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Advantages and disadvantages of Powerline: an alternative to LAN & WLAN?

Powerline as an alternative to LAN and WLAN
Image: If you want to have a good Internet connection at home in your house or spacious apartment, you can surf the Internet via LAN cable or WLAN. But the cable is not always long enough or the range of the WLAN network is optimal. While some users use a WiFi repeater, for example, there is another option. In some cases, Powerline Internet from the socket can also provide a remedy. But this technology also has its advantages and disadvantages, which we have highlighted for you in the following.

Powerline as an alternative to LAN and WLAN
Image: To use Powerline, the user needs a Powerline adapter kit, which is used to transfer data via the power grid. The adapters serve, for example, as an interface between the computer and the network. Building is not difficult. So you have to place one adapter in a socket near the router (for example in the basement) and the other powerline adapter on the first or second floor of a house, as required. It is best if the adapters also have an integrated socket so that an important power supply is not used.

Compared to WLAN, the powerline signal goes through thicker walls thanks to power lines and offers better signal strength and a theoretical higher speed. Additional construction measures - as would be the case with LAN - are not necessary. It is also practical that a new powerline adapter can be integrated into the existing powerline network at the push of a button. This means that the powerline system can be expanded as required.

These are the disadvantages of powerline

Powerline adapters can possibly be negatively influenced by devices that transmit on the same frequencies, for example wireless mice. This applies in particular to powerline adapters with an older powerline standard that are not able to filter out frequencies that are otherwise used. Therefore, before buying a powerline adapter, the interested party should always make sure that a current standard is supported. Because the range, data rate and security are also influenced by it.

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HomePlug AV (up to 500 Mbit / s) and HomePlus AV2 (up to 1 Gbit / s) are currently the latest Powerline standards. However, the specified data rates are gross values ‚Äč‚Äčthat are available to the user. Another disadvantage of Powerline particularly concerns older power lines, which can massively limit data performance.

Conclusion: There is never a single optimal solution

Powerline like WLAN or LAN is not the optimal solution for a good internet connection. All techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. In many cases a combination of the above techniques is the best solution. Depending on the situation, a wide variety of factors can lead to interference or weaken the respective signal. If you want to find out more about the HomePlug solution, we recommend our background article on the standards of in-house powerlines.

You can read more about Powerline for in-house cabling on our advice page.

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