Technology Explained

6 Tips to Improve the Speed of Your Powerline Network

Andy Betts Updated 13-04-2020

A powerline network is a great solution to patchy Wi-Fi coverage in your home. It also helps you get a wired, Ethernet connection to a computer or console without running long lengths of cable around your house.


But if your powerline adapter is slow compared to what you expected, there are some things you can do to fix it. Let’s take a look at how to improve your powerline speed.

What Is a Powerline Network`?

Powerline adapters are an easy and effective way of extending your home network.

They use your existing electrical cabling to carry data, enabling you to push your network into every part of your house without having to install large lengths of Ethernet cables or dealing with the problems that cause slow Wi-Fi.

But while powerline networks are simple to set up, very affordable, and can work well, they’re also susceptible to interference from environmental factors. This can leave you with a network that’s slower than you’d like, and slower than your existing Wi-Fi setup.

A few changes can help you speed up your powerline network.


1. Use the Most Efficient Setup

First things first, you need to make sure you’ve got the basics right. Powerline adapters need to be plugged directly into the wall. Don’t use surge protectors or power strips, as both can block the frequencies that powerlines use.

Ideally, you should also put the adapters on the same mains circuit. Powerline signals can cross from one circuit to another, but they lose strength each time they do.

House wiring can be pretty complicated, so if you don’t have access to an electrical wiring map for your home, experiment by using your plugs in different outlets—and even different rooms—to find the best performance.

2. Distance Matters

powerline setup
Image Credit: Zyxel


Range is a factor you have to consider on any network. The further a signal has to travel, the weaker it becomes. If you use Ethernet or Wi-Fi you are typically limited to 100m or 30m respectively.

For most powerline adapters, the theoretical range is 300 meters. In practice you should try to keep it below 200m.

And remember, we’re not talking about the straight line distance from point A to point B. The amount of wire the signal passes through may be considerably longer than you think it is.

3. Beware Circuit Breakers & Power Cables

Tests have shown that certain types of circuit breaker—specifically, a few brands of AFCI circuit breaker—can block powerline adapters. Since you won’t want to change the circuit breaker itself, all you can do is ensure you don’t plug your adapter into an outlet protected by one of them.


It’s also worth noting that performance depends on the quality of the copper lines in your home. If you live in an old building with old wiring, then your powerline speeds may always be limited beyond your control.

4. Filter Out Noise

plug in powerline adapter
Image Credit: TRENDNet

A lot of mains-powered devices can produce electrical noise that interferes with the performance of powerline networks. In particular, this includes devices that use switch-mode power supplies such as mobile phone or tablet chargers.

Noise has greater impact at the receiving end of the network than at the transmitting end, so reduce it near the receiving end whenever possible. Still, reducing noise across the board wouldn’t hurt either.


The effect of noise is local. Don’t plug your powerline adapter into a twin socket outlet with another device plugged in alongside it, or have another device plugged in within a couple meters of the adapter.

Powerline manufacturer TP-