Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
computer networking questions
Old 03-23-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
Moderator Emeritus
Khan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pine Island, Florida
Posts: 6,868
Send a message via AIM to Khan
computer networking questions

Does anyone have advice/experience concerning homeplug products?

Specifically, I want to plug the DSL modem output into the house electric system. And maybe play with other stuff (USB?) later.
__________________

__________________
"Knowin' no one nowhere's gonna miss us when we're gone..."
Khan is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-24-2008, 06:06 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
OAG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Central, Ohio, USA
Posts: 2,598
Check out Linksys site. They have several products that allow routing through home electrical lines. There are others but IMO Link Sys provide pretty good products (subsidy of Cisco Systems). Be sure to watch the security aspects of wireless as it is important to your personal information - more so than hardwired.
__________________

__________________
Vietnam Veteran, CW4 USA, Retired 1979
OAG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2008, 06:53 AM   #3
Full time employment: Posting here.
dixonge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ajijic
Posts: 843
unless your house is massive I would recommend wireless - the cost difference isn't much (if any) any more. I've got a mix of Mac and PC all on wireless. It just works.
__________________
dixonge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2008, 07:33 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,164
Quote:
Originally Posted by R Wood View Post
Be sure to watch the security aspects of wireless as it is important to your personal information - more so than hardwired.
Normally I would agree but it would seem with homeplug networking you'd be almost as exposed since it would seem that your outdoor outlets would be part of the network, as opposed to typical indoor cat 5 wiring. I would put security on homeplug as well.

I wonder too, why wireless isn't good enough, unless you are tranferring a lot of data within your network where the better performance makes a difference. For internet access, your broadband connection is the bottleneck. Wireless is cheaper and makes laptops more portable.
__________________
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2008, 02:20 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
Insanity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
Normally I would agree but it would seem with homeplug networking you'd be almost as exposed since it would seem that your outdoor outlets would be part of the network, as opposed to typical indoor cat 5 wiring. I would put security on homeplug as well.
Not as exposed. I can cruise my neighborhood and locate a dozen WiFi networks in ten minutes or less. Homeplug networks don't broadcast their presence and data thieves generally have softer targets they can tap into, and you can crack most "secured" wireless LANs using hacker tools like Aircrack.

If, on the other hand, someone knows you have a Homeplug setup and wants to tap in, it's pretty easy to plug in to an external outlet somewhere.

There are ways to lock down a wireless network so it's harder to tap into. Our wireless LAN at home is secured two ways, using WPA-PSK (shorthand for Wireless Protected Access -- Pre-Shared Key) encryption and registering the various computers hardware addresses (called MAC, or Media Access Control, a unique serial number assigned by the manufacturer to every network device) of all our computers and printers with the router.

Again, it's not unbreakable security, but it hardens our network so that data thieves will move on to softer targets before attacking us.
__________________
Insanity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2008, 03:16 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Insanity View Post
Not as exposed. I can cruise my neighborhood and locate a dozen WiFi networks in ten minutes or less. Homeplug networks don't broadcast their presence and data thieves generally have softer targets they can tap into, and you can crack most "secured" wireless LANs using hacker tools like Aircrack.
Good point.
__________________
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2008, 07:17 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
I use homeplug stuff. Pretty darn simple, and as long as your wiring wasnt hot new stuff in world war II, it oughta work okay. Small houses with one panel work better than houses built like topsy with 3 panels and some stuff one of the inlaws wired up in the corner of the attic.

There are a variety of speeds. The oldest stuff ran at a real throughput level of about 1-4Mb/s. Some newer stuff supports 85MB/s. Some really newer stuff is supposed to go well over 100Mb/s. I suspect the real throughput of both of those to probably be around 1/4 of the stated speed, but I havent tried it.

I'm using 3 old homeplug 1.0 units to connect an old tivo and a remote directv receiver to the internet. I get around 3.5-4Mb/s out of them. They dont need much anyhow.

