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Powerline Adaptor + Wifi Question

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[OP]
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Jul 4, 2010
35 posts
4 upvotes
Toronto

Powerline Adaptor + Wifi Question

Hey all,

Wondering if I could get some quick advice on the pros/cons of the options I have to extend my home network.

Currently have Bell Fibe 50 with the Home Hub 2000 in the basement (back wall). I get great wifi downstairs, and most of upstairs as well, other than one spot at the front of the house that is near-dead so not reliable at all.

My goals here are two-fold, first, create a wired connection in the room directly above my router in order to setup a home theater, which with no cables on the TV wall I will need a way to connect the main Fibe PVR. My plan was to use a powerline adapter in the plug, and then Cat5 from the Home Plug into the Fibe Receiver. My tests performed on a unit that I purchased and returned indicated I should get near full ethernet speed via this method, and I believe the Fibe TV receivers can all work via ethernet instead of coax without suffering any degradation/performance loss.

The second goal is to get better WiFi coverage to the front of the house on the first floor. It's essentially hit/miss because of the angle the router is at and the fact that it has to basically go through solid ground to reach that area. So this is where I'm a bit confused on the best approach. It seems my options are as follows:
  1. Get a combo Powerline Adapter that has a Wifi Extender
  2. Use a Powerline Adapter with a second Router plugged into it to extend Wifi Range
  3. Plug an Access Point into the Powerline Adapter (seems APs are not much cheaper than Routers these days)
  4. Just use the Powerline Adapter for the Home Theater, and get a second Powerline Wifi Extender for the front of the house solely to boost Wifi
There aren't a ton of combo Powerline + Wifi Extender units available on the market that are more modern AV2/Mimo technology. One I found is this: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.as ... -_-Product

Not sure the pros/cons of using an AP over a 2nd router in the Powerline Adapter, seems like they can be roughly the same price, and at least a router would essentially grant me a bunch of extra ethernet ports at my Home Theatre location.

Lastly, I could just get a powerline adapter specifically designed for Wifi Extension, and stick it right in the dead spot.

My assumption here, is whether I put any form of Wifi Extender either in the room with the deadspot, or back of the house but on the same floor, I should be able to fix the issue. From back to front is probably only about 30'.

My initial gut feeling is to use the combo adapter and have less pieces to worry about. Not a huge fan of Newegg, but other than going to older AV500 type adpaters, it's the only place I believe that carries the Netgear adapter.

Anyway, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
7 replies
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Dec 23, 2003
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Toronto
My suggestion would be as follows:

1) Set the router up in the area where you plan on using the most WIFI to get the best signal.

2) for the Powerline, I would suggest you read this thread called MoCA 2.0 Actiontec ECB6200 Review (my-moca-2-0-actiontec-ecb6200-review-fi ... t-1827149/). You would get better performance then powerline using the existing coax that is NOT connected to Rogers/Shaw, etc. and less headaches than running Cat 6.

3) If you want to setup another bridge, the actiontec can serve as a backbone for the second router so that you can expand the wifi coverage accordingly. TP Link Archer C7 version 2 or version 3 /Archer C8 models are inexpensive and pretty reliable
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Oct 14, 2010
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Is your basement finished?. Could you put a small pencil sized whole through the main floor so that you could pass either a coax or CAT5 cable from the basement? It would never be seen on a carpeted floor, or you could drill through the quarter round and fill it with putty when you no longer need it.

Do you have any coax that runs from a location near the basement HH2000 to the room above?. Did you know that you can connect your main PVR by coax (HPNA) and not necessarily CAT5?

If you connect the PVR by coax, then you could plug an AP or WiFi router into the unused Ethernet port on the back panel of the PVR to extend your network. Although there is probably not much advantage having two WiFi AP's only a few feet apart.

If you connect the PVR by CAT5, connect it to a WiFi router in the TV room which will act as hub/switch for the PVR connection as well as an AP.

If you still want to have a TV in the basement, leave the PVR in the basement and use one of the wireless TV boxes on the main floor. Run a CAT5 through the basement to the front of the house and connect an AP or good quality router (e.g. Asus) to get better coverage at the front of the house.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 4, 2010
35 posts
4 upvotes
Toronto
Hey guys,

Thanks for the replies I really appreciate it. The room is a bit of a challenge but I am determined to turn it into a home theater/family room since it's presently wasted space. The room has a coax outlet, the problem is, that it's on the opposite side of the room, there is no way to run it along baseboards as there are doors/stairways etc in between no matter which way I go. The ceiling has a bulkhead but I suppose if I wanted to put holes in the ceiling I could run it across, but my question is, would it be worth it to get MoCA 2.0 instead of Powerline strictly for Home Theater use. My expected usage would be streaming moves/tv shows from my main PC downstairs, and possibly hooking up a gaming system down the road. Will the throughput of the Actiontec as an example, make much difference vs powerline given my internet speed will most likely never reach Gigabyte speed, nor would I expect anything to actually require that much speed for streaming/online gameplay. Of course, I should never say never but thinking at least next 5+ years.

