Last updated: June 17, 2020

Here’s a classic situation in many homes around Australia: you’ve just signed up for the most advanced – and sometimes expensive – Internet system out there, but it simply can’t reach all rooms. The high speed you’re paying for therefore goes to waste. Is there a solution? Also called PLC (programmable logic controller), powerline adapters will allow you to increase Internet reception effectively in your home.

Broadband that relies on fibre optics or cable is now found in almost every household. This technology means that your Internet speed can reach up to 1,000 Mbps (megabits per second). But what good is it if your router doesn’t reach every corner? Powerline adapters are the solution you needed. Keep reading to learn all there is to know about these devices.

Key Facts

  • Powerline adapters create a private network through your power sockets, giving you Internet quality, speed and security. That way, you can bring your wireless connection to places where the reception is weak or erratic.
  • You need at least two PLC adapters for them to work. One picks up the Wi-Fi signal from your router, while the other (or others) is the extender that takes the connection to hard-to-reach places. You may sometimes need an Ethernet cable (which should be included), and the steps to install the devices are very straightforward.
  • Once set up, the powerline adapters will create a connection network should be much faster than your standard Wi-Fi network. Since most of these adapters operate via Wi-Fi (like a router), you won’t need to plug in the devices you want to connect to the network.

Ranking: The best powerline adapters on the Australian market

Many rooms and areas don’t receive the strongest connection possible, such as basements and gardens. There are various reasons for having poor Wi-Fi – old walls or interference from other appliances, for instance. Powerline adapters are therefore your best solution for this, and we’ve picked the five best models available on the market for you to get just what you need.

No. 1: Netgear PL1000-100AUS

Netgear is a California-based networking hardware brand with over two decades of experience in the industry, and their products are some of the very best available on the market. This wired powerline adapter allows you to bring connections of up to 1000 Mbps in any room where you have a power socket. You will need to connect your device to your PLC adapter using an Ethernet Cable.

Each of the two adapters features a Gigabit Ethernet port for increased speed. Since you need a cable to use this powerline adapter, it most suited for video game consoles or smart TVs. This means that you’ll get perfect 4K HD streaming and lag-free online gaming. Past users have appreciated how easy this device was to set up. This product comes with a manufacturer warranty.

No. 2: TP-Link TL-PA7010P KIT

TP-link is a Chinese manufacturer of computer networking solutions. Founded in 1996 – the same year as Netgear, it has established itself as its biggest competitor, both companies offering very similar products over the years. The TL-PA7010P KIT is essentially TP-Link’s version of the first powerline adapter by Netgear on our list.

You can reach internet speeds of up to 1000 Mbps, and the Gigabit Ethernet port allows you to connect this PLC adapter to your TV, PC or gaming console. It features the plug-and-play technology for easy setup. The Power-Saving mode will help you reduce your energy consumption. This product features an incredible 3-year warranty, which should reassure you if you doubted its quality.

No. 3: Netgear PLW1000-100AUS

How does Netgear’s LPW1000-AUS model differ from the others we’ve selected? It’s the only one that gives you the ability to connect to the powerline adapters via Wi-Fi. It offers maximum speeds of up to 1000 Mbps, and each device also includes a Gigabit Ethernet port so you can switch between wired or wireless connection depending on your needs.

For the rest, it’s quite similar to other PLC adapters. The energy-saving feature means that the devices automatically power down when they are not being used. These powerline adapters also integrate plug-and-play technology for fast and stress-free installation. Note that the higher price is due to the fact that this model allows you to connect via Wi-Fi.

No. 4: TP-Link TL-PA411 KIT

The second and last TP-Link powerline adapter of our selection is also the most affordable model we’ve chosen. Why? Because it’s received great review by past users, and its maximum speed of 500 Mbps will still be enough for many people out there. For the rest, its features are very similar to that of the TL-PA7010P KIT.

The maximum distance between the two adapters is 300 metres, which shouldn’t be an issue. The patented TP-Link power-saving mode helps you reduce your consumption by up to 85%. It’s easy to pair your devices using the dedicated button on the adapters, and the powerful AES encryption will protect your home network from external risks.

No. 5: Netgear PLP2000-100AUS

Here’s the last Netgear powerline adapter of our selection, and it ultimately differs from the PL1000-100AUS model by the speeds it can offer. This product can reach a maximum of 2000 Mbps, double that of our top-ranking powerline adapter. This naturally means that it is more expensive, but it could be worth the investment in the long run.

