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What are HomePlug Adaptors?

HomePlug adaptors, or Powerline adaptors as they are also referred too, have been around since 2001, radically simplify home networking.

HomePlug adaptors are a computer networking technology that enable you to network computing devices using your houses electricity circuit. They are designed to not only to provide you with the ability to expand a home office network but also to easily stream media or share files to multiple wired or wireless devices.

In a nutshell, Homeplug is the family name for various powerline communication specification that support networking over existing home electrical wiring. There are several specifications for Homeplug, and there are some distinct differences between the Homeplug 1.0, HomePlug AV and HomePlug AV2 standards

What are the benefits of HomePlug adaptors?

The key benefit of HomePlug networking is that it is a truly plug and play networking technology. Enabling you to quickly and easily extend your home or office computer network.  It is usually used in areas of a house or office network, that is experiencing wireless network coverage or is too inconvenient to reach with conventional computer network cabling.

With that being said, there is by no means any reason why HomePlugs can't be used as your primary computer networking adaptors in your home. Homeplugs integrate seamlessly with all other computer networking technology too, so mixing and matching is also entirely possible.

What are the limitations of HomePlug adaptors?

In general most manufacturers recommend only installing up 8 HomePlug adaptors in any one property or ring main, in order to avoid network bandwidth problems.  The theoretical maximum range of a HomePlug network is 300m,  so therefore larger properties you would need to ensure that your plugs are not spaced out to far from each other.

In order for homeplug to work effectively, it is necessary that the property only has one consumer unit/ fusebox. The consumer unit /fusebox acts as a natural firewall,  ensuring that your network signal does not go further than your property.

Homeplug adaptors also need to be plugged directly into a power socket,  should not really be plugged in to extension cords, line splitters or power strips etc. as these can contain surge protection that interfere with the homeplug frequency, resulting in the adaptors unable to communicate with each other.

What are the HomePlug adaptor security concerns?

Most of the reputable brands of homeplug adaptors conform to the latest encryption capabilities and standards.   The HomePlug specification requires that all devices are set to a default out-of-box password — although a common one. Users should change this password

Can my neighbour steal my internet connection if he has a HomePlug?

No, the electricity meter acts as block on the signals that are transmitted across the network, so there is no chance of them leaking out on to the public wiring and your neighbours picking them up.

Don’t forget to check the security options on any wireless devices in the house. If an outsider can access the wireless network, they also gain access to the homeplug-connected computers, and the homeplug security is useless.

 What do I need to set up a homeplug network?

All you need is a router and a minimum of 2 homeplug adaptors - often called a starter kit - and a spare electrical socket.  From the point on, it really is a case of plug & play.  Initially plug in your first adaptor after connecting it to your Router via an  ethernet cable,  then plug in your second adaptor to any socket in the house where you would like to receive network access,  after connecting your device by ethernet connection it should connect to your network.

Which brand of HomePlug would you recommend to use?

I personally use TP-Link TL-PA8010PKIT 1200 Mbps Gigabit Passthrough Powerline , and have used them for the past 2 years without any issues. A very simple plug and play experience. No set up, no hassle everything just worked.

Gary Woodfine
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