The side of the room the home theatre equipment would be setup in, is actually a closet I'd like to demo to make it a bit wider, and then will recess a tv and AV equipment in it. The only thing there is a power outlet. The basement under the room in question is indeed finished, I'd thought about fishing cat5/6 or coax from below, but to do so I'd need to run everything basically into the middle of the basement ceiling and then up to hit the closet area. Added to the degree of difficulty, the joists would be running the wrong way, so I'd need to drill through them just to get to the area below the HT components. So would be quite a few holes in the ceiling, and I know from past patch jobs, I don't enjoy the taste of drywall dust! :D

Didn't realize I could utilize the ethernet port on the Fibe PVR Receiver though, so that helps at least in giving me an extra port.

My networking know how is obviously fairly low based on having to create this thread. When I had Fibe 25 and I tested using an AV1200 homeplug in the outlet in question, I believe I was getting 30 MBps hardwired, and over Wifi 27-29 MBps. I just like the reliability of ethernet when streaming vs Wifi.

If I used a regular homeplug would the TP Link Archer router plugged into it still give me that ability to extend the range of Wifi to the front of the house? Or does it need something more than just an ethernet port out of a homeplug to run off of? Thinking I could basically mount it somewhat high up in the closet to make sure there is no signal cutoff due to odd angles or anything at the front of the house. Again, the front of the house simply is hit or miss because the angle of where the HH2000 is in relation, having to go through dirt basically. I probably should test this a bit better by mounting the Bell Home Hub up high, and see if this cuts the angle out of the equation, but not sure how much of a difference that would make.

The main PC is downstairs, as is my work laptop which I just use on Wifi since it's 5' away from the router, and there's just a small tv on my desk with a secondary fibe receiver. The front of the house does have a coax outlet as that's what my current PVR is plugged into, so I could technically put a MoCA device there and some form of AP or router, but that would then be an extra step to boost wifi and would still need to use a powerline adapter or something else for the home theatre room.

It's a mess I know, just trying to find the simplest solution that will give acceptable results. I don't think near-gigabyte is what I need at this time, just something that will work for streaming and future gaming. Had a home theatre specialist come for a visit but the job was too small, and now the budget has shrunk due to Wife factors, so I figure if I can at least get a TV setup and use the opportunity to resolve the Wifi deadspot at the same time I'll at least get the groundwork in place to purchase the rest of the gear in the near future.

Maybe I'm just looking for confirmation that the scenarios I listed above would essentially work, and if there is one that would work better than another. I may still take a look at the Actiontec though, since I could always use the excuse of running the coax as an opportunity to also pre-wire for surround speakers. I will be painting the entire room anyway, so patching in there isn't as big of a deal and the joists are at least going the right way...
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Oct 14, 2010
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elpietro wrote: My goals here are two-fold,

create a wired connection in the room directly above my router in order to setup a home theater, which with no cables on the TV wall I will need a way to connect the main Fibe PVR.

get better WiFi coverage to the front of the house on the first floor. !
elpietro wrote: The main PC is downstairs, as is my work laptop which I just use on Wifi since it's 5' away from the router, and there's just a small tv on my desk with a secondary fibe receiver. The front of the house does have a coax outlet as that's what my current PVR is plugged into,
If you already have the PVR at the front of the house (connected by coax to the HPNA port) , and you plan on leaving it there, then connect an AP or WiFi router into the unused Ethernet port on the rear panel, and voila, you now have WiFi available at the front of the house.

Use a wireless TV box for your home theater. With the HH2000 and TV WiFi Transmitter directly underneath (in the basement), you won't notice any difference from watching the wired PVR.

The components used in the Fibe TV system all work surprisingly well. The HH2000 has very good WiFi range, and the TV WiFi unit easily reaches from my 2nd floor office to the TV in the basement.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 4, 2010
35 posts
4 upvotes
Toronto
Rick007 wrote: If you already have the PVR at the front of the house (connected by coax to the HPNA port) , and you plan on leaving it there, then connect an AP or WiFi router into the unused Ethernet port on the rear panel, and voila, you now have WiFi available at the front of the house.

Use a wireless TV box for your home theater. With the HH2000 and TV WiFi Transmitter directly underneath (in the basement), you won't notice any difference from watching the wired PVR.

