Beware of Power Line Networking – Netgear Powerline AV500 Failure

Okay folks, I’ve just spent the last few days and some money replacing equipment blown by an apparent power surge through Netgear Powerline AV500 equipment.  What these units do is to transmit ethernet network signals over the AC wiring in a building and are billed as an easy shortcut to pulling wire.  Our house has a lot of solid ceilings and is a bear to pull wire through so I opted for these to try and save some time.  I have used these for a number of years now up until we had thunderstorms with plenty of lightning last week.  One day by daughter told me the TV no longer was connected to the Internet.  Then we found out about her room’s wifi access point not having Internet access either and the same for the access point in my shop plus a TV android appliance that we use to watch Netflix and other things.  What was the common element?  They all worked except their ethernet ports were blown.  The little converter units said they were connected but no signal came through and even directly connecting new wire did not solve the problem.  In the cases of the TV and android appliance, I switched them to wifi and they worked fine.  For the access points, I could log into them but I could not get anything from the ethernet ports.  I am convinced a power surge went through these devices and blew the ports in the attached devices.  All other ethernet devices in our home were fine.  The powerline repeater is in the trash too as I am done with this stuff.  I don’t think it is a coincidence – the surge must have gone through the adapters.

So you can see, the next two photos are of the Netgear powerline stuff that is going in the trash along with the two fried network access points (the third photo) that are also history.

  

In short, I have tossed the four power line adapters and installed much better hard lines going to decent TP-Link 450 access points.  We have excellent coverage again but I will never use the powerline stuff again. I’m very happy with these TP units – they get great reviews, were easy to install and have great reception.  I’ll link to these access points at the end of the post.

  

By the way, in digging I found a great Android WiFi signal strength utility that is great and, surprisingly, free.  Check out Wifi Analyser by Keuwlsoft.  It’s very useful to help you see the signal strength and understand the best place to put an access point.

While I was at it, I also replaced two old 10/100 ethernet hubs with Gigabit switches.  We’re definitely seeing a lot better speeds now.

[amazonjs asin=”B00A121WN6″ locale=”US” title=”TP-Link 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Steel Desktop Switch (TL-SG108)”]

So, I’m not thrilled with Powerline networking but am very, very impressed with the price and performance of the new TP-Link equipment.


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