Can I tell if my neighbour is using my Powerline network?

Drsunil V April 22, 2014

How can I tell if my neighbour is accessing Powerline internet?

  1. j0539h
    April 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I purchased two complete sets of powerline devices and placed one in my apartment and one in the apartment next door. I was able to access my neighbors internet without any problem.

    Go to the dhcp options of your router to get a list of devices that have connected.

    • Drsunil V
      May 7, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks. Are both rooms linked to same consumer board ( electricity )?

  2. Robert R
    April 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Another, more secure option is to use 802.11x ARP in ARP tunneling over your ethernet network. This is widely supported in software by all major Operating Systems (Windows, OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, etc.) and is probably the most secure option. It is also a little overkill. Usually the integrated security on the power-line-ethernet adapter should be enough.

    It's fairly easy to detect most simple snooping, which is blatent because anothe adapter hooks in, however if the ethernet adapter snooping is set to listen only, they can often listen without being noticed.

  3. Said Bakr
    April 23, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Your neighbour can only rip your power line Internet in only one case, both of you are stolen electrical current from the public electricity network! :) That because every electricity company supplies their customers with electrometers that measure the consumption . Those meters depends on electrical induction to work. It works the same way as electrical motors. This means at a certain point at the meter the electrical current is transferred by what we can call wireless and the signals of power line internet connectivity do not able to across that barrier.

  4. Hovsep A
    April 22, 2014 at 3:06 pm
    • Drsunil V
      April 23, 2014 at 8:49 am

      thanks. i viewed the link

  5. Oron J
    April 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I think I mentioned in a separate post that Powerline signals don't cross consumer units (the "fusebox" for the house), so if you have separate consumer units, they can't access your Powerline network.
    If you are sharing the same consumer unit, then it's best to protect yourself by encrypting your Powerline network. You do this simply by pressing the "encrypt" button on each adapter within about 2 minutes window. Your Powerline network will then be immune from use even by people who have access to it (unless they have the time to reset the encryption on all adapters, of course...).
    Beside that, the only way to find out will be from router logs (looking which machines connected to the router) or software designed specifically for this (if you look for recent questions on WiFi on out web site you'll find some recommendations). However, the first two methods should suffice.

    • Drsunil V
      April 23, 2014 at 8:49 am

      thanks. nice reply

    • Sunil
      April 28, 2014 at 5:14 am

      Thanks. Please tell , is it true that powerline network cannot be accessed by neighbour if neighbour does not share same 'fuse box' / 'consumer board'? If true , then what another respected respondent "0539h" mentions on this url page that " I was able to access my neighbors internet without any problem." implies that neighbour and the respondent are using the "same fuse box" / "consumer board"?

    • Oron J
      April 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Yes, I also read that response with interest... It's possible that 0539h shares electrical circuits with the next door appartment or that their consumer units do not offer enough isolation.

      In the UK, I would be very surprised if a powerline signal from one property managed to "hop accross" to the neighbours, but it may be that in some other places mains circuits are handled differently. At any rate, if you are concerned about it the solution would be to encrypt your network (press the "encrypt" button on each adapter). Of course, it would be even better to do some testing if you can, but for this you'd need to have the neighbours' collaboration!

    • Oron J
      April 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Spured by your recent note, and 0539h's comment in particular, I did a little more research.
      You'll find an excellent discussion of the points you're interested in at . You should really read the page yourself (at least paras 6 and 11) but the most important thing is that (at least in the US, Canada and a few other countries) "... in apartment buildings there is definitely a chance of your network reaching beyond your unit.").

      You may want to search for specific forums/websites regarding HomePlug/PowerLine technolgy, since this technology is tied into the mains power circuitry so closely, and, as shown by the page I mentioned, there are very significant differences between countries.

    • Bruce E
      April 30, 2014 at 11:16 am

      In the US, you can sometimes find apartments where electricity is included as part of the rent. In most of these instances, it is because of how the building as a whole was wired and the lack of isolation of the circuits. In order for electricity to be billed to individual units, the mains must be completely isolated from all other units and the common areas of the building. If this is not the case, it is impossible for the electrical utility company to discern exactly how much electricity is being consumed by each unit, thus the entire apartment complex is billed as a single entity and each unit ends up pretty much evenly splitting the cost of electricity for the entire complex by having it tacked on as part of the monthly rent. This lack of isolation is also what causes adjacent units to be able to access Powerline networks of their neighbors. If all units are independently metered, the required circuit isolation exists to prevent bleedover to adjacent units.

    • Drsunil V
      April 30, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      I got points of both of you. In general , it should be confined to an apartment , but depending of circuit / consumer / fuse board , it may be an exception rather than a rule

    • Oron J
      May 1, 2014 at 9:21 am

      That's very intersting Bruce - I didn't know that! I'm guessing the same may be true in a lot of places around the world (in the UK it's more likely to be old houses sub-divided into flats, but the principle is the same). In the link I posted above, there's an article that explains why in the US and some other countries, the signal may even "hop" across electricity meters, so there are even more scenarios where the network can "leak" to neighbours.

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