Powerline adapter also known as Home Plug function on a simple idea – instead of running LAN cables through your house, you use the existing electrical wires as an improvised network.

This is extremely useful if you need LAN connection on different floors at affordable costs compared to laying down ethernet cables across your house. With this, you will be able to provide Internet connection in your faraway room.

What is Powerline Adapter?

As mentioned earlier, Powerline Adapter, works by forming an improvised network by using your electrical wiring. You will need to connect one powerline to your router, and placing the other powerline at your desired location.

This is extremely useful if you need to have 4K streaming on a TV that is placed on 2nd floor and your WiFi couldn’t support, or you want to have LAN connection in a specific room.

One big advantage is that it costs way cheaper compared to laying down LAN cables across your house, however, do keep in mind that this is by no means a guarantee that you will get speed as fast as LAN cable.

How To Pick Powerline Adapter?

Picking the right Powerline Adapter requires you to understand if your house is a Single Phase or Three Phase Wiring.

The easiest way to identify this is to look at your DB Box.

Single Phase Wiring only has to 1 row of fuse whereby Three Phase Wiring has 2 to 3 rows of fuse.

Differences in Single and Three Phase DB Box
Differences in Single and Three Phase DB Box

Single phase wiring is extremely common in older terrace houses, however for newer development, most houses (excluding some Apartments & Condominiums) now come with Three Phase Wiring. The reason is to have a better load balancing between electricity so you can avoid power trips.

Powerline will work in Single Phase Houses, however, it becomes tricky for Three Phase Wiring as it is subjected to multiple factors such as:

  • Number of DB Box (1 or 2)
  • How the DB Box is pulled

What’s Wrong With 3-Phase Wiring?

Powerline transmit data by using your existing internal electrical wiring. You will need to plug in 2 Powerline in different Power Socket for it to work.

If you are running on a Single Phase Wiring, then chances are it will work flawlessly as you are operating on the same wiring phase. Think of it as driving on the same highway, it is always interconnected.

With 3-Phase Wiring, things are slightly complex.

3-Phase Wiring (Single DB Box)

If you are on 3-Phase Wiring (Single DB Box), chances are it will work with AV2 model.

3-Phase Wiring (2 DB Box)

However, if you are on 3-Phase Wiring with Two DB Box, the odds are againsts your favor. Imagine you now have 3 different highways running that is split between two regions (DB Boxes) which makes it difficult to work optimally.

A simple analogy is your Power Socket should be located in “Selangor” (same phase) to work, so regardless where you plug it in, it will work.

With 3-Phase Wiring (2 DB Boxes), it’s like having multiple Power Socket located in Penang, Selangor, Johor and etc, so you gotta plug it in one by one to see if it works. This is why some people reported Internet speed halved while using Powerline.

One solution for this is to opt for Powerline AV2 Models as it uses all 3 Live, Neutral & Earth wiring to work. Another recommended solution is to opt for mesh WiFi as it is getting much more affordable.

Features of Powerline Adapter

1. Gigabit or FAST ETHERNET

Most Powerline now offers Gigabit Ports instead of Fast Ethernet, the difference between these two is speed of transmission. Gigabit supports 1Gbps whereby Fast Ethernet supports 100Mbps.

These are normally stated on the product itself, so make sure to get the right one before you buy.

2. AC Passthrough

Make sure to plug your powerline directly into wall plug instead of extension to avoid performance loss.

This AC passthrough feature was specifically designed to provide an extra built-in power socket for your perusal.

So instead of worrying about the lack of power socket, you can now plug your powerline adapter directly into wall plug while enjoy an extra built-in power socket to use.

3. Hybrid with Wifi Extender

Certain Powerline Models like DHP-W611AV provides a hybrid Powerline WiFi Extender combo so you get to enjoy the best of both worlds, better WiFi coverage based on LAN connection.

Mesh WiFi is an alternative to this setting.

4. MU-MIMO

Traditional AV Powerline only rely on Live wiring to transmit data, this is known as SISO (Single In Single Out), in the latest AV2 Powerline, they are now using all 3 wiring – Live, Earth & Neutral.

In any case if one of the wiring is facing interference, this will allow AV2 Powerline to leverage on other wires to provide optimal experience.

Differences Between Powerline & WiFi Extender

The biggest difference is WiFi extender increases WiFi coverage by using WiFi, but Powerline built a network based on existing electrical wiring.

Powerline is more suited for people who require faster connection on specific location i.e. streaming 4K TV show on 2nd floor, playing 4K games on 3rd floor etc. Whereby WiFi extender is really – extending WiFi coverage – at the most affordable cost.

Unless you have wired all the ethernet cables while you are doing renovation, otherwise, powerline adapter is a much cheaper alternative to extend your network and provide ethernet connection.

The Problem with Powerline Adapter

Powerline is highly dependant on your existing electrical wiring condition. If it’s properly done then chances are you will get a decent connection, like most people did. However if it is done using cheap wires by contractor, then the performance may vary.

Another point to note is that it is highly sensitive to electrical interference. Installing a new electrical device may affect your existing Powerline performance.u pay, but most of our customers enjoy the convenience that mesh WiFi brought to them – a mesh network that you can seamlessly walk around without worrying line drops.

How To Setup Powerline?

Powerline is simple to setup. All you need to do is to connect one to your router and place the other one at your desired location.

Once the LED is lit in green, you’re good to go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I just get one Powerline?

Powerline Starter Kits come in packs of two. As you will be extending your Network from Point A to Point B, hence most powerline homeplug come in starter kits of two as you will need to plug into your electrical socket in different points.

Can I replace my router with powerline?

Powerline adapter is not a direct replacement for a router, in fact, they are just an alternative to extend your network to areas where Wi-Fi is unable to cover. Hence it will need to be connected to your router.

Can I expect an Ethernet Cable performance with Powerline?

As much as we would love to say “yes” however the real answer is it depends. 

Powerline operates based on your existing electrical wiring, if we’d account the electrical interference and noise, it is difficult to judge if you will be getting full speed similar like your ethernet connection.