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Hoov
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Location: NE Michigan

Powerline and Powerline AP

Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:47 am

I had a Powerline and Powerline AP here getting them setup, and I finally got them working, except I ran into a glitch I was hoping someone would know about. I live in a small house, so it was hard to test them out here. So I took the AP out to my barn to see if I could get a connection. It would not connect with the powerline device. So I tried in an outside outlet on the side of the house, again no link. But I brought it inside the house, and it worked like a charm. Do these devices have a maximum distance that they can connect to each other thru the powerlines? There is an external breaker box from the main one that takes power outside the the barn, and also to the outlet. Would that cause an issue? It went thru the main breaker box, so this doesn't seem right. What are the limitations on the electrical circuit side? Does anyone have any information? I am curious as it seems like if I could get it to work, having one of these inside my metal barn would be one way for me to get wifi calling there.
Any guidance would be appreciated.
 
mkx
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Re: Powerline and Powerline AP

Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:33 am

Generally power-line works great when both (all) units are plugged to the same power circuit (i.e. on the same side of single fuse/breaker). In this case it seems that max distance is around 300 metres (but don't expect any kind of decent speed there).
It works fine when units are plugged to different power circuits if fuses are the old-type ones (the non-switch type ones that have a wire which melts if current exceeds the limit).
It works fine if the units are plugged to power circuits of different phases (if hose has 3-phase wiring installed), but needs some length where wires for all phases run in parallel (induction between wires makes power line work in this case) ... In this case requirement for the old-type fuses is in place as well.
Power-line doesn't work well (if at all) if units are plugged to different power circuits and the fuses are the new switch type (they include a tiny coil which blocks much of the power-line signal). It might work if wires between different power-line units and fuses are installed in parallel (the same as in 3-phase wiring) but this really depends on particular wiring details. Also any other coils that might be installed for any reason in the wiring block power-line signal.
BR,
Metod
 
Hoov
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Re: Powerline and Powerline AP

Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:24 am

So in modern homes on a single phase with circuit breakers, then they would work poorly? Especially if arc fault or ground fault breakers are used?
 
mkx
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Re: Powerline and Powerline AP

Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:46 pm

Well, they will probably work, but not anything near the declared speed. Then it probably also depends on particular HomePlug implementation, some vendor might work better than other.
Luckily ground fault breakers and surge arresters are usually mounted on the perimeter of house wiring so they work for us by blocking our network from escaping to neighbours ... it doesn't help, though, if you want to connect two distinct buildings over power wires that are connected over public grid.

HomePlug is essentially WiFi over power lines. And we all know that WiFi in reality really depends on many factors and many times we only get one quarter of what's promissed.

My limited testing with devices declared to run at 500Mbps by another vendor showed:
  • If both devices were plugged directly to outlets on the same power circuit (same fuse), they would sync at speeds exceeding 450 Mbps
  • If devices were plugged to outlets on different power circuits, but on same phase and fuses used were the old (melting) type, sync speed was almost the same
  • If any of devices was plugged to ordinary extension cord (with soft wire), the sync speed would drop to roughly half
  • If devices were plugged to outlets on different phases and fuses used were the old type, sync speed was around half of maximum
  • If devices were plugged to outlets on different power circuits, but on same phase, and fuses used were the new (switch) type, sync speed was genrally less than 100 Mbps. It largely depended on particular layout of wires for used two power circuits, if wires were laid parallel for some length, then speed was better, if not then speed was even less than 100 Mbps.
  • similarly sync speed was quite low when outlets were on different phases and fuses used were of the new type ... could be as low as 20Mbps.

All of the above was tested in two largeish single-family houses.
BR,
Metod

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