As most PLC adapters on the market, this model integrates a plug-and-play technology for quick and easy installation upon delivery. Each adapter features two Gigabit Ethernet ports, which also makes it stand out from the two previous products. The Push-and-Secure technology allows you to encrypt your powerline connection, protecting you from external intrusions.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about powerline adapters

Everyone is bound to encounter some problem with their Wi-Fi, be it at home or at work. But there is a wide range of devices that can help you solve this issue, and it can quickly become overwhelming. Which powerline adapter do I need? Is it the same as a Wi-Fi repeater or amplifier? In the following section, we tell you everything you need to know about these devices to help you make the right decision.

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Nowadays, we all need an Internet connection that reaches every corner of our home. (Source: Anyaberkut: 53078258/ 124rf.com)

What is a powerline adapter exactly?

Also called PLC (programmable logic controllers), these devices allow you to broadcast your Internet connection’s signal through your home’s electricity grid of your home. That way, you can extend your router’s signal if it doesn’t reach every part of your house. You’ll therefore enjoy a better and stronger coverage.

Powerline adapters require at least two devices to work. The first one picks up the Wi-Fi signal and takes it to your mains. Called an extender, the second one receives this signal through the cables of the house and sends it to the areas where it is plugged.

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Remember that you can use several extenders so that your connection reaches various zones where the reception is weak or deficient.

Why do I need a powerline adapter at home?

Powerline adapters will provide you with a fast, secure and stable Internet connection when the network you’ve set up at home is insufficient or weak. This is a common issue, since the quality and good functioning of any Wi-Fi connection depend on several elements:

  • The distance between the router and the connected devices.
  • The layout of walls, rooms, furniture and ceilings.
  • The presence of other electronic devices or household appliances that may interfere with the signal.
  • The large number of wireless networks in the environment, from neighbours or nearby offices that will also generate interference with the connection itself.
  • The Wi-Fi speed advertised doesn’t only include Internet data. A wide range of other information from the communication protocols are used, which make up approximately 60% of the total bandwidth.
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Australia isn’t particularly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Internet quality. The country is ranked 51st in terms of Internet speed, which is why powerline adapters are so important for you.

How should I set up my powerline adapter?

Installing your PLC adapter is very simple, as the latest models all integrate plug-and-play technology to start working without much configuration. Here’s a quick guide to setting it up:

  • Connect the powerline adapter to a plug near your router. You will need an Ethernet cable for this, which is generally included with your adapter.
  • Connect the second adapter (the extender) in the room or zone where you want to strengthen the signal. You can install as many extenders as there are rooms that need greater coverage.
  • If you bought wireless models, all you have to do now is connect to the Wi-Fi network created by to the adapters. You’ll find the password in the box or on the plug itself. If they are not wireless, you should use the Ethernet cable to connect your devices.

What is the plug-and-play technology exactly?

This technology allows you to use your powerline adapters without having to do any kind of configuration beforehand. It is often spelt Plug&Play. In that regard, the majority of PLC adapters automatically copy your main router name and password at the push of a button.

Do powerline adapters occupy power outlets?

The disadvantages of the very first PLC adapters was that they always required an outlet in every room they were plugged in. Thankfully, most modern powerline adapters now come with integrated plugs. This means that you won’t lose plugs with your PLC, and you can use them for whatever else you want.

Powerline adapter white

Powerline adapters come in many designs, and you can choose the one that most suits your needs. (Source: Le Moal Olivier: 63351304/ 124rf.com)

What is the difference between a powerline adapter and a Wi-Fi repeater?

While many people seem to think the terms are interchangeable, this isn’t the case. Although their goal may be similar, powerline adapters and Wi-Fi repeaters do not have the same job. Here’s a table to help you understand the differences between the two devices:

Powerline adapter Wi-Fi repeater
What is its role? It broadcasts the Internet signal through your home’s electricity grid. It extends your connection’s coverage by capturing the signal from an existing Wi-Fi network.
How many devices are needed? At least two devices: the central one, connected to your router, and the extender. It includes an Ethernet cable. A single device that acts as a repeater and a power cable.
What connection speeds can it reach? This will depend on the powerline adapter you purchase. It will depend on your existing Wi-Fi network.

What are the advantages of powerline adapters over Wi-Fi repeaters?

Powerline adapters offer multiple advantages over repeaters. The most important one is that they provide a much more stable and stronger connection signal. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of these devices:

Powerline adapter Wi-Fi repeater
Advantages Very easy to install. Its connection is more stable because it depends on the electrical current. It is more versatile: ideal for large houses or those with many floors. The vast majority of models feature data encryption systems. It is more affordable and doesn’t rely on power sockets.
Disadvantages It doesn’t work well on multi-socket adaptors and it is more expensive. Its connection is unstable, as it simply repeats an already weakened signal. It is often exposed to unwanted intrusions. If the signal is weak when it reaches the repeater, it won’t work at 100%.

