HomePlug sounds like a clever solution to home networking. It’s wired networking, but instead of having to run UTP network cables, it uses the power lines in your home. If you’re trying to install a network in your home, and you didn’t already have some sort of infrastructure in place, HomePlug is certainly one of the several options that you might consider. Sadly, I’ve found HomePlug to be somewhat unreliable, and I’d wish I had done enough research to realize that it isn’t really all such a clever solution after all.
Many people start to consider HomePlug because they don’t already have some sort of UTP cabling infrastructure running through their home, and they need some sort of wired ethernet connectivity between two parts of their house. I, for example, had my broadband fibre termination point at one place, but a desktop PC at another place. I prefer to put my broadband router next to that desktop PC, but even if I put it at the fibre termination point, I’d still need wired connectivity between those two places.
Another common scenario is when your IPTV or digital voice is somewhere away from the fibre termination point. Why wasn’t the broadband fibre connection terminated at the right place is another matter altogether. For some people, they don’t want the fibre trunking to run across their walls/ceilings. For others, perhaps there are two places they need the IP services at (e.g. digital voice and IPTV at different locations).
Anyhow, at first glance, HomePlug seems like a neat solution. At one end, you plug the ethernet cable into a HomePlug adapter, which then goes into the power socket. At the other location, the power socket delivers the network connection into another HomePlug adapter, which connects via another ethernet cable to whatever device it is that needs the network.
Sadly, the HomePlug seems to be awfully unreliable. I plugged the adapters directly into the wall socket as instructed in the manual. The pairing process was touch-and-go. After countless attempts just to get the HomePlug adapters paired, it was time to do some ping test. More disappointment set in. Even a simple ping showed some degree of packet loss. This is actually far worse than a wireless network.
I don’t know if this TP-Link HomePlug adapters are worse than the norm. I noticed it isn’t even a member of the HomePlug Alliance. I’ve later heard from others that generally HomePlugs aren’t good at all.
Perhaps HomePlug might be a last-resort type of solution. Use it when you absolutely need wired ethernet and don’t have any other better solution. It’s cheap, and it’s convenient. I suspect a pair of ethernet-wirelress bridges might perform better, although perhaps cost slightly more.