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Slow powerline adapters or poor wiring?

Discussion in 'Networks & Internet Connectivity' started by strumpusplunket, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. strumpusplunket

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 5, 2009

    Posts: 3,185

    Our recent upgrade to 300Mb/s fibre has highlighted a bottleneck in our powerline network.

    Thankfully the line comes into the house in the room my PC and my wife's Mac are situated in so we both get bang on 300Mb/s down and 50Mb/s up. Great.

    But our HTPC in the next door room and both my kids in their rooms upstairs are topping out at around 90Mb/s. We never noticed this on our old 17Mb service of course.

    Now, 90Mb/s is really still plenty fast enough for most things we need the internet for in those rooms, but my kids in particular are a bit miffed their downloads are a lot slower than mine. And I feel a bit put-out that we're not fully utilising what we're now paying for.

    I am using four TP Link AV1000 powerline units to share the connection from the room with our router to the lounge (HTPC) and the boys' bedrooms. I know the speed achievable is always a lot lower than the units' rated speed, but this seems a lot lower than the stated gigabit capacity.

    My hunch is that this speed is so much lower than the adapters' rating that it's most likely to be a limitation in our wiring? Is that a fair guess? We live in a late Victorian terrace, but the wiring was redone about 12 years ago I believe.

    I'm wondering if we might be better off with wireless connections now we have a BT wifi disc in the eldest's room, but last time I got them both wireless dongles to connect with they were terrible (slow, kept dropping out). Any recommendations for dongles or PCI-E wireless cards might also be useful.
     
  2. bremen1874

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 20, 2008

    Posts: 11,105

    A Victorian build will usually have pretty solid and thick internal walls. That’ll severely limit any wireless options.

    Powerline is a lottery. The speeds you’re seeing don’t seem unreasonable. Obviously make sure you aren’t plugging in via extension leads, or anything else the instructions tell you to avoid.

    If you want anyway near the full speeds of your connection installing network cables is probably going to be your only option.
     
  3. mrbell1984

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 9, 2008

    Posts: 24,829

    could you not run external grade cable back into the house via ducting somewhere? I would be doing that There is no way you going to get full speeds over powerlines.
     
  4. strumpusplunket

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 5, 2009

    Posts: 3,185

    Well, I did know I wouldn't get the quoted speeds from the Powerline adapters, but I was hoping it would top out at something more like 200-250Mb/s rather than 90. The Gigabit rating is clearly a joke here. No extension leads or anything between the adapters and the outlets.

    Does the number of adapters on the network lower the speed? I wonder if removing one might speed things up.

    I did think about running some network cabling between the two downstairs rooms, but it would be a right PITA to run it from downstairs to upstairs (terraced house, so no easy way to do this on the external walls and back in).

    I don't suppose it's possible to hybridise wifi and wired connections somewhat like the Samsung phones do with mobile and wirless data to get a faster speed that way?

    Looks like the kids might just have to live with slower download speeds. Their ping is still around 8ms so not too bad for gaming, so it only really affects them when they want to download games.
     
  5. PiKe

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 24,521

    Location: Lake District

    gigabit powerlines only manage over 200mbit if plugged in right next to each other, I think the gigabit rating is derrived from the duplex (i.e.500mbit theoretic max up and down).

    I get 150mbit with adapters plugged in one room apart in a relatively new build.
     
  6. mrbell1984

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 9, 2008

    Posts: 24,829

    A long diamond tip drill straight through one wall and in another. :p One of the easiest ways to route cable.
     
  7. strumpusplunket

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 5, 2009

    Posts: 3,185

    So it looks like my numbers aren't far off, then. Is that with 1000mbps adapters too?

    Easy for you, maybe! :)

    Seriously, though. If it came to that, I'd just leave it. I know it's doable, but that is in the realm of "too much hassle"! I don't even have a particularly decent drill, let alone diamond tipped bits. I am... not a handyman.

    I was wondering if the 2000mbps rated adapters might actually double the speed, or if it's too unlikely to be worth trying?
     
