A few days ago I bought two network adaptors manufactured by Netgear, model XETB1001 from the Powerline series. I payed 79,- € at “Promarkt” here in Germany. What are these:

The idea is to establish a network connection between two or more computers via the powerline of your house, instead of using long ethernet cables or wireless LAN. In other words, the adaptor is plugged into a main outlet socket, and a short ethernet cable from your computer is plugged into the adaptor. The distance to other computers in other rooms or on other floors is bridged with the powerline. It is a great idea, no long cables through your house, no electric fields from a WLAN, but does it really work?

My answer: I returned these the next day…

What was the problem? Generally the installation was foolproof, simply plugging in, that’s it. Unfortunately the adaptors (one in the basement, the other in the living room, one floor higher) didn’t find each other, they couldn’t establish a permanent connection. The setup guide said something about not using an extension lead (what do they think how many free outlet sockets people have near a COMPUTER ??!!), so I tried without, a bit better, sometimes working, then with an other socket, and finally I managed to establish a connection.

But after some time the connection was lost again, it reconnected again, but random connection loss was always a problem. The speed was also not what it was supposed to be (85 MBit, of course on the package it said “up to 85 MBit”…), I got a speed between 20 and 40 MBit what is more than my old WLAN (11 MBit) but far below the 100 Mbits you get with an ethernet cable.

And what about the reduced electric emission when not using WLAN anymore? Bummer, after googling a bit I found that a high-frequency signal is added to the normal powerline wave, and as the powerline cables are not shielded, your whole house turn into a huge antenna that emits this high-frequency radiation. Of course this emission is said to be below the threshold that is defined by law, but we all know how silly these values often are. In Switzerland for example a field study on internet via powerline resulted in somewhat epidemic cases of meningitis…

Alright, I will stick to WLAN in the future, at least this is stable and works.

Conclusion: a flop!


14 Responses to “Network adaptors via powerline seem to be unstable and dangerous”
  1. I experienced the same. Unstable connection probably because each computer is connected under differents valves. So differents electric network may interfere with a clean signal.

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  4. ehternet cables are still the ones that i use for my home networking applications ~:*

  5. hello, do you have a source for the switzerland study you mention? thanks….

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