Powerline Ethernet and ring mains
I don't like wireless in my house with kids around. Powerline Ethernet sounds like a very good alternative, but I have a couple of questions I hope Register Hardware readers can answer...
Do the units communicate with each other even when they'reon separate ring mains, ie. a ring main for upstairs and ring main for downstairs?
And how secure are they? Can anyone in the same block of flats or next door plug one in and connect to you?
May I suggest moving to the 3rd world, or perhaps offworld.
You do realise that microwave ovens give off higher levels of the same 2.4Ghz radiation as wireless access points? (also microwave ovens are meant to be serviced every year....know anyone who has theirs serviced?)
Also cellphone give off radiation but every child seems to have one glued to their ear in the name of "child safety"
CRT TVs again can give off radiation due to the coatings
Back on topic, powerline...interesting concept but isnt as simple as the mags and comments on other sites suggest (such as the site which used to be ADSLGuide)
My opin...if you really dont want wireless, run some ethernet cord through the house (not hard) and screw some RJ45 sockets up in appropriate spots terminating at the router/switch/hub. Initial upheaval but once installed, pretty much forget and use.
upsetting the neighbours
There is another drawback to this technology. It uses typically the entire short wave spectrum (2 - 30MHz), and some of the energy pumped into the house mains wiring leaks out to the surrounding area. This is due to problems with the mains wiring - it simply isn't suitable for the job - and manufacturers are just exploiting this medium because its there and costs them nothing.
There are quite a lot of licensed radio users also using that radio spectrum - such as broadcasting, amateur radio, aeronautical comms, CB radio to mention a few. If you happen to have a short wave user within about 500m of you when run one of these powerline networks, its quite likely you will be subject to a complaint to Ofcom about radio interference. And you will be required to stop using the product because licensed radio users have a legal right to unpolluted spectrum.
You may say that your PLT product has passed all the required approvals for EMC and like. Unfortunately, any such approvals claimed on the packaging and in the manuals, has been obtained by a technical loophole in the approvals system, which the manufacturers are currently exploiting.
BT are now discovering to their cost that they cannot run powerline networking with their BT Vision product when there is a SW user in the vicinity - it has to be replaced with either networking cable or Wi-Fi (both of which work perfectly well without causing this problem).
If anyone buys one of these products off the shelf, I would recommend demanding a written assurance from the supplier that should complaints of interference arise, then they will provide a full refund.
These things produce a LOT of interference to Short Wave users and a group (www.ukqrm.org) was set up to tackle the issue.
The devices work by injecting an OFDM signal into the mains wiring (approx. 2-28MHZ) which then gets radiated by the wiring, causing interference.
We have had one set of PLT's tested at an EMC test facility to EN55022 level B conducted emissions and failed miserably as we knew they would. The results are with Trading Standards. Two other manufacturers products are being tested and we expect the same results.
Compliance to EN55022 is mandatory for CE marking.
We have an Executive Seminar by the HPA (Homeplug Alliance) which states:
"Safety, immunity and harmonics are correct but almost all PLC devices pass over the CISPR 22 class A, B limits so failed the test and we could not generate (directly) the DoC (Declaration of Conformity) needed for Europe"
Ofcom / BT have also removed PLT devices from homes that have been causing interference.
There are a number of video's on the site which demonstrate the interference levels that these devices produce.