  8. mrbell1984

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 9, 2008

    Posts: 24,829

    You don't really need to be a handyman to drill two holes. The only way to know if the 2000mbps plugs will work at that speed is to try them each house setup gets different speed unfortunately.
     
  9. strumpusplunket

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 5, 2009

    Posts: 3,185

    Well, you didn't see the mess I made drilling a hole for our TV aerial lead!

    Tbh, it's looking like I'm just going to leave this for now. I might revisit it in the future depending on whether or not the kids keep complaining or not. :)
     
  10. RichL

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Nov 2, 2003

    Posts: 1,592

    Install the TP link powerline tool on a pc, it tells you the actual sync speed between plugs. My house has new wiring and I get up to 900Mbps on my TPlink 1300Mbps powerline adapters in adjacent rooms. The longest run only achieves 250.
     
  11. bremen1874

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 20, 2008

    Posts: 11,105

    Just be aware that the figures quoted in Powerline utilities are almost certainly the PHY rates. Divide them by about three to get the actual available throughput.

    Also, Powerline adapters share the available bandwidth. Not an issue if you only have two adapters, but if you have more and they're in use at the same time the individual throughputs will drop.

    Powerline adapters are fine if the accept the limitations and have wiring that suits them. Even simple things like LED fairy lights can affect them.
     
  12. strumpusplunket

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 5, 2009

    Posts: 3,185

    I did try the app when I first got them. The speeds were well over 300mbps (about 380 iirc), and I thought that might be a bit optimistic. Dividing by three does arrive at a bit above the speeds we're getting, but I tested only with two adapters in adjacent rooms.

    I vaguely remember hearing something about more adapters on the network decreasing the speed.

    I'd really like to know what speeds are likely on the AV2000 adapters, but without having to pay to find out. I guess there's no way of telling, though, from what I'm reading.
     
  13. bremen1874

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 20, 2008

    Posts: 11,105

    You'd need to check, but AV1000 adapters will be AV2 but probably not AV2-MIMO.

    You may see a decent improvement changing to AV1200 (or faster) adapters which should be AV2-MIMO. How much of an improvement, if any, you'd see would be guesswork.

    If your only benefit is going to be children being able to download games a bit faster I wouldn't bother. 90Mbps is more than most people can get for the entire household.
     
  14. strumpusplunket

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 5, 2009

    Posts: 3,185

    This is pretty much where I am, tbh. I think if I see a good offer on a better set of powerline plugs in a sale I may get some, but after the discussion here I have ended up thinking just what you say here.

    Cheers for the input.
     
  15. rodders

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 14, 2004

    Posts: 1,585

    My powerlines are sync'd at 235Mbps, but my internet only gets 50Mbps over them. Why is that? I have 76Mbps btw.
     
  16. bremen1874

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 20, 2008

    Posts: 11,105

    Because they're quoting the PHY Rate. By the time you take all the overheads into account, the actual TCP/UDP throughput is a lot lower.

    Using the PHY rate is perfectly valid but can be confusing.

    Google 'what is PHY rate' for more information.
     
  17. rodders

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 14, 2004

    Posts: 1,585

    Will do! Thanks
     
  18. OspreyO

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 12, 2006

    Posts: 3,239

    The HTPC do have Gigabit 10/100/1000 network cards yes?
     
  19. bledd

    Don

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 46,658

    Location: Parts Unknown

    There is no way that you get 900mbps

    Run iperf on two machines
     
  20. Wegason

    Gangster

    Joined: Feb 27, 2011

    Posts: 220

    Location: Essex

    I got a local networking/satellite TV focused company to come round and quote for wiring up my house. Behind my router I have 4 ports in the wall that have cables running from them to each of the kids bedrooms, one to my study and one to where the TV is. Cost me a couple hundred I recall but totally worth it in my opinion. Cables run round the outside the house using weatherproof ethernet cables they supplied.

    One other thing to note is that not using power line adapters halved my ping in the study and more than halved it upstairs. That was worth the £200 to me.