Networking 2 rooms - HomePlugs failing

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by Pug77, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Pug77

    Pug77
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    Hello

    I'm currently using two Solwise 200Mbps piggyback home plugs (http://www.solwise.co.uk/net-powerline-av-push-piggy.htm) to network two rooms but experiences slow network speeds.

    The whole house has had a complete electrical rewiring recently, foolishly I didn't have any CAT5 layed, so went for the home plug option. The plugs connected at top speed for the first two days, showing speed as green status - 'connection better than 105Mbps', then dropped to Amber - 'between 40 - 105Mbps' and remained stable for about three months. Over the past three weeks the connection speed has dropped further to red '< 40Mbps'.

    No additional electrical equipment has been added anywhere in the house, since the original setup and both plugs are plugged directly into the electrical points, not extensions.

    My setup

    Room 1
    Netgear DG834GT (DG Team v848 latest firmware) runs rock solid, ADSL 8Mbit line
    connected to
    1. Popcornhour media player via CAT5
    2. Solwise 200Mbps HomePlug with CAT5
    3. Nintendo Wii - WiFi
    4. Laptop - WiFi


    Room 2
    Solwise 200Mbps HomePlug connecetd to
    10/100Mbit switch connected to
    1. Office PC 10/100 NIC
    2. Home server 10/100 NIC


    In Room 2, the HomePlug has always shown connection speed at green status. In Room 1 the connection speed is now red. My understanding is the status colour should be the same on both (there are only two plugs in the network). I queried this with Solwise and they suggested that the plug in Room 1 maybe faulty and so I ordered a third. I swapped all three plugs around (with only two plugs plugged in at any one time) and it seems that no matter what plug I put in Rooom 2, the status always becomes red after a few minutes. I suspect it is the plug sockets in Room 1 (having tried 4 sockets in the room)


    I'm looking for alternatives to connect the two rooms without laying CAT5.

    1. Different brand HomePlugs
    2. Wireless - draftN


    Has anyone had any experience with the Solwise HomePlugs and found a better alternative?

    If I go down the wireless router, I need robust hardware - must have a good uptime for ADSL and wireless and be capable of streaming HD, ideally 1080p but 720p is ok for the time being.

    Room 1 needs ADSL modem/router with wireless but not sure what I should get for room 2 - wireless access point or bridge - I don't know much about either or alternatively get USB or PCI wireless cards for the Office PC and Server.

    Having used a wireless USB adaptor on the server and found this to be very flaky, it connected fast and but would drop after a couple of hours of intense transfer and never pick up again.

    The two wireless devices will be placed 3m apart separated by a brick wall.

    Any suggestions for suitable hardware and setup would be greatly appreciated.

    TIA

    Pug
     
  2. beerhunter

    beerhunter
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    Assuming that youi have the Homeplug connected directly to a socket in Room 1 - that is to say NOT via an extension lead. If I was you I would get an electrician in to remake all the Ring Main connections to Room 1, including those at the consumer Unit.

    I would try to get the person who did the rewire to step up to it. My point to him/her would be that if there is/are connection(s) bad enough to degrade Homeplugs it could bad enough to cause arcing which could cause a fire.
     
  3. Pug77

    Pug77
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    Thanks for the response, although it makes me very worried about the new wiring. The flat is ex-council and there are council residents in neighbouring flats. The work was carried out by a qualified electrician, who I have been recommended, not through the council but the work was inspected by the council for the saftey of all residents. I hope neither the electrician nor the council have failed to do their jobs thoroughly but I will contact them both.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  4. Pengbo

    Pengbo
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    2 things you could try.

    Do you have a friend that lives elsewhere? Try taking the plugs to their house and plugging them in there and see what happens.

    If they all stay green then it's not the solwise homeplugs. Based on what you have said about rotating them I don't think this is it.

    2nd thing is to unplug all of your networked equipment and just connect the plugs. Do they sty green. Then one at a time plug the network cables in. You could have something hogging your network. Hard to see what but it's worth a quick try before you get some one in to rip the sockets apart.

    What is puzzling me is that you tried it in 4 sockets in room 1 but it's not affecting room 2. I would have though that any fault on your electrics would be house wide, afterall it's a ring main. Or are the 2 rooms on separate rings?
     
  5. Pug77

    Pug77
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    I have tried the home plugs, with two in the same room (Room 1), adjacent sockets without network cables plugged in and they connect at 'green'. I haven't yet tried plugging network cables in due the PC being too far away and not having network cable long enough.

    With the configuration described in my original post, when the home plugs are plugged in switched on, without network cables in (one in Room 1 and one in Room 2) they connect with status 'green', once the router is plugged into the homeplug in Room 1, after a minute the status goes from green > amber > red. Therefore the router may be the cause of degrading performance? But this has been a gradual effect over the past three months and I'm still using the same router. I'm not sure I understand what you have said about a device hogging the network, if this was the case would it decrease the connection speed between the two plugs. Surely they are designed for high (>100Mbit) throughput?

    I'm not sure of the wiring topography. We had the old fuse box replaced with a modern trip switch style box (?RCD?). Room 1 sockets are on one switch and the bedroom sockets (inc Room 2) are on another. does this mean separate rings?

    Many thanks
     
  6. beerhunter

    beerhunter
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    Yes it does. It also confirms that you may have bad connections on that ring.
     
  7. Pengbo

    Pengbo
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    Agree with beerhunter. Sounds more and more like the ring main on your room 1 circuit has a problem. You need to get someone to look at it.

    Did the electrician who wired it issue any kind of certificate to say it had been tested and found to be fault free?
     
  8. Pug77

    Pug77
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    The electrician did give a A4 book of the tests that were carried out which includes and Electrical Installation Certificate, which says it has been done in accordance with work regulations 1989 and BS7671, 2008 IEE wiring regulations 17th Edn. ELECSA Approved contractor with Reg number.

    The installation summary shows no evidence of faults found. There is alsoi a summary of the test devices used and the date the test equipement was tested e.g RCD tester, Loop tester.

    There is also a list of the circuits with lots of figures - overcurrent device, wiring conductors, continuity, insulation resistance and more.

    Should I just get another electrician in to test or is there a regulatory body who can help ?
     
  9. Pug77

    Pug77
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    Update: The problem was due to the topography of the electrical wiring. The new sockets had been added to the ring as a 'spur' so I'm told and not within the ring. Apparently this is safe, although doesn't help with my problem of reduced network speeds.
     

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