I might try the 85Mb/s versions once directv starts supporting transfer of shows from one receiver to another. Plenty of them for sale on amazon and others for $70-80 a pair. You DO need a pair of them to get started, one to connect your router to the power line and one to connect the other device you want attached to the network. After that you just need one per device.

You cant plug them into surge suppressors or anything that would interfere with the signal. Sometimes noisy power things like vacuum cleaners or fluorescent lights will interfere with the signal.

I havent seen a homeplug/homepna device that didnt have encryption with a password key. While I can see someone spending a little time in their own living room breaking into a neighbors wireless network, I cant see someone hanging out in my backyard with an extension cord for a long time trying to crack into it. If you're in an apartment building or other high density housing, usage might be a lot of hassle, but then wireless might also be a problem in those circumstances.

Otherwise they're way better than wireless when you're dealing with a device that only offers an ethernet connection and cant do anything requiring drivers. While you can use a wireless 'bridge' device that is also device agnostic, they tend to be more expensive than homeplug. Its also kinda nice to plug in things at opposite ends of the house and get a rock solid cable like connection at a good speed.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2008, 08:22 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
Khan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pine Island, Florida
Posts: 6,868
Send a message via AIM to Khan
Quote:
Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
I use homeplug stuff. Pretty darn simple, and as long as your wiring wasnt hot new stuff in world war II, it oughta work okay. Small houses with one panel work better than houses built like topsy with 3 panels and some stuff one of the inlaws wired up in the corner of the attic.
Had the whole house rewired ~10 years ago.

Quote:
There are a variety of speeds. The oldest stuff ran at a real throughput level of about 1-4Mb/s. Some newer stuff supports 85MB/s. Some really newer stuff is supposed to go well over 100Mb/s. I suspect the real throughput of both of those to probably be around 1/4 of the stated speed, but I havent tried it.
As long as it keeps up with the DSL...

Quote:
I'm using 3 old homeplug 1.0 units to connect an old tivo and a remote directv receiver to the internet. I get around 3.5-4Mb/s out of them. They dont need much anyhow.

I might try the 85Mb/s versions once directv starts supporting transfer of shows from one receiver to another. Plenty of them for sale on amazon and others for $70-80 a pair. You DO need a pair of them to get started, one to connect your router to the power line and one to connect the other device you want attached to the network. After that you just need one per device.
I might add in other stuff later.

Quote:
You cant plug them into surge suppressors or anything that would interfere with the signal. Sometimes noisy power things like vacuum cleaners or fluorescent lights will interfere with the signal.
What about power strips or extension cords without surge suppressors?

Quote:
I havent seen a homeplug/homepna device that didnt have encryption with a password key. While I can see someone spending a little time in their own living room breaking into a neighbors wireless network, I cant see someone hanging out in my backyard with an extension cord for a long time trying to crack into it. If you're in an apartment building or other high density housing, usage might be a lot of hassle, but then wireless might also be a problem in those circumstances.
I have one outside outlet, and it's on the wall next to a patio facing woodland.

Quote:
Otherwise they're way better than wireless when you're dealing with a device that only offers an ethernet connection and cant do anything requiring drivers. While you can use a wireless 'bridge' device that is also device agnostic, they tend to be more expensive than homeplug. Its also kinda nice to plug in things at opposite ends of the house and get a rock solid cable like connection at a good speed.
Thank you.
Any advice as to how to search for a specific device? What words do I use in a search? DSL? Modem? Ethernet?
__________________
"Knowin' no one nowhere's gonna miss us when we're gone..."
Khan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2008, 11:46 AM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
I've used them on extension cords and plain powerstrips without problems. Many of them come with software packages that let you pull device stats for all the online powerline adapters, speeds, error rates, etc. If you see one thats much lower on the speed or higher on the errors, try moving it to a different plug or moving stuff thats on the same circuit to a different one. Usually not a problem.

Adding stuff in later shouldnt be a problem as long as you stay with the same powerline standard, some of it is even backward compatible with older versions of the same spec or at least interoperable on the same wire.

Specifics?

