HomePlug powerline networking Archive

Devolo marries the latest HomePlug and Wi-FI standards in an access point

Article

Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac (Continental Europe (Schuko) variant) in action - press image courtesy of Devolo

Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac (Continental Europe (Schuko) variant) in action

devolo détaille son dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac | EreNumérique (France – French language | Langue Française)

From the horse’s mouth

Devolo,

dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac

Product Page (German Language – Deutsche Sprache / English language)

Press Release ( German Language – Deutsche Sprache / English language)

My Comments

Devolo, a German network-hardware manufacturer, has done the most incredible act with their support for HomePlug technologies.

Here, they have released in to the European market a simultaneous dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi access point which can work with HomePlug AV2 MIMO powerline network segments. Here, these use the three AC wires to achieve a media-level power-line network speed of 1.2Gbps for the powerline backbone. This is in addition to using the three wires to create a highly robust HomePlug AV2 segment that could work in difficult environments like commercial premises where there are motors that can create a lot of electrical interference.

Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac access point - Continental (Schuko) variant - press picture courtesy of Devolo

Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac access point

For the wireless segment, you have a single stream for the 5GHz band which goes to 866Mbps and two streams on the common 2.4GHz band which goes to 300Mbps. There are two Gigabit Ethernet sockets which come in handy with a lot of sessile devices like Smart TVs, desktop computers as in those “gaming rigs” and printers.

These access points come with an integrated “pass-through” power outlet which means that you don’t have to forfeit a power outlet so you can use HomePlug AV2.

Lets not forget that the Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac supports WPS clone which is a simplified method to set up a multiple-access-point home network. Here, you press the “setup” button on the access point then the WPS button on the router or access point you are extending for it to learn the ESSID and security parameters of that access point so you quickly have it work as that extension access point.

Devolo have answered a need to allow users to quickly extend Wi-Fi coverage out to outbuildings, charming old caravans serving as extra living space and the like or answer Wi-Fi coverage difficulties yet be able to work with the latest HomePlug and Wi-Fi technologies. Try this device with handling Wi-Fi issues with that mas en Provence or other stone-built European building.

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Solwise to provide a HomePlug AV2 adaptor with integrated power outlet

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Solwise

Product Page PL-1200AV2-PIGGY

My Comments

Solwise have released some earlier HomePlug AV2 adaptors for the UK and Irish market but they have come up with a HomePlug AV2 MIMO “three-wire” adaptor which has an integrated UK-standard power outlet. Of course, this firm have been known about pushing the HomePlug powerline-networking concept along with advanced Wi-Fi wireless networking in the UK market.

The Solwise PL-1200AV2 HomePlug AV2 adaptor implements the “three-wire” MIMO concept that HomePlug AV2 has facilitated where it can use the “Active (Line / Phase) + Neutral” and the  “Active (Line / Phase) + Earth (Ground)” wire pairs as data transfer pairs. This is to allow for robust data transfer and higher throughput, but I would place doubts on this working across the three wires with building-to-building HomePlug AV2 setups where an outbuilding that is wired for AC may be earthed independently. Let’s not forget that each HomePlug AV2 device works as its own repeater in order to increase the robustness in this segment or push out over larger areas. But it can be of benefit if you are considering this “wired no-new-wires” technology in a large apartment block or a commercial or industrial building.

This Solwise HomePlug AV2 adaptor also has an integrated 2-port Gigabit Ethernet switch which can provide an “on-board” to the HomePlug AV2 segment for two wired Ethernet devices. One advantage with this is that it could serve a desktop computer and a network-capable printer or a NAS; or serve a smart TV and a Blu-Ray player or PVR. Personally, I would like to eventually see a variant that has the 3 Gigabit Ethernet sockets as a switch, to cater for home AV setups. The integrated power socket makes sure that you are not forfeiting a power outlet just because you want to have HomePlug AV2 connectivity.

