Question Should I give up on on homeplugs?

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by fitzy73, May 15, 2019 at 2:20 PM.

  1. fitzy73

    fitzy73
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    Current setup:

    VM 200 mb fibre connection, connected to a Tp Link AV600 homeplug (TL PA4020P). A few devices in the house also connected with other TP600s, all working fine.

    Office / shed at the back of the garden also has a few TL PA4020P and one TP-Link TL-WPA4220. The office is electrically connected by an armoured cable to the fuse board, with it's own circuit breaker in the shed / office. Distance is about 60 - 70 feet including runs.

    Issue:
    The homeplugs in the shed / office drop on a really irregular basis. They can rock solid for a few weeks, then go to hell for a few days where I'm just rebooting everything all day. I've updated the firmware on all devices, tried to isolate different devices, removed all devices and re added using the TP software and the drops still persist.

    It's always when 'er indoors is WFH as well!

    Solution?
    Do I either look at a different Homeplug brand, install a wireless repeater router near the back of the house or just bit the bullet and get someone to install a Cat 5E or 6 connection?

    Any advice greatly appreciated!
     
  2. mickevh

    mickevh
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    IMHO, the latter.

    Dedicated "proper" data networking infrastructure is always going to be more robust and reliable than, clever as they are, technology such as HomePlug which is reverse engineering something that was never designed for data transmission - ie the mains - for a different purpose. Low "quality" assets such as mains designed for low frequency power transmission must be replete with all sorts of horrific HF interference, some of which could be highly transient, that doesn't "matter" to a panel heater, fridge, washing machine, etc. but could be a nightmare for HF data signals.

    Wi-Fi is an option, but of course Wi-Fi is also a little fickle because you do not "own" the transmission medium, ie the radio airwaves, and everyone has to "play nice" together.

    If you put in your own UTP and/or fibre optic cables, they are yours and no-one else's and they were designed for data networking from the get go. (Actually that's a slight lie - originally they were designed for telephone, but that's another story.)

    A more robust Wi-Fi solution might be a point-to-point bridge using highly directional antenna such as Yagi's or parabolic which as well as extending the range help reject co-channel interference.

    It might be interesting to assess the relative costs of all three solutions - new plugs, Wi-Fi bridge, dig up garden install duct and some UTP and see how they compare. If it's (say) "only" 100 quid more to dig up the garden etc. than a new set of plugs, you might judge that it's "worth it" - especially when the end product will be faster and more reliable. It's something of a value judgement.

    Incidentally, the "protocol efficiency" (amount of "user" data transferred versus "management" overhead) of ethernet is higher than the others. It's about 97% for ethernet, typically 65-75% (ish) for Wi-Fi (there's a lot of variance, it gets worse as the signalling conditions deteriorate) and around 45-55% typical is oft cited for HomePlug, though these are old figures and I haven't checked the detail recently.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 3:33 PM
  3. fitzy73

    fitzy73
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    Thanks for the detailed response - very considered. And ultimately I think you are right - it's a value based decision.

    When the TP plugs work they are brilliant - fast, rock solid and no issues. It's like they just randomly go to sleep at times, even though all power saving options are turned off.

    Before I give up on Homeplugs, I'm considering looking at a brand other than TP and using AV2 across the board. The issue I suppose is that I can't just "try it" without shelling out a bit.

    Much to consider.
     
  4. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    I've found the Netgear ones to be very good. I have a very similar setup to you - a 70' or so armoured cable run from the house to the man cave and a router for wired and wireless in there.

    I am currently using Netgear, as the TP-Link ones I had were a bit flaky and eventually stopped working altogether. I am currently getting about 30Mb out here from the 70Mb line, so that's acceptable for browsing and running the trainset!
     
  5. mushii

    mushii
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