These are more common and use a more widely adopted standard:
Amazon.com: Actiontec MegaPlug 85 Mbps Ethernet Adapter Twin-Pack: Electronics

And they've got a four port version thats nice for multiple devices in the same area:
Amazon.com: Actiontec MegaPlug 85 Mbps 4-port Hub: Electronics

These, which use a different standard being pushed by panasonic, and are cheaper because they're not as widely adopted:
Amazon.com: Panasonic BL-PA100KTA Ethernet Adaptor Starter Pack Includes two HD-PLC (High Definition Power Communication): Electronics

Or if you want fast and full banana speed, these are pretty well regarded and a decent price:

Amazon.com: Actiontec MegaPlug A/V 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter: Electronics

Do note that these things are fairly large and can monopolize a wall plug pretty well. Some arent wall-warts but have a 1-3' cord coming out of them, and you can of course add your own short extension cord. Some come in a powerstrip form factor that has the PNA built in where the cord comes in, then has a nice surge protected powerstrip downstream from that. Between those and the ones that have multiple ethernet connections, you can minimize cabling.

Speed wise, I think you'll see 4-6MB/s out of the old homeplug 1.0 stuff advertised at 14Mb/s. I think you'll get about 15-20Mb/s out of the stuff thats advertised at 70/85Mb/s, and maybe 40-100ish on the 200Mb/s stuff. Definitely faster than DSL. For computer-to-computer apps, transferring video (especially high def), you'll want at lwast the 85mb and more likely the 200.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 10:30 AM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Thanks a bunch. You made me buy some stuff.

I looked hard at the el cheapo panasonic versions, but since they're an "off" standard and I might not be able to buy an extra one or two next year or the year after, I bought these:

Amazon.com: ZyXEL PLA401 200 Mbps Powerline HomePlug AV Wall-plug Adapter (Starter Kit--2 units): Electronics

The 200Mb/s "AV" stuff is supposed to be very resistant to noisy products like microwaves/vacuum cleaners and has a little more bandwidth than the older 70/85Mb/s products. Twice the cost of the panasonic but since my application is going to be pumping multiple streams of high definition video in real time, I might need it.

Plus since I imagine I'll still be using them 4-5 years from now, I might be giving myself a little future technology insurance. I got 4+ years out of the old 14Mb/s versions.

If I wasnt doing video and only expected to use the units I was going to buy today, the panasonics at $48 a pair would be pretty attractive.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 06:44 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,554
I have never heard of these products, but then again, I am pretty much computer illiterate. This sounds like it might be the answer to our problem though, if I am understanding it correctly.

We have DSL and I use a desktop computer and my daughter uses a laptop . We have a Linksys wireless system that has never worked. It will work for a short time and then it throws both offline. You have to unplug the Linksys to be able to use the desktop. My daughter was able to use her laptop in her bedroom, I guess by using a neighbors' wireless. We remodeled our downstairs and moved her down and she can not get the internet on the laptop. Will this work for her laptop downstairs, if she plugs the laptop in the electrical socket?

CFB, was there a particular reason why you bought the ZyXEL instead of the Actiontec? The reason that I am asking is that I read a ton of good reviews on the Actiontec, but then you bought the ZyXEL. I know that you are extremely knowledgable about this stuff, so I was curious as to the reason. Which one would you recommend for a family, that does not know very much about computers? Thanks.
__________________
Dreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 09:15 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Well, you'll still need a router most likely. Your DSL service probably only provisions for one computer and when it sees two, will bump one off the network.

Does the laptop already have built in wireless? If so, a better wireless router might be the best solution. A working router in your house will work downwards to the lower floors, while using a router in a neighbors house wont...think of it as line of sight with degradation for walls and floors and huge degradation for stucco with chicken wire in it and insulation with foil backing.

You might check with the linksys web site to see if it has a firmware upgrade for your router, and apply it if available. That will probably require plugging it with a direct wire from your desktop (if you're not doing that already). Then reset it to defaults. Sometimes firmware upgrades fix problems. What model router is it?

