Q. So will these gadgets actually help me to increase my internet speeds?
A. Yes, they have the potential to do so, provided you are using wifi and some distance away from your router and need a stronger more stable connection for gaming, streaming, or to download stuff faster. They send data through the wiring in your house and can allow all users to potentially extract more speed out of their internet connection.
Q. So do you mean they can actually make my internet package faster?
A. No. They can allow you to get closer to the maximum your own internet package will allow even if you are in a remote part of the house a long way away from the router. They cannot actually increase the total bandwidth available to the house as that is determined by the broadband package you have (eg. Virgin Media 55mb package the maximum you will get is 55mb per second download speed no matter what you do). They can just help you extract the most out of this 55mb allowance wherever you are in the house. Also bear in mind though that even with adapters the bandwidth each individual device gets is dependent on the number of devices using the internet at the time in the house.
Q. Are they for everyone?
A. No. Some people are happy with the wifi signal they get in all parts of their house and don’t need powerlines or boosters. Each to their own! They are mainly of benefit to gamers and people who want to stream high quality video or download large amounts of data in a different room to the router. There is also variation between different houses as some people find their wifi signal is fine even with several walls between their device and the router whereas others will really struggle and get a poor signal and download speed. At the end of the day its up to the person and if they have a problem with weak wifi signals and lag in gaming this is a possible solution. Powerline adapters are not widely known about so we are seeking to spread the word!
Q. Will they work in all houses?
A. They will work in the vast majority of houses. In a small number of houses they may not work as the wiring of the house does not allow it but this is only in a very small number of cases. See also our troubleshooting guide if you run into any difficulties with them.
Q. Can they be used for streaming videos and Netflix?
A. Absolutely. Powerline adapters are ideal for streaming Netflix and other services as they allow you to have a wired connection to your router from any room, which will give you the strongest possible connection for activities like streaming which require more bandwidth. In this sense they are a good alternative to wifi which can drop out and cause buffering at peak times or if you are a long way from the router.
Q. Can I use them for online gaming?
A. Yes, they are also ideal for online gaming because they offer a wired connection which helps to keep latency down and is again preferable to wifi which will weaken over distance and travelling through obstacles. See our article on powerline adapters for gaming.
Q. These adapters need to use a plug socket at each end and I don’t have any free ones left.
A. Adapters like this are available from Amazon that have a passthrough plug socket in them so you can plug the adapter into the wall and then plug whatever you were using into the adapter and use it like a normal plug socket. These ones are a little more expensive than the basic ones without a plug socket in the front so choose a model based on your needs.
Q. Should I get a Powerline Adapter or a Wifi Booster/Range Extender?
A. It is entirely down to your preferences and needs. Some people want the most solid connection possible for gaming and so use Powerline Adapters as the connection is wired. Others don’t like wires trailing around and still want to carry their devices around in their rooms and so use a Wireless Booster that doesn’t need a cable connection on their end. Check out our article on the subject where we compare the two types of products for terms of costs and functionality so you can decide which is best for you.
Q. What if I have several devices I want to use in one room?
A. TP Link, the main manufacturer of Powerlines, have many different Powerlines depending on your individual needs. The most basic Powerlines on Amazon only have one ethernet port if you are only connecting one device, but there are more expensive ones with two or three ethernet ports or even a combination of wired and wireless access so choose a product based on your needs. See our Products page for more information on the different types.
Q. What if I want to use Powerline Adapters in more than one room?
A. Then you will have to buy additional adapters. You may be able to buy cheaper single pack additional adapters like this on Amazon but their availability is limited now and in some cases they are actually more expensive than buying a twin pack because of short supply. So in most cases it is better value to buy a pair of adapters together rather than just one. But the good news is that cross compatibility between TP Link Powerlines tends to be very good and once you have a Powerline network set up between two adapters, it is very easy to add additional ones. This article from TP Link goes through the process to add more Powerlines to a network but we have often found that new TP Link Powerlines usually connect to the existing network straight away without any setup required. We also have an article on expanding powerline networks.
Q. Can I Mix Powerline Adapters Brands and Models?
A. Sometimes. Cross compatibility between different models of the same brand is quite high nowadays, in fact modern TP Link products are universally cross compatible. Cross compatibility between brands is also possible but not guaranteed with newer models. Any powerline adapters that are both Homeplug AV compliant should in theory be able to talk to each other. See our article on the subject for more information.
Q. Is there a load of complicated setup I will have to go through to get these things working?
A. No. In our experience most of the TP Link Powerline Adapters are pretty much “Plug and Play” with virtually no setup. Once both adapters are plugged in and turned on they tend “pair up” automatically without you even needing to do anything. From there its just a case of connecting up your device and router at each end and you are good to go! Wifi Extenders and Boosters sometimes need a little additional setup but it is all very easy and explained in the instruction manuals and in online videos.