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 plus.net and the 2nd hop shows as Sky!
1:~ Dave$ traceroute plus.net traceroute: Warning: plus.net has multiple addresses; using 18.104.22.168 traceroute to portal.plus.net (22.214.171.124), 64 hops max, 40 byte packets 1 192.168.0.1 (192.168.0.1) 18.108 ms 15.238 ms 15.785 ms 2 02ddc6be.bb.sky.com (126.96.36.199) 74.476 ms 60.659 ms 73.599 ms 3 10.245.129.113 (10.245.129.113) 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 plus.net traceroute: Warning: plus.net has multiple addresses; using 188.8.131.52 traceroute to portal.plus.net (184.108.40.206), 64 hops max, 40 byte packets 1 192.168.0.1 (192.168.0.1) 4.043 ms 4.088 ms 4.061 ms 2 lo0-plusnet.pcl-ag02.plus.net (220.127.116.11) 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 ...