Personally, I would see a lot more coming about with HomePlug AV2 as a robust “wired no-new-wires” network setup with Solwise advancing the cause for the UK market.

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Zyxel announces HomePlug AV2 Gigabit adaptors

Article

ZyXEL Claims World’s First With New Gigabit Powerline Adapter | Tom’s Hardware

From the horse’s mouth

Zyxel

Press Release

My Comments

Zyxel PLA-5206 HomePlug AV2 Gigabit adaptor press image courtesy of Zyxel USA

Zyxel PLA-5206 HomePlug AV2 Gigabit adaptor

The “wired no-new-wires” network segment that is HomePlug AV2 has hit the Gigabit mark now that Zyxel have premiered some new adaptors that achieve that speed.

The more expensive HomePlug AV2 unit, known as the PLA5405, implements MIMO technology which uses the three wires of an AC connection (Active / Line / Phase, Neutral and Earth / Ground) to transfer the data at the high speed with high resiliency. This is while the PLA-5206 which is the cheaper model implements a “single-input single-output” setup with the main pair of wires.

They are pitching this at a new reality where households are viewing online or downloaded video via their home networks with this video being delivered at Full HD (1080p) or better resolution. It also caters for realities where you can’t necessarily afford to pull Ethernet cable through the house but want the advantages of a stable wired backbone, such as to extend Wi-Fi coverage especially with 802.11n and 802.11ac segments operating on the shorter-wavelength 5.4GHz band..

These do offer that repeating functionality to allow for the existence of a robust HomePlug powerline segment and, perhaps, to make it fit for larger houses or multiple-building setups.

What I see of the Zyxel HomePlug AV2 devices is that they show that HomePlug AV2 is a mature technology for that home network, whether as the only wired backbone or to complement Ethernet.

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HomePlug AV500 now available with newer Freebox Révolution

Article (French language / Langue Française)

De nouveaux Freeplugs à 500 Mbps pour la Freebox Révolution | Freenews.fr

My Comments

Freebox Révolution - courtesy Iliad.fr

Freebox Révolution now available wiht HomePlug AV500

The Freebox Révolution is the first wireless modem-router to support software updating to 802.11ac through its latest software update (mise à jour). But both the Freebox Server and Freebox Player came with the “Freeplugs” which are power supplies that integrate a HomePlug AV bridge in their functionality. This is typically to link the Freebox Player in the living room to the Freebox Server in the study or home office.

Both the “Freeplugs” were compliant to the HomePlug AV specification which worked the link at a best-case line speed of 200Mbps. This is although there are many HomePlug AV500 devices that can work the link to 500Mbps and are compliant to the IEEE 1901 specification for powerline local area networks.

Free have raised the game for the Freebox Révolution by delivering newer systems with “Freeplug” power supplies that work to the HomePlug AV500 specification rather than the older HomePlug AV specification. The only problem that I see with this is that customers who own an existing Freebox Révolution can’t easily purchase these adaptors as accessories for their existing setup i.e. they are only available to customers who are upgrading existing equipment or establishing a new installation. Personally, I would recommend that they be sold as aftermarket accessories for existing users.

On the other hand, you could use separate HomePlug AV500 devices to link these boxes while the existing Freeplugs are used simply as power supplies. This could allow you to use a uninterruptable power supply with the Freebox Server to avoid loss of telephony when the power goes down.

At least this is another example of the Freebox Révolution being considered cutting-edge for carrier-supplied consumer-premises equipment especially in an Internet-service market that has healthy competition.

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What these HomePlug AV wireless access points are about

I had come across this Tweet that was shared on to Solwise’s home page concerning how quick it was to extend a small Wi-Fi network using a HomePlug AV wireless access point. As the picture showed that, once in place, this looked discreet and didn’t use any extra cables. You also had the advantage of being able to relocate this access point if you needed to such as focusing more coverage on another area.

Expect a lot more reliability and proper bandwidth from your Wi-Fi wireless network coverage when using a HomePlug wireless access point to extend that home network.

