Powerline with WIFI

RangerZ

Regular Contributor
I have 2 sets of TP-Link Powerline adapters, the PA7017 and PA9020s. On the the same circuit I get 150Mbps with the 7017 and 250Mbps with the 9020. On opposite sides of the panel I get about 50 and 70 respectively. I replaced the 7017 with the 9020 for the AC port. The 7017 are OK with most conventional plugs, but not the 90 degree ones.

Satisfied with these, I now have a situation that I think a set of Powerline with Wifi could solve. I am looking for anyone willing to share recent experiences with these.

I will be happy with getting ~50 Mbps Wireless in the same room (ie 15-20 feet). Mostly a work Laptop running Wireless over VPN with MS Teams phones
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Could you please clarify what you are looking for? Product recommendation? Configuration advice?
 

RangerZ

Regular Contributor
I'm mostly looking for reviews on specific products in this class as to how well they perform. Config is not an issue.

We have an older Verizon 2.4 G N router (Actiontec MI424WR Rev 1). It's located about 40 feet from the home office on 75/75 service (grandfathered). Currently connecting in the teens for wireless which is problematic with video confernecing. We want to add what is in effect a wireless AP. Read a bit on DSL reports and this seems like a simple solution given the challenges of the Verizon environment.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Why not upgrade your router? You will see a significant difference with WiFi 5 or 6 gear.
 

RangerZ

Regular Contributor
Using a consumer router with a WAN port is apparently not simply supported in a Verizon eco-system. It's doable with a lot of work and often extra parts, and I would end up with a router in a sub-optimal location (basement). Wiring Ethernet is a no-go. MoCA is an option, but even then none of the existing COAX locations are in a good location for a Wireless AP. I would need at least 2 APs and MoCA adapters. Do not want to buy Verizon HW, but it's an option.

This solution allows me to place an AP dead center of the building on either then main (or second floor which ever works best) roughly 20 feet from almost everywhere in the condo. It allows for quick and easy re-configuring (plug and play) if the need arises. Also easy to expand.

The need is for a single work laptop, a tablet and a phone for a single user. I do not expect this to change, and if it does it would be to add a streamer.

The setup is for a friend, easy to implement and support if it works. I actually plan to take my 7017s and a spare ASUS RT-1900P over next visit to do a site survey. The problem is I can not connect these both into the single AC outlet with out additional wires and I know she will not like the ASUS in the main hall.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I'm mostly looking for reviews on specific products in this class
Sorry, still not clear. Which products? There aren't really any powerline adapters with built-in Wi-Fi. D-Link and NETGEAR had products in that space a long time ago.

Just use a pair of powerline adapters to extend the LAN connection from your Actiontec, then use any router in AP mode (if it supports it) or just convert any router.
 

RangerZ

Regular Contributor
I was trying not to specify a product as I was concerned that might limit responses. Looks like the market is making a comeback. Most are AV2 1000.

TP-Link has 4 items in their current menu:
TL-WPA8630 Kit - QCA9653\QCA9886
TL-WPA8631P Kit - MT7603EN\MT7613 BEN
TL-WPA7510 Kit - MT7620A\MT7610E
TL-WPA7517 Kit - New, unk

Devolo has the Magic 2 WIFI on AV2000 (G.hn)

Comtrend has the PG9171n and PG9172AC which is not a wall wart, but looks more like a typical router\ap with antennas. (G.hn)

Netgear has the PowerLINE 1000 + WIFI

D-Link DHP-W611AV

I expect there are more. Time for a new "shoot-out"?

I do not want to build a wireless repeater on the Verizon base. I am planning on at least testing my 7017s and an AP as noted.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Thanks for the details. I'm actually shocked there are that many products available. Powerline has never really taken hold in the U.S.

Is the Actiontec's WAN port coax or Ethernet? If Ethernet, you could use powerline for the WAN connection and place your new router wherever you want it.
 

SansB

New Around Here
@RangerZ To add to your list (and provide some personal experience), Comtrend has a newer g.hn Wave 2 powerline+wifi option. There's also another option that would complement using a separate wifi router.

PG-9182AC - Standard style powerline adapter with a built-in AC access point.
PG-9182DC - A replacement wall-wart adapter for a router, but includes the g.hn endpoint built-in to it (so you'd use this to power a separate router, but also plug this adapter into one of the router's switch ports for the g.hn connectivity).