The components used in the Fibe TV system all work surprisingly well. The HH2000 has very good WiFi range, and the TV WiFi unit easily reaches from my 2nd floor office to the TV in the basement.
Hmm that seems like a great idea actually. It will solve my Wifi issues right in the weakest spot and possibly boost upstairs coverage as well. I can always try my home theater on wireless first, and then if I don't like it add either the Actiontec and run the coax, or powerline adapter in the outlet and have a hardline into the gear there.

I guess I was a bit hesitant at locating the main PVR somewhere other than the main HT room, for some reason, and it's probably just in my head, it seemed the wifi boxes were not as responsive. Also, there is a network port on the back of the wireless PVRs, and I correct in assuming I can use that plugged into a powerline adapter to give hard-wired connectivity as opposed to wireless if I end up going that route?

Either way this seems to be a fairly flexible solution, if nothing works as I'd hoped, I can still go with the original plan of a powerline adapter, plug the AP or Wifi Router into that, and that should hopefully clear up the deadspot at the front of the house.

Just noticed the C7 on sale at BB for $80 so placed an order. Worst case it's returnable.

Thanks again!
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 4, 2010
35 posts
4 upvotes
Toronto
Another hopefully quick question. When the C7 arrives, my assumption is that I can simply plug it into a laptop to configure and should essentially assign it an IP address (not the same has the HH2000), disable DHCP, mimic security settings/password, and enable WDS bridging as per this article from TP-Link? http://www.tp-link.com/en/faq-440.html

After all this is done I'd simply disconnect from laptop and plug into the back of the Fibe PVR and Bob's your uncle.

Without seeing the C7 user interface, should I assume I have to do the bridging steps for both 2.4 and 5ghz bands seperately?
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Oct 14, 2010
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elpietro wrote: I guess I was a bit hesitant at locating the main PVR somewhere other than the main HT room, for some reason, and it's probably just in my head, it seemed the wifi boxes were not as responsive. Also, there is a network port on the back of the wireless PVRs, and I correct in assuming I can use that plugged into a powerline adapter to give hard-wired connectivity as opposed to wireless if I end up going that route?
Without using a stopwatch I can't see much difference between the main PVR and any of the wireless boxes. You would think there would be a small delay for the video to resume after skipping commercials, (perhaps waiting for new video in the buffer) but if it does exist it is so small that I'm not even 100% certain I can see it. Hoefully some other uses can either confirm or deny my findings.
elpietro wrote: Another hopefully quick question. When the C7 arrives, my assumption is that I can simply plug it into a laptop to configure .........and enable WDS bridging as per this article from TP-Link? [url]http://www.tp-link.com/en/faq-440.html[/url
Your assumption seems correct, but WDS is only a last resort. Perhaps you don't know that WDS degrades your WiFi speeds. There are theories on how much it degrades, but it seems many consider it drops the speed by 50%. The reason is that your C7 needs to connect to the HH2000 to collect a buffer full of data, and then it has to send that same amount of data back out to the WiFi clients (laptops, tablets, etc.) Since every bit of data is received in one period of time and then re-transmitted in the next period of time, only 1/2 the data can be sent in any period of time.

If you use your C7 with an Ethernet cable connected to one of the LAN ports, then you will have a new WiFi AP, as well as 3 remaining LAN ports for any wired devices you want to connect in that part of the house.

I have my HH2000 in the 2nd floor office. I have a single CAT5 cable that runs to my entertainment unit on the ground floor. The cable connects to A LAN port of an old D-Link router running dd-wrt. I'm not really using any of the dd-wrt features except for turning the WAN port into a 5th LAN port (normally you would never use the WAN port in this configuration). I also connect one of the LAN ports to an 8 port Ethernet switch. Bottom line is I have 10 Ethernet ports in the entertainment unit as well as a WiFi AP. I have almost every one in use, with Smart TV, Bluray player, Apple TV, Android Box, Yamaha Receiver, Fibe PVR, Harmony HUB, SlingBox, 2 security cameras, etc, etc.. I also have my MyQ garage door opener connected by WiFi, and my Ecobee thermostat by WiFi, and my Vera home automation controller connected. All of these devices are considered the "Internet Of Things" or IOT. They all offer security risks should anyone find a way to log into them. Back in my office, I can connect this IOT cable to a different router and isolate the IOT devices from all the PC's and NAS's on my private network.

If you are setting up a home theater, you will certainly have many of the devices I mentioned. This additional required capacity may give you more incentive to consider a wired connection to the theater room. If you only plan on a Fibe TV box then the earlier suggestions may work for you just fine.

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