Powerline adapters performance

Posted on 2014-02-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-02-07

I'm still a little new to using powerline adapters (TP-Link, Devolo).
I suggest them to customers that don't want me to lay cable in their premises.

Sometimes I use straight point to point pairing, while in other cases I use wifi capable adapters to increase the wireless coverage.

I have used the software which accompanies these devices e.g. Cockpit, TP-Link Powerline Utility

I have recently begaun to pay attention to the throughput readings.
On the last tow installations I have noticed poor performance : 11Mbps, 25Mpbs, ... eventhough I tend to use AV 500 adapters. Is this normal ?

This morning I plugged two such adapters onto the same powerstrip and guess what ? 11Mbps for these two TP-Link Nano AV500

I was told that below 50Mbps I would run into performance issues

The tech support at TP-Link preferred to focus on my computer and my SMC gigabit switch instead of explaining why the throughput was so low between the  adapters.

Can anyone shed some light on this technology ?
What I initially thought was a simple plug and play solution is turning out to be a bit of a headache

Question by:Yann Shukor
LVL 19

Accepted Solution

regmigrant earned 1500 total points
ID: 39835393
In general I have found Powerline technologies to be good when they work and difficult to troubleshoot when they don't. Over the course of the past few years I've come across wide variances in performance which seem to depend on several factors:-
1. Distance apart - instead of running them on a single strip try them on two separate sockets that you *know* are on the same ring
2. Multiple rings - even in domestic electrics there can be multiple mains rings and throughput always falls off if it has to traverse the main consumer unit
3. 'spiky' mains - just a term I use for areas where the  mains power is not clean. This can be caused locally - where an in house supply is subject to large switching loads such as a factory - but I've also seen problems in areas where the local voltage falls below 200/220 and is followed by a sudden surge
4. Variations in manufacturer - the quality of the chips and the design of the units makes a huge difference which is why (I believe)  I've struggled to get different manufacturers kit talking and in several cases different revisions of kit from the same manufacturer has had problems
5. Firmware - all kit should be same revision of hardware and software
6. Channels - some kit can handle multiple channels and I have had situations where one or two channels will be ok but further channels degrades performance

Having said all that the throughput you are looking at seems to represent a Wireless connectivity rather than that you would expect from an Ethernet-power line- Ethernet setup. there are some performance benchmarks here:-

How are you measuring throughput and how many channels do the TP-link support?

Are the performance issues you were warned about due to a single application or the number of users?
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 39835541
>This morning I plugged two such adapters onto the same powerstrip

Actually using a powerstrip is a bad idea to begin with. Most manufacturers strongly advise against using powerstrips because these can contain filters that dampen the signal.

Plug them into two wall sockets directly and see what happens.

Also avoid any equipment on the same circuit that can interfere with the signal. Unplug everything else and test. Next re-enable equipment one by one until you find the offending appliance.

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