Powerline Adapter questions answered by a Regular Guy

If you forgot or just don’t feel like installing ethernet jacks in your basement then a powerline adapter may be just the thing for you. I needed one because my Tivo mini doesn't work with wireless, you must have wired internet access.  Just be sure to get the right kind!

powerline adapter

To install a powerline adapter - plug in one by your router and the other where you need wired internet. You're Done!

When I finished my basement I prewired most of my basement with ethernet jacks I just hadn't thought of putting a TV in my workshop. I figured I'd be contemplating quantum-physics or building a solar powered cat feeder. Instead I ended up wanting to work out on my rowing machine and watch TV. Powerline Adapter to the rescue.

Is it hard to install a Powerline Adapter?

Heck no, are you kidding? A blind monkey could do this. Installation takes 3 steps

Step 1 - Plug one piece into a plug near your router or near a wired Ethernet jack. Plug-in the ethernet wire.
Step 2 - Plug the other piece to an outlet near where you want a wired internet jack. Plug-in the ethernet wire.
Step 3 - Call you wife and kids up to marvel at your technical wizardry.

Do Powerline Adapters really work?

Yes!! They work much better than I expected. The speed was nearly has high as straight wired connection.

  • Streaming Video  - Yes, I used a powerline adapter to stream HD video to my Tivo mini without hiccups or loss of quality. Trust me, I take TV picture quality very seriously - if it was even the slightest bit off I wouldn't stand for it.
  • Online gaming - Yes!  I used my same hookup to hard wire into my XBox One - no lag, works perfect.
  • Expand Wireless Coverage - Yes!  I hooked mine up to a second wireless router - on the top floor and now get perfect wireless coverage throughout the top floor of our home.

You can by the same powerline adapter I bought right here on Amazon. You're welcome to look around but after about 8 hours of research on these suckers this is the product I chose. The price is much better than I thought as well. This particular one has two ports.

powerline amazon buy

What could go wrong with a Powerline Adapter?

In some older built homes where the wiring is methods were perhaps a little unorthodox, you may not be able to go over long distances.

Most people say that they won't work plugged into a surge protector. I've read that they have been known to work on power strips (those that do not have surge protection circuitry).

That's about it. The price is so low now that there really isn't much risk. There crazy easy to install and don't require any configuration. Powerline adapters get two thumbs up from me.

basement finishing jason 300If you've tried them and they haven't worked, or you just have a comment - please feel free to leave a comment below. Got a question about powerline adapters - leave it below and I'll answer quickly!

Cheers - Jason

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Questions and Comments

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  1. Pavel N says

    A couple of points:
    1. They best work if they are all on the same circuit, i.e., you do not feel like snaking a CAT5 cable from one side of the room to another;
    2. The more circuit breakers you have between them, the worse is the connection, i.e., these adapters are relatively finicky when you have power sub-panels and one of those sits on the main panel and another on a sub-panel.
    3. While they are relatively good for streaming and gaming, they are REALLY bad if you are running a NAS (network attached storage) or a file server for your files to share among numerous devices or for backing up your computer files. I, personally, had about 8 to 20 times slower transfer speeds than a normal wired connection using three different brands of powerline adapters. Last time I tried was approximately two years ago.

    Therefore, if one refinishes his basement, one should do himself a favor and pre-wire CAT5e throughout it. A cheap wired switch and one strategically placed outlet per room would save a lot of headaches.

    If hard-wired connection is not an option, I found that using an old wireless router as an access point (most of them have that mode, essentially turning them into wi-fi cards with four ethernet ports) would work better than powerline adapter.

    Hope it helps.

    • says

      Thanks Pavel - Yes, good clarification and I agree. Especially with running CAT5 beforehand where possible. So far my powerline adapter has been fantastic - they are on the same circuit - crystal clear HD streaming with no drop-outs. I'm using a Tivo Roamio with Tivo Mini. - Jason

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