Modern homes have a ton of devices that need to be connected to the internet simultaneously. I am talking about those gaming consoles, media streaming devices, and Smart TVs (while not forgetting about smartphones, tablets and laptops).
These devices aren't concentrated in one single area of your house, which means in order to have a stable internet across all of these devices, your router must be in an optimal place.
But more often than not, you can't cover a large house with a single router and need to expand your network, via a wired connection through Ethernet cables, or wirelessly through WiFi extenders and access points.
We have discussed both of these methods in detail in the above-linked roundups and both of them have their respective pros and cons.
For the sack of this article, you just need to know that wired-based connection is very reliable and secure, but it's too difficult to run Ethernet cables all across your house. On top of that, these wires will cost you a lot of money.
To solve this issue, here are Powerline adapters.
These adapters are wired in nature since they don't expand your network via a wireless connection. But instead of an Ethernet cable, these adapters improvised the existing electrical wiring of your house, and save you from any extra cost.
This way, you can use these adapters in a number of situations.
- You can use them to connect your non-WiFi devices, such as gaming consoles and smart TVs.
- You can use them in areas where running an Ethernet cable is not feasible.
The main thing which differentiates the powerline adapters from other network-expanding methods (such as extenders and access points) is the fact that these adapters come in two or more units, rather than just a single device.
So if you buy a powerline kit, you'll get two adapters: A and B.
In order to use, you'll have to plug Adapter A into a socket near your router, and then connect that adapter with your router through a network cable.
After this, you'll have to plug the Adapter B into an electric socket in another area/room of your house where you have a device that you want to connect. Then, you'll connect that device with Adapter B through a patch cable (like you connected Adapter A and the router).
And that is it. Thanks to their plug-n-play nature, nothing else is required on your part.
So far these adapters seem so good, don't they?
BUT, they do have some limitations and vulnerabilities which should be mentioned.
First of all, these kits aren't as reliable as compared to other range-extending options. Many times, electric wiring of your house goes old, or you may put these adapters too far from each other - both of which are less than ideal environments for these adapters.
Basically, without talking in advance to the electrician in your area, there's no guaranteed way for you to find how well these kits will perform.
Security is another factor. If you have your own house, chances are that there will be a transformer outside your house, which will scramble signals coming from those adapters.
But if you live in an apartment or something like that, your neighbor might steal some internet bandwidth from you if somehow he get a compatible adapter and you forgot to enable encryption offered by that adapter.
You can think of this encryption thing just like the WiFi password for your network.
Lastly, there's conflict between different types of powerline adapters. Different types of powerline adapters don't play well with each other, so choose and implement same model for your whole house.
Best Powerline Adapter 2019 Buying Guide
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