using either Firefox or IE.  

This is a bit strange because the XE102 is ethernet connected to the Trendnet router so I dont know how encryption on the WIFI has anything to do with it.  But it didn't work before I went into the Trendnet settings and turned off WEP.  Then it worked. What else can I say?  

As for using a XE102 with the wireless WGX102NR, I can't see how that can be encrypted.  It's a wireless transmitter that sticks in a wall socket.  A XE102 to XE102 connection is all ethernet or electric.  Im not sure youd need encryption there, unless someone could pick up your Internet traffic by plugging in another XE102 someone.  
Al    
Darr247 did you get my last update.
Al
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Darr247
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Closing problem.
Thanks so much for your help.
Al