Powerline Adapters: What are they and do you need one?

WiFi connection can be considered a modern necessity – so extending your range can be of the utmost importance. Let Canstar Blue break down how powerline adapters can help.

Slow internet can rival some of the most frustrating instances on the planet, and with our increased reliance on instant and reliable connection, the stakes are even higher. Ethernet powerline adapters aim to aid this issue, being a cost-effective remedy to the slow internet endemic. Canstar Blue has all your information on powerline adapters, as well as weighing up whether they’re even worth it.

What is a powerline adapter kit?

Simply put, ethernet powerline adapters help in strengthening your WiFi connection in areas of your house or office where it may be weaker. In some cases, the WiFi hotspot given off by the powerline adapter may be stronger than the original WiFi networks. Powerline adapters use existing data wiring to create a network connection.

What’s the difference between powerline adapters and WiFi extenders?

There is a one major delineation between powerline adapters and WiFi extenders – and that is speed. If you already have a relatively slow WiFi connection, a WiFi extender will just push that weak signal further through your house. Powerline adaptors, however, use your existing ethernet wiring to create a new, stronger connection. These adapters aim to maximise the full capability of your broadband network.

Do I need a powerline adapter?

There can be a variety of reasons as to why you may need a powerline adapter, including:

  • You might have generally slow internet
  • You want to increase your internet speed
  • You want to free up the load on your WiFi
  • You want to provide a wired internet connection without using ethernet

Even if you don’t necessarily fit any of these criteria, you may simply just want a boost of internet speed, which can be provided by

How do I set up a powerline adapter?

One of the main drawcards of powerline adapters is that they are incredibly easy to install. The steps in the installation process for an ethernet connection are as follows:

  1. Plug one adaptor into the power point near your modem/router, and connect the adapter and modem via an Ethernet cable.
  2. Plug the second adaptor into a power point near the device you plan to connect to the internet, then connect that device to the adaptor again with an Ethernet cable.
  3. Turn the powerline adapters on, and experience the joys of stronger internet.

The process is the same for the wireless powerline systems, just with a pairing button that needs to be held down for the wireless internet to connect.

Do powerline adapters need to be on the same circuit?

In order to synchronise with your ethernet wiring, the powerline adapter will need to be on the same electrical circuit. Some houses have multiple electrical circuits, however it’s important that the powerline adapter is fitted on the same one as the broadband.

Do powerline adapters work with extension leads?

It’s fine to use an extension cord with a powerline adapter, as any drops in speed will be virtually unnoticeable. However, it’s important not to use a surge protected power board, or any other surge protected outlets. The powerline adapter will not receive the required power, due to the restricted flow of the surge protection.

Do powerline adaptors work with NBN?

Powerline adaptors do work with NBN connections, provided that they are both on the same electrical circuit. However, powerline adapters have been found to be most consistent with ADSL modems, so if you are still connected to an ADSL network you may have better luck.

Are powerline adapters worth it?

There are plenty of ways to extend or strengthen your WiFi, by using a mesh network, WiFi extender, or even just upgrading your current internet plan. But ultimately, powerline adapters fill a niche that isn’t accessed by any other solutions. The products are relatively affordable, easy to install, and can even be quicker than your current WiFi speeds. If you’re looking to give an extra kick to a certain area in your home or office space, a powerline adapter is a sure-fire way to do so.

Compare NBN plans

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Photo Credits: Ackab Photography

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