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Don’t forget HomePlug powerline networking in your home network setup

HomePlug AV adaptor

The HomePlug powerline adaptor – part of a wired no-new-wires segment that is worth considering

I have often seen network setups pitched especially at consumers as to be the wireless network. Typically this is about an 802.11n Wi-Fi segment hosted by a wireless router with 802.11n range extenders used to boost the signal coverage out further. Having a wired backbone for one of these networks typically has us thinking of Ethernet as the way to go but if you want it to look neat, you have to have the Ethernet cable pulled through your home which only works well if you are building or renovating your home.

Another technology that is easily forgotten about is HomePlug AV powerline-network technology. This technology uses the AC wiring in your home as a wired-network backbone. This initially existed in the 1.0 format with 14Mbps data transfer and graduated to 85Mbps. Now it is available as a HomePlug AV setup which works at 200Mbps or a HomePlug AV500 (IEEE1901) setup that can work at 500Mbps.

Just lately, there have been the arrival of HomePlug AV2 devices that provide increased robustness for the data as well as working at 600Mbps or 1.2 Gigabit speeds in newly-released varieties. The increased robustness comes about due to each device on the HomePlug segment serving as a repeater as well as use of all three wires including the “earth / ground” wire of the AC wiring setup for the data transfer.

Similarly, choosing a HomePlug adaptor with a built-in AC socket can lead to more reliable operation due to the fact that he integrated AC outlet is filtered in a way to prevent electrical noise from the device you plug in to it getting in to the AC current. This noise, typically generated by a lot of switch-mode power supplies used in today’s electronics, can impair the data communication on the HomePlug network segment that is sharing the same AC line.

The devices typically come in HomePlug-Ethernet adaptors with some of them having a multiple-port Ethernet switch in them and, in the UK especially, a HomePlug-Ethernet adaptor which directly plugs in to the wall and has one Ethernet socket is typically referred to as a “homeplug”. This means that you connect your computer, router or other network device to the HomePlug device using an Ethernet cable.

It is worth noting that a few HomePlug-Ethernet adaptors are appearing that also work as Power-Over-Ethernet power-sources according to the 802.3af or 802.3at (high-power) standards. This means that they can supply power to network-connected devices that take power via their Ethernet connection and it leads to one cable between these “homeplugs” and the network-connected device as well as not needing to consider extra power for these devices. The key applications that these adaptors serve well would be Wi-Fi access points, IP-based surveillance cameras or VoIP desk telephones where there is a desire to run one thin wire to these devices.

There are also a few HomePlug devices which have an integrated Wi-Fi access point along with an Ethernet connection and these are pitched at the idea of extending the coverage of your Wi-Fi wireless network segment without losing the bandwidth available which happens with wireless range extenders.

Where do I see the HomePlug powerline network fit in

I see this network fit in as a supplementary “wired no-new-wires” network segment suitable for a variety of reasons. For example, if you aren’t wiring your premises for Ethernet, you can use a HomePlug segment to provide reliable wired network connection for normally-sessile devices like smart TVs and video equipment, printers and the like. Even if you do have an Ethernet segment, you can use a HomePlug powerline segment as an infill measure to cover parts of the house that you don’t have Ethernet connections in.

HomePlug comes in to its own with a temporary wired network where you don’t want to use extra cables. This comes in to its own when you are repositioning furniture on a trial basis before you commit to calling in electricians to pull Ethernet sockets for your new setup; or a small shop where you want to shift the POS system during a sale or special event. As well, HomePlug comes in to its own as a wired network for rented premises where you are not allowed to or it’s not worth the resources to pull extra wiring through the walls.

There are even some places where HomePlug technology is the only cost-effective network technology to assure premises-wide network coverage. These are where a place has, for example, a very thick dividing wall or remnants of a disused fireplace, that is not worth the cost and time to pull wire through and Wi-Fi wireless networks will not perform adequately past that wall.

