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Powerline Adapters - Make Sure you use Encryption

March 15th, 2012 at 19:00 by Dave Tomlinson

Ethernet cable

I got some nice shiny Powerline adapters the other day to connect my new set top box in the living room to my router in the bedroom.

Powerline adapters are an interesting concept. They essentially turn your electricity wiring into a giant network cable, allowing you to connect multiple devices in different rooms without the need to traipse wires around the house or rely on a flaky Wireless connection. Plus you can easily move an adapter from one room to another or add more without having to change any of the wiring.

Now that might sound (and is) very convenient, and I'd heartedly recommend the use of Powerline adapters to friends and family, however there was one surprise I wasn't expecting ...

I plugged my Powerline adapters in yesterday, connected one to the router and plugged my laptop in to the second so I could check they were working. Loaded up the Plusnet website and all looking good, ran a speedtest though and I'm getting 3Mbps instead of 6Mbps, tried to get to my router setup page to see what it sees and I get an error. Tried pinging the router and it didn't reply, ran a traceroute to and the 2nd hop shows as Sky!

1:~ Dave$ traceroute
traceroute: Warning: has multiple addresses; using
traceroute to (, 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 (  18.108 ms  15.238 ms  15.785 ms
2 (  74.476 ms  60.659 ms  73.599 ms
3 (  69.298 ms  60.400 ms  60.618 ms

So what's going on here then? Well, the Powerline adapters haven't migrated me to Sky that's for sure. What's actually happened is that one of my neighbours is on Sky and also has Powerline adapters, rather than connect to the Powerline adapter in my bedroom it's connected to them instead!

Turns out my Powerline adapters have encryption built in, you just push the buttons on the side of them (instructions vary so refer to your manual if you're unsure). Because I wanted to check they worked first I hadn't switched encryption on, now that I have I'm back on Plusnet again and back up to my usual 6Mbps. Unfortunately I don't know which neighbour it is to tell them to turn their encryption on.

1:~ Dave$ traceroute
traceroute: Warning: has multiple addresses; using
traceroute to (, 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 (  4.043 ms  4.088 ms  4.061 ms
2 (  53.454 ms  45.843 ms  59.598 ms

Powerline adapters are becoming more and more popular especially with the advent of Internet-enabled TVs, Blu-ray players and set top boxes. I also suspect an increasing number of people will switch to using wired solutions like Powerline as they adopt superfast fibre broadband and realise that their existing wireless set-up simply isn't capable of supporting the increased speed of their Internet connection.

Have a read of our Community Library article if you're interested in finding out more about home networking. If you're plugging for Poweline adapters though (*groan*), just be sure to enable encryption.

Will you be switching to Powerline adapters and have you any novel home networking stories you'd like to share with us? If so then leave us a comment ...


This entry was posted by Dave Tomlinson on Thursday, March 15th, 2012 at 7:00 pm and is tagged with , , , , , , and is posted in the category Plusnet News, Support Library beta, Tech News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

11 comments on "Powerline Adapters - Make Sure you use Encryption"


It shouldn't take 4ms over a piece of fat copper wire to get to your router.
I bet it puts in massive time delays via clever coding to achieve a decent throughput.
With a consequent poor latency???


I use powerline adapters and latency across the link is about 3ms. The thing is though, it's *consistent* (unlike a wireless connection). 3-4ms across the first hop is never going to affect your Internet performance when latency beyond that point is typically 3-4 times as 'bad'.


I bet you live in a flat? Wouldn't have thought you'd get this problem in a house. Streets are wired on 3 phase, so every third house would be on the same phase.


Yeah, it's a block of 16 flats. The electric meters for all of them are in a cupboard under the stairs on the ground floor rather than in each flat.


I see we have a recommended brand?

In the fine print it says:-
* The theoretical maximum channel data transfer rate is derived from IEEE 1901 specifications. Actual data transfer rate will vary from network environment including: distance, network traffic, noise on electrical wires, quality of electrical installation and other adverse conditions.

So it is much, much less than 500Mbps - so no exactly future-proof.

Make sure you check your bank statement!!

I have used plusnet for 3 years now but I will be leaving on Monday, seeing as I see for the last few months my DD has increased 300%. My email notifications seemed to have stopped at the same time. My fault for not spotting it on my bank statement until now but the fact that I could get TV, phone and broadband cheaper than just the broadband I am getting with Plusnet with almost any other provider with this price, I think theres little choice. The fact I rang up on Saturday morning to cancel but there is no one to take my call is annoying as well. Especially that there is plenty of people to take Sales calls.

so plus net where is the answer to joe


You really expect to get an answer to that here? It's really not the place, why not simply create a new thread in the forums??? Far more likely to get seen, and get some answers.

Here's the link for you,



Could you direct us to your account please so I can investigate that issue?

If you've decided to leave there is more information with regards to that such as how to do so and what the opening hours are if you decide to do it by phone here:


Its rally nice,
Get more technology news.


There is something wrong with the mains wiring in your home and the home of your neighbour, before the consumer unit the cables are supposed to be filtered to prevent interference transfer, quite apart from anything the electricity company can use the same wavelength on their network. And of course your band width is contended with your neighbour and worse still powerline drops to lowest common demoninator so if your neighbour has slower powerline devices than you do, yours will just slow down.

Finally powerline adapators cause interference for Digital Radio as I found out when I tried to use them (had to stop to use my digital radio again.)


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