If that doesnt work, a new wireless G router can be had for free after rebate, or nearly free without bothering with the rebate hassle.

Consider these powerline networking products just "lengthening the wire" from your router, and adding a network "power strip" to which more computers can be connected. Sort of like plugging a multiple line connector to your phone line and then hanging an answering machine, another phone line and a fax machine off of it...except your electrical wiring is the "connector".

Your router performs a function that allows it to look like one computer to your DSL provider, while connecting multiple computers and essentially masking their presence to the DSL provider.

Past all that, if your router works with your main computer plugged in, and also works with your daughters laptop wired in at the same time, and you dont want to deal with the hassle of a new wireless router, a pair of powerline adapters would extend the "wire" from your router to the basement for the laptop.

For that application (sharing a broadband connection) I'd go cheap and get the panasonic hd-plc kit (which includes two adapters...one that would plug into your router and one that would connect to the laptop in the basement) from amazon for $48 for a pair.

Nothing wrong with the actiontec's either...they're developed to a more well accepted standard and therefore cost twice as much. Unless you think you might want to buy another unit or two in 3 years, I wouldnt worry about the difference.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2008, 07:35 AM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
OAG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Central, Ohio, USA
Posts: 2,598
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
I have never heard of these products, but then again, I am pretty much computer illiterate. This sounds like it might be the answer to our problem though, if I am understanding it correctly.

We have DSL and I use a desktop computer and my daughter uses a laptop . We have a Linksys wireless system that has never worked. It will work for a short time and then it throws both offline. You have to unplug the Linksys to be able to use the desktop. My daughter was able to use her laptop in her bedroom, I guess by using a neighbors' wireless. We remodeled our downstairs and moved her down and she can not get the internet on the laptop. Will this work for her laptop downstairs, if she plugs the laptop in the electrical socket?

CFB, was there a particular reason why you bought the ZyXEL instead of the Actiontec? The reason that I am asking is that I read a ton of good reviews on the Actiontec, but then you bought the ZyXEL. I know that you are extremely knowledgable about this stuff, so I was curious as to the reason. Which one would you recommend for a family, that does not know very much about computers? Thanks.
Don't mean to butt in (as CFB knows a lot more about this stuff than I do) but I use a LinkSys Router in my home as does my daughter in her home. We both have Cable Internet Service (Time Warner) and all work fine. In my case my system mirrors yours, Desktop in the basement, where the router is, and on the first floor where the Notebook is located. I did experience some dropping of the notebook from the network from time to time. The solution for me was to find another convenient location upstairs where it was not dropped. Toyed with getting booster or extended range router but being cheap the moving of the router around downstairs and moving of the notebook location seemed the best and workable solution. Of course another solution, depending on the configuration of the home and the ability to route hard wire, is a long Ethernet cable and go hardwired (faster and simple, if possible).
__________________
Vietnam Veteran, CW4 USA, Retired 1979
OAG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2008, 08:55 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,554
Thanks CFB and R Wood for all of your great advice. Sorry, I did not get back before now, but I was working on our taxes and then went to see the Cherry Blossoms in DC for the weekend. Anyway, I let my daughter read what was posted. While I was gone, her DH called Linksys and he also had to go to Verizon (we have the DSL through them) and they walked him through what he needed to do to get it working again. DD told me that they were both using their laptops downstairs and so far I am using the desktop upstairs. So far so good. I am keeping my fingers crossed, but hopefully it will keep working. So thanks for the good advice and pointing us in the direction that we needed.
__________________
Dreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2008, 10:46 AM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Cool. Glad it worked out!
__________________

__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Computer Networking Question Niko Other topics 5 03-08-2008 01:37 AM
Networking Question TromboneAl Other topics 8 11-21-2007 06:27 PM
Networking xmanz3 Other topics 28 10-08-2007 08:20 PM
Computer Help?!? Sheryl Other topics 22 01-02-2007 08:16 AM
Home computer questions--yet again Martha Other topics 46 08-04-2006 05:32 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:57 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.