Is it better to use a PLC adapter with Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable?

This depends a lot on how you want to use your powerline adapter. If you’re planning on connecting it need to a video game console, a television or a desktop computer, you will get the best connection with an Ethernet cable. On the other hand, you should opt for wireless powerline adapters if you simply want to get Wi-Fi to your laptop or smartphone. Note that models offering Wi-Fi connections are slightly more expensive, and some adapters combine both options.

What is the Gigabit Ethernet port on my PLC adapter?

Certain powerline adapters will feature a port that is called Gigabit Ethernet. This will allow you to connect a high-bandwidth device to the Internet at high speeds, ensuring for instance the transmission of videos in HD. While this feature is a nice one to have, it isn’t essential either to make the most of your powerline adapter.

Closeup adapter

To avoid external risks, you are advised to get a powerline adapter with integrated data encryption systems. (Source: Kubais: 19866613/ 124rf.com)

Is the design of my powerline adapter important?

You’ll naturally see a wide variety of designs available when comparing different powerline adapters. That being said, the reality is that its aesthetic appearance won’t affect at all the effectiveness of the device. While these devices tend to remain connected at all times, they are first and foremost designed to go unnoticed.

On the other hand, you will want to pay attention to the placement of the various connectors and additional elements that make their use easy. This is the case, for example, for the button to restart the Wi-Fi. You will find some exaggeratedly minimalist models, and others that are overloaded with buttons, lights and even antennas. In the end, your personal tastes will make the final decision.

Shopping Criteria

On the Australian market, the vast majority of powerline adapters feature the latest technology to make their use, configuration and operation as simple as possible. However, there are still key aspects that can make a difference between a good and a top connection. We’ve detailed these criteria in the section below, and we’re confident they’ll help you make the right decision.

  • Connection speed
  • Integrated plug
  • Energy savings
  • Ease of use
  • Safety

Connection speed

This is probably the most important factor when it comes to powerline adapters. Brands generally set the price of their devices depending on the connection speed they offer. Given the conditions of the Internet signal in Australia, we don’t recommend you to opt for an adapter with a speed lower than 300 Mbps. Keep in mind that their efficiency can sometimes be greatly reduced.

BBC News

“Superfast “fifth generation 5G” mobile internet could be launched as early as next year in some countries, promising download speeds 10 to 20 times faster than we have now.”

Integrated plug

Most people use a wide range of different electrical appliances every day. This is why it is essential for you to buy a powerline adapter that won’t take up another electrical outlet. In that regard, check the product description to make sure it includes an integrated plug to make the most of your device.

Energy savings

Since we use so many appliances on top of lighting, many of us are looking to cut those expenses by using devices that help us reduce our consumption. Great news! You will find many powerline adapters that include a very useful energy saving mode. We strongly encourage you to take profit of this, as they can reduce your energy consumption by up to 85%.

Ease of use

The installation manual of many devices can sometimes be overwhelmingly complex. As we mentioned earlier, the plug-and-play technology helps you configure your PLC adapter in a jiffy. All you’ll have to do once you open the box is plug the devices in, pressing a button and enjoy an enhanced connectivity.

Adapter wifi

Powerline adapters and Wi-Fi repeaters do not have the same job. (Source: Le Moal Olivier: 63350691/ 124rf.com)

Safety

So many wireless networks and users with mobile connections surround us. This represents a risk of unwanted intrusions into our devices. This is why you can now purchase powerline adapters that feature an integrated data encryption system, protecting you from potential external dangers.

Summary

We live in a world in constant digital transformation, and many of use cannot afford to have a poor connection. Powerline adapters are your solution to create a local Internet network through your electrical grid. This is particularly helpful when your Wi-Fi signal cannot reach all the rooms or areas you want to use it in.

Nowadays, high-tech powerline adapters are easy to set up, safe and feature integrated plugs so you do not lose power outlets. As you saw in our selection of products, you have access to models that can reach speeds of up to 1000 Mbps or more. Whether you connect them via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, these devices will help you deliver a stable and fast connection everywhere in your home.

If you liked our guide, feel free to share it on your social media for others to learn more about powerline adapters. You can also leave us a comment in the section below, and we’ll be happy to get back to you!

(Source of featured image: Le Moal Olivier: 63350692/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

After a lot of work and studying, Jaiden has achieved his dream of building his own home cinema. Through his profession as a cameraman, he knows his way around technology very well. Meanwhile he regularly gives advice to his friends and family and writes about his technical hobby.