What are pros/cons of Ethernet over Power (EOP)?

BudVitoff

Honorable Member
We're running under Win10. A pair of Netgear Powerline 1000 devices (to connect a computer to a router using household current) became available when a grandson switched to a direct ethernet cable.

Questions: Daughter has been connecting wireless to the router from the kitchen PC since day 1. Should she switch to the Powerline gadgets? Is it likely to increase performance in any way? What are the Pros and Cons of using this technique?
 

Neemobeer

Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Well both wireless and powerline can suffer from the same issues (interference and signal degradation). Powerline adapters may suffer more if your home has older wiring. The speeds between wireless and powerline are comparable and maybe a little faster wireless if you have a newer router such as 802.11ac, plus we have 802.11ad and ax coming out which will handle 7-10Gbps. Wireless is cheaper since you don't have to buy extra hardware. Powerline adapters can consume outlets if they don't provide additional outlets on them. Powerline adapters are good in for devices that do not have wireless capability.

Bottom line if your daughter's wireless works I wouldn't bother getting a powerline adapter.
 

BudVitoff

Honorable Member
Ah, Neemobeer. I can always count on you for an entertaining reply, assuming that I find being totally confused entertaining. Please allow me to edit what you've given me here and see what's left.

"both wireless and powerline can suffer". Since I'm asking for pros and cons, this is a null response, so I have to reject it, but thanks anyway.

"older wiring". Ours dates back to 1945 or so. Score one for wireless.

"Speeds ... comparable". I'm getting a semantics attack here. Of course they're comparable -- I'm comparing them! I assume you're saying that they're equal, for all practical purposes? This blew my mind, since I've been told by my phone company (ISP) that wireless will give me maybe 50% of wired performance. I checked the manual on this router, and I got even more confused from the following entry under technical specs :

Untitled.jpg


I see the 802.11ac, so it looks like another (little faster) score for wireless, in spite of the phone guy. I have no idea what lines 2-4 are trying to tell me, although the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz rang a bell because it's a dual-band router.

"don't have to buy extra hardware". We have them in hand, since the grandson switched to cable. "do not have wireless capability" belongs in the null response category as well.

"can consume outlets". Give me a little credit here. I kinda figured that out for myself when I saw the prongs on the plug. I'm old and forgetful, but I haven't lost it all yet.

So when all is said and done, between the phone guy and you, I'm left with a performance factor for wireless vs. powerline in the range of .50 to 1.xx. Until I hear something more convincing, I'll go with your recommendation, especially since we've been "connecting wireless to the router from the kitchen PC since day 1."

Thanks, and have a great day!
 
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BudVitoff

Honorable Member
I know about "comparable". I checked the dictionary first, but decided to do it anyway just to yank your chain!

Thanks for the link. It tells me a lot of stuff that I didn't know I needed to know.
 

ussnorway

Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
its easyer to hack a wireless and they do tend to be slower than cable but both systems do the job they were designed for so they are "comparable"... I use both at home and find the option of switching a good way to trouble shoot issues.

in your case I'd assume the home dns is not reserving an ip address for your daughters system so thats an easy way to speed up conection issues by a second or two
so if your routor* is 192.168.0.1 and gives out dns addresses from 192.168.0.100 to 192.168.0.200 then you can reserve 192.168.0.10 for your daughter as her permanent address well away from other devices... it wont make any difference to her actual upload | download speeds but just avoids delays connecting to the local system if another has been given the old ip address she had last time.

* Yanks call it a router since we are playing word games :)

p.s, your wireless address should normally be different to her cable address so in the above example I would have .10 as her wireless and perhaps .12 as her cable ip address
 

Mike

Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
In many real world scenarios I have found Power over Ethernet to be extremely lackluster. Even with mid-range office installations there were still problems with VoIP and intermittent packet loss in relatively smaller homes. The main problem with people who have poor WiFi service in their homes seems to be due to:

1) poor placement of the WiFi router in the home (usually connected in the garage, or on top of a gigantic metal file cabinet for some outlandish reason)

2) physical barriers such as concrete and metal that cause RF signal noise and other hiccups

3) over-saturation of the WiFi channels without adequate WiFi channel switching in a densely populated area.

Some of these issues can be resolved by having the ISP move the modem to an area where the WiFi router be ideally suited to encompass your entire home. However, if like many people, you ran PoE because your WiFi signal just didn't seem strong enough, I believe I have some bad news. Like many technologies such as "WiFi range extenders", PoE is very much a "quick fix".

There is something about PoE where, depending on how your home is wired electrically, seems to be hit or miss. If it seems to be working for you now, that is good, and I'd leave it be. However, if you're thinking about going fully wireless, you may as well install a self-maintained wireless mesh network in your house. I would not recommend anything else, even if you already installed PoE devices to improve your wifi signal range. Basically, PoE has always been a bit of a "hack" in my opinion. PoE became very popular in office environments to minimize the use of wiring, when wiring itself was already becoming out of date. The same goes for range extenders, which essentially are repeaters that screw up your connection when you jump from one to the other on the same SSID.

Fortunately, what became mainstream in the last year and half is the type of WiFi mesh network required for full coverage of a large area. In the past, these were 1) not affordable and 2) not generally available to non-corporate non-enterprise customers.

While advances have been made in PoE for throughput, far more advances have been made with WiFi mesh. If your home always lacked adequate WiFi signal, I would strongly recommend using Google Wifi or the Eero mesh networking systems. You would have few problems, if any, and its advantageous to you, because you will have near zero signal loss in your home if the placement is done correctly. Furthermore, you could use your existing router in bridge mode for physically wired connections. In ideal circumstances you will always want workstation computer systems and VoIP phones to be run directly through Cat5/Cat6. This is because there is still a slow down when you run over WiFi and the possibility of packet loss. But if you have a lot of wireless devices, including smart TVs, tablets, and cell phones running through your house, I think you will really want to consider a WiFi mesh network.

I look at this issue often, and really, I think this is the best possible situation when it comes to ridding yourself of WiFi problems. Power over Ethernet, to me, has never really cut the mustard, but I'm sure others will disagree.
 

BudVitoff

Honorable Member
Someone once said that if you asked Hugh Downs what time it was, he'd tell you how a watch works. I'm afraid that that's what's happened here. Our situation was simple. Daughter has the "main" computer in the kitchen and has been wireless since day 1. It was only because the (paid for) Powerline became available that I wanted to give it some consideration, assuming that any wired connection would be faster than a wireless connection.

We now have two wireless laptops, a wired desktop, three iPhones, and three iPods for daughter, her husband, and four kids. Geek Squad had me install a NetGear dual-band router, with the suggestion to let the computers use the 2.4 GHz network for the computers, and the 5 GHz network to handle the mobile devices competing for service. I have no control over the family following the Geek Squad recommendations. I do know that they would complain if their current network wasn't satisfactory and switch to the other network. Things seem to be running smoothly now, except for the occasional need to power cycle routers, printers, and computers ... understanding the reason for this still lies ahead of me.

Ussnorway took me below my comfort level of technology. 50 years of programming mainframes was much easier than what's going on today. Also, it didn't help not knowing what "dns" stands for. Mike's talk about WiFi mesh networks sounds interesting, and I intend to learn more about that. In the meantime, I think I'll let the status quo continue as is.

Thanks for all the info.
 
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