Link to home
Create AccountLog in
Avatar of blos

asked on

Mixing wireless and powerline units

I need to connect a wireless portable computer (PC) to a wireless modem-router (MR) placed in a different flat. They cannot work together because of the distance.
I tried to solve the problem placing an wireless extender halfway between the two units, but neverthless the signal at the PC level is still too weak.
So I bought 2 Powerline units, but again they don't work because, as I think, of the noisy environment (the "Powerline" leds don't glow).
I have been suggested to add two more powerline units and to distribute them    between the PC and the MR. Now each of the 4 Powerline leds glows, but the PC still doesn't apparently exchange data with the MR (it doesn't receive an IP address from the DHCP server managed by the MR). I enclose a sketch of my installation.
Any idea about how to obtain an affordable link between PC and MR?
Avatar of Darr247
Flag of United States of America image

See if this helps.User generated imageClick thumbnail to open full size image.
Avatar of blos


It's not clear to what "opposite poles of split phase" means. I know that power has two poles (phase and neutral). Do you mean that if, say, the "left" contact of the first powerline is connected to the neutrale pole, I should connect the "left" contact of the second powerline to the phase pole? If so, wouldn't be enough to connect the second powerline upside-down?
What voltage[s] do you have?
Typical here in the USA is 120/240 split phase.

In that there are 2 poles of 120V each. When you use both poles you get 240V. The only place they meet is inside the transformer that steps it down from the short or medium range transmission voltage (usually 4,160 or 13,200, respectively) and splits the phase with a grounded neutral center tap. So connecting the 2 poles via the 2 extra units in the middle means you should be able to plug a powerline adapter into any outlet and talk to/through another powerline adapter plugged into any other outlet in the same building.

Less-common is 208/120 3-phase, where between any 2 phases is 208V, and a single phase to grounded neutral is 120V. It would take 4 adapters (or three adapters and a switch) to connect across all 3 phases so any outlet fed by the 3-phase circuit would be connectable by powerline to another powerline adapter plugged into any other outlet fed by that same 3 phase system.
Virtually all of the powerline products require that the units be connected to the same breaker panel and phase.
For typical US household wiring, this means the breakers are on the same side of the panel
Avatar of blos


I think that my problem has nothing to do with braker panel and phase: phase and breaker panel are the same for all 4 powerline units. As I said, in each unit the "powerline led" glows, and this sould mean that they are are exchanging data via power network, and using the same cryptography key.Bbut why DHCP request sent from PC doesn't reach MR? What I don't know is if each powerline units acts as a repeater (this should allow the first powerline to reach the last powerline). If this is not the case, adding powerline units would not affect maximum manageable distance from PC to MR.
With many powerline products, you also need to specify the units role(s) meaning one is the master (connected to the router) which the others connect to.  This is usually done with special software supplied with the units.
Avatar of blos


None of the softwares supplied with my Homeplug units provides a way to specify the units role; they give onnly a chance to change each device's name and to change the encription key (or, as someone calls it, the "private network name").
As far as I know the first homeplug  connected to mains becomes master.
> For typical US household wiring, this means the
breakers are on the same side of the panel

That's only for Bulldog/Pushmatic/ITE panels, which are getting pretty rare anymore (mainly because it's cheaper to replace the entire panel and breakers than just buying the required GFCI breakers, and nobody even makes an AFCI breaker for them).

In SquareD (toggle switch) type panels, every other breaker up and down are on different poles... that's why their 240V breakers are double-wide vertically, where the pushmatic-style's 240V breakers are double-wide horizonally.


What powerline units do you have, blos ?
Yep, what are the make and model of those powerline units?
Avatar of blos


I have 2 D-Link DHP-306AV and 2 TP-Link TL-PA210. All of them use the Homeplug AV protocol and, as far as I've seen are interoperable.
You have to use the Powerline utility to configure the D-Link's:
and the TP-Link utility to configure them.

You may also have a tough time getting them to work together as you'll have to match the security keys.
D-Link has made at least 3 versions of the DHP-306AV... what HW version does their label say they are?

TP-Link makes a TL-PA210 Mini and a TL-PA210 Nano... which model of those are they?
They've made 2 major versions of the TL-PA210 Mini, and numerous minor revisions... if they're Mini models, are they version 1.x or 2.x ?

Have you tried setting up the encryption?
e.g. pressing the Pair (TP-Link) and Simple Connect (D-Link) buttons on all 4 adapters within 2 minutes ?
Avatar of blos


I have used both utilities (d-Link and TP-link) to configure all 4 units, and also pressed the Pair and Simple Connect buttons within 2 minutes.
There are 6 possible couples of units (e.g. first TP-Link and second TO-Link, First TP-Link and first d-Link,..etc.) and I tested each couple; if they are set aside, PC and MR communicate regularly. If their distance grows so that the two units stop communicating, and I insert one more unit in the middle, PC and MR don't communicate anymore; neverthless the "powerline" leds glow on each unit, and this means that Homeplug AV communication is active (at least unit 1 communicates with unit 2 and unit 2 communicates with unit 3), but, I think, unit 1 doesn't communicate with unit 3.

Model of TP-Link units is this "AV200 Mini Powerline adapter" Model TL-PA210(EU) Ver 1.0.

model of D-Link units is this, HW version is D1, F/W version is 6.00
Powerline units, as far as I know, don't act as repeaters which explains your issues.  The one attached to the router acts as the master and all of the other three have to talk to it directly.
When unit two gets too far away from the "master", that's as far as you can go.
Avatar of blos


The Homeplug AV White paper  shows that one of the units becomes CCo (Central Coordinator) and isn't necessarily the one attached to the router. CCo manages a "Discovered Station List (DSL)" which contains the (homeplug) network topology. Each station provides CCo information about its neighbours; and this allows the CCo to construct the full DSL. Moreover, each Station receives the same DSL. This, should explain why, in my situation, all "powerline" leds glow: it should mean that each of them has been registered in the DSL, although beeing too far from the CCo.
Up to this point, each Station knows the network topology, but nothing grants that a message sent from from PC to MR, reachs this one.
The Convergence Layer (see again The Homeplug  AV White paper) should solve this second step, as far as I can understand.
Avatar of Davis McCarn
Davis McCarn
Flag of United States of America image

Link to home
Create an account to see this answer
Signing up is free. No credit card required.
Create Account
Avatar of blos


OK; this would is a good solution (although maybe not very economic); I tried (with 4 Homeplugs and one switch) and worked!
Thanks Davis, and good luck
If you had connected them as shown in http:#a38593331 you wouldn't have needed the switch.