Ethernet Over Power Adapters? Your Questions Answered!
So…you found a little piece of privacy for your Covid office in the basement, wedged between the furnace and the dryer. On the plus side, you remember you haven’t changed your furnace or dryer filter in six months AND there is a full flight of stairs between you and the fridge. The bad part is your spouse hid the Christmas presents down there and it’s not looking good for you! Also, the Wi-Fi sux.
Many families who have multiple members working or schooling from home, are finding their Wi-Fi coverage to be a limiting factor on where they can physically work in their homes. They may also be butting up against the limits of the wireless bandwidth available from the 3rd party or internet providers router hardware.
Assuming that you have worked with the providers help desk and done the standard troubleshooting, such as:
· Removing the pile of dirty laundry from on top of the router
· Ensuring your router is on a shelf IN FRONT of your Funko Pop collection
· Your router is not next to your 20-year-old 3500W microwave
· The dog is not actively chewing any router antennas if so equipped
and you have confirmed the router is correctly positioned and there are no physical or EM barriers.
Depending on the internet service and provider you have selected, extending the range of your Wi-Fi could be as easy as installing their range extender products. These are Mesh devices that use your existing 2.4 or 5ghz signal to wirelessly connect to your main router and extend the range. The downside is, they usually charge you a monthly fee for these, so they are eager to put them in. They can also be finicky and drop frequently. Mesh extenders also use your main routers existing wireless bandwidth which might already be overtaxed.
An alternative could be to use your homes existing power lines to transmit the ethernet signal to other areas of the house. Back the truck up! Yup, ethernet can be transmitted and received over your homes copper wire and can share the same wire as live electrical current. Devices that facilitate this are broadly identified as ethernet over power adapters. They are usually sold in kits of two. These small devices look like a plug-in air freshener and plug into a standard 110V outlet. The transmitter unit will have an ethernet jack and a cable so you can plug your router directly into the transmitter power adapter. The receiver adapter should be located as closely as possible to where you want to use it.
You can get a little creative on the receiving end and plug the receiving adapter into a simple switch for multiple jacks, or a 3rd party router for more jacks and use as a hardwired Wi-Fi extender. At its simplest, you could just plug an ethernet cable from the receiving adapter directly into your laptop\computer.
I have used these adapters in several homes without issue as long as all of the adapters were plugged into circuits on the same home electrical panel. If you only have one panel it’s a no brainer. I don’t recommend adapters with pass through plugs, so you don’t use up an outlet. I have found that these adapters tend to have shorter lifespans for whatever reason.
So for as little as $80 these adapters can bring data and new potential for office or learning space in the basement, garage or even in the garden shed!
Written by: Brad Chisling (firstname.lastname@example.org)