HomePlug link between house and garage

HomePlug – to connect the man-cave to the main house

In some cases, HomePlug can work well with linking an outbuilding like a garage, barn or cabin / granny-flat to the main house’s network and Internet connection. I have even successfully set up one of these arrangements successfully to link a garage that was purposed as a “man-cave” to the home network and Internet that existed in a suburban home.

What needs to be done

Retailers and Internet service providers need to do their bit to promote HomePlug technologies and the concept of having two or more network media in a small network. This includes using a wired backbone and access point to “push out” a Wi-Fi segment or using something like HomePlug to connect your home theatre to your home network.

One positive step that is taking place is nVoy which allows a single point of control to apply between Wi-Fi, HomePlug, MoCA and Ethernet to allow for “best case” data transfer and simplified network configuration. Here, this could come in to its own with creating the business-grade “extended service set” for the Wi-Fi segment where you have two or more access points connected to an Ethernet or HomePlug backbone and with the same SSID and security parameters. Once this is established in the marketplace, there needs to he help with exposing the reality of complementing network media providing the home network that works smoothly.

How to give this a go

One device and situation you could target with HomePlug AV in your existing network would be your games console or smart TV and setting this up to work with this technology when bridging it to the home network. This is more so if you haven’t wired your home for Ethernet or haven’t put an Ethernet connection where the TV currently is.

Similarly, repositioning your Ethernet-capable network printer to somewhere where it looks better to you and suits your needs better could be a chance to implement a HomePlug network setup in your network.

Here, it is simply about giving the HomePlug powerline segments a go as a “wired no-new-wires” medium to connect devices to your home network and is something I underscore on this Website.

This article has been updated on January 2014 but has been updated to reflect the existence of HomePlug adaptors that can power network devices using Power-Over-Ethernet. As well, I have added a use-case regarding linking an external building like a garage or barn to the main house’s network and Internet connection.

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Solwise does it again–this time with HomePlug AV2

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Solwise

Product Page (PL-600AV-SMT-PIGGY AC Passthrough HomePlug AV2 adaptor)

My Comments

Linksys and Zyxel had offered two HomePlug AV2 devices to the North American market that are based on the first generation of this technology. Here, these units don’t implement the multiple-input multiple-output functionality that allows for higher throughput but the current implementations allow for robust HomePlug-based powerline network segments.

Regular readers will know that the HomePlug AV2 technology provides an improvement over the HomePlug AV and AV500 by integrating various abilities that allow for robustness, such as the ability for a HomePlug AV2 node to become its own repeater. This is in addition to it being able to use the safety earth wire along with the power wires to provide for increased signal reliability in the most difficult of operating environments such as commercial or industrial environments or inter-building links.

Solwise have become the first to roll out a HomePlug AV2 setup with the same first-generation implementation for the UK market and the first to show up this product with the UK mains plug. This time it is in the form of a GBP£29.59 “homeplug” with a Gigabit Ethernet socket and a filtered AC passthrough outlet to plug your other appliances into. This means that you don’t forfeit an AC outlet just to run your HomePlug AV2 segment.

What I see of this is that Solwise are validating the HomePlug technology by selling equipment that isn’t ordinary but can do a lot more. They even place their cards on the table by exposing what chipsets these units use so that people can know what runs best for their small network.

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AVM releases HomePlug AV500 access point that is ready for home automation

Article – in German language

Internet per Stromleitung: Anschluss der Powerline an Steckerleisten kann die Leistung beeinflussen | NetzwerkTotal.de

From the horse’s mouth

AVM

Product Page (German language)

My Comments

AVM, known for their premium Fritz!Box routers have launched their latest HomePlug AV500 wireless access point which is a device that I consider important for stone-built European country houses that are “Wi-Fi difficult”. This unit, known as the AVM FritzPowerLine 546E provides a Wi-Fi segment to the dual-stream 802.11n specification for the 2.4GHz band and supports WPS push-button client-device setup as has been talked about in this article concerning WPS in a multi-access-point network.