I've been using the PG-9182AC for about two years. I have two of them; one is in a far bedroom to amplify wifi over that half of the house, the other is in a detached garage about 50 feet away from the main house that provides wifi signal to my whole back yard. The adapters are pretty straightforward to use. The g.hn configuration and the wifi configuration are handled on different IP's so each device has two separate logins. The g.hn config has very little to tweak, and I can't find any good documentation on what any of the more advanced options do so I just leave them be. The wifi config lets you modify the settings for the 2.4 and 5.0 Ghz bands, adjust power levels, WPS, scheduling, and you can add additional SSIDs if you want for e.g. guest networks. You can also see associated clients and what rate they connected at. From a wifi-config view, it's super basic and doesn't really offer many advanced config options (even a cheap wifi router would offer more options, if you're inclined to tweak the config).

The wifi portion is about as reliable as a cheap router with default firmware; by that I mean I have to reboot the devices once every 1.5-2 weeks because they start bugging out from long operation. You can reset them from either the g.hn or wifi web interface so its not a big issue. Note, this only limited to the wifi portion; the g.hn powerline connection between the adapters is rock solid, and never needs to be reset. My only real gripe with the product them is they lack any sort of AP steering/handoff support (802.11k/r/v); I have a Zyxel AP as the main wifi AP in the house, and the hand-off between them can be annoying. I've tweaked the power levels of both the Comtrend and Zyxel so there isn't a lot of overlap of coverage in the house, but my wife's iPhone takes a long time to switch between them; this has been the only persistent problem.

In regards to g.hn vs HomePlug AV2, in my home the g.hn is the more reliable of the two. I previously had all HomePlug AV2000 class adapters (none with wifi, just the plain wall adapters connected to some other device). In order to use the Comtrend I had to upgrade all of my adapters to work on g.hn. Performance-wise both protocols were comparable in each location I had them; however the g.hn seems to handle line noise much better, and the speeds between different adapters are more consistent over longer operation (at least they were when I was benchmarking them after making the switch 2 years ago.

I previously had two cameras connected with their PG-9182POE device which integrates a POE+ switch with the g.hn, and those also worked very well. I've since added network drops with a POE switch to replace those, but they're handy to have as spares.

I don't have any experience with the PG-9182DC, but I always thought that was a clever idea vs using a traditional plug-in style powerline. The config for it is likely just the basic g.hn config on the all the other adapters.

I've been personally intrigued with the devolo Magic 2 Wifi you linked, because they advertise AP steering support. But I've also been undergoing an effort to actually run cable, so my powerline network has been slowly dwindling as I add drops in places where I'm using them. The end-game for me is for the only powerline to be in my detached garage.
 

RangerZ

Regular Contributor
@SansB Thanks for your extensive notes. Can you supply any performance numbers between nodes on same and different circuits, WiFi speed, etc? I read a disappointing review that had the g.hn slower than the AV products
The g.hn configuration and the wifi configuration are handled on different IP's so each device has two separate logins.
Did not see that coming. My TP-Links have a config utility, but it just finds them.

PG-9182DC - A replacement wall-wart adapter for a router, but includes the g.hn endpoint built-in
Actually very cool, but what's the output (rhetorical). I have 12 and 19V routers.

In order to use the Comtrend I had to upgrade all of my adapters to work on g.hn.
Not sure I follow, yes they are a different technology, so no I would not expect them to talk to AV2?

Band Steering. I don't like the concept, I have a client with an HP wireless printer than will not reliably connect under with band steering on, but works OK on dual band. I have also read it's problematic with IOT suff on 2.4.
my wife's iPhone takes a long time to switch between them
I have been testing with the ASUS AI-Mesh the past year and handoff is not great. I have no expectation of seemless roaming in consumer based product. Even business class product, from what I understand, works best with devices that are optimized for that network. Clients, especially phones and tablets, are sticky. Most will not let go until they croak, they do not have config like a PC adapter. I do not think lowering the signal will motivate them to roam better and may just lead to an area of weak signal. Yes, the signals should overlap, maybe -55db at mid point? It's a noticeable problem for VOIP on phones , etc. during a call, but I think most othe apps can buffer their way through I don't really need this capability.
The wifi portion is about as reliable as a cheap router with default firmware; by that I mean I have to reboot the devices once every 1.5-2 weeks because they start bugging out from long operation.
This is more of a concern. I can not remember the last time I had to reboot a router cause the wireless was buggy.

Thank you for sharing
 

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