But it is also ready for the IPv6 home networks which are a reality for anyone using a recent high-end consumer or small-business router and will become common as more countries roll out next-generation broadband.

But the FritzPowerline 546E is one of the few HomePlug access points equipped with a filtered mains outlet which you can plug equipment in to. AVM takes this further by making this socket a switched socket which works with their home-automation software. For that matter, this function is manageable through the device’s Web user interface and provides not just instant remote “on-off” but a time-switch function.

What I see of this device is that it isn’t just like other HomePlug wireless access points but is offering more functionality in a different way. This is especially as the HomePlug powerline network is being considered very clearly in the UK and Europe as a viable no-new-wires network segment.

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A HomePlug access point that works on both the Wi-Fi bands available from Solwise

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Solwise

Value – Aztech HomePlug AV with Dual Band WiFi – PL-HL117EW

My Comments

We are seeing a lot more of the Wi-Fi access points that use the HomePlug AV powerline-network technology as a backbone but these typically work on the 2.4GHz waveband, now using 802.11g/n technology.

But Aztech have released a HomePlug wireless access point that works on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands rather than just the 2.4GHz band. The Aztech PL-117EW uses a HomePlug AV500 powerline network segment or an Ethernet segment as its backbone, so can be used for a “wired-for-Ethernet” house with the ability to create a HomePlug AV500 segment as well as being an access point.

It satisfies the reality that a home network will be needing the 5GHz 802.11n wireless network segment everywhere especially as the 2.4GHz band becomes more congested. There is the SimpleConnect “push-button” setup for the HomePlug segment as well as a WPS push-button setup for enrolling new Wi-Fi clients close to it. As far as I know, it misses out on the simple “Wi-Fi clone” function which aids setting it up as a secondary access point.

What I see of this is the idea of using the “wired no-new-wires” network that is HomePlug AV as a backbone for extending wireless-network coverage hasn’t died off and is appealing to the UK market as a valid home-network setup option in the face of the cheaper wireless-network range extenders. This device underscores this reality by extending it to the 5GHz Wi-Fi band.

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At last a HomePlug wireless access point that simplifies the wireless network extension process

Article – From the horse’s mouth

TP-Link

TL-WPA4220 – Welcome to TP-LINK (Product Page)

My Comments

One main reason most of us would buy a HomePlug-based wireless access point is to extend the coverage of that Wi-Fi wireless network past that radio obstacle like the double-brick interior wall without needing to pull new cabling. Or you don’t want to butcher your garden or dig up your lawn so you can reliably extend your home network with its Wi-Fi wireless segment to that garage or bungalow.

But a setup hurdle that one can easily end up with is copying the SSID (wireless network name) and network security parameters from your existing wireless router to the access point and making sure these are accurately copied so you can have proper roaming operation for your wireless network.

TP-Link have made this simple through the use of a “Wi-Fi Clone” button on the TL-WPA4220 access point. Here, this access point uses the WPS-PBC “push-button” setup routine to learn the parameters associated with your small wireless network segment.

This procedure has to be performed with this HomePlug access point in good Wi-Fi range of a router or access point that implements WPS push-button setup.You push the WPS button on your suitably-equipped wireless router as if to enrol a new device to your home network, then push the “Wi-Fi Clone” button to complete the procedure. This means that the access point has what is needed to be part of the Extended Service Set which is you home network’s Wi-Fi segment.

From that point on, you just simply establish that HomePlug AV powerline segment as the backbone for your wireless network and benefit from the increased coverage. But I would personally have this access point equipped with the WPS client setup mode for enrolling client devices close to it to avoid the need to traipse back to your wireless router to enrol that Android smartphone or Internet radio that is to be used in the remote area.

What I see of this is that steps have been taken in the right path to move away from the so-caled “range extenders” towards a more reliable and proven method of extending a wireless network’s coverage by simplifying the tasks required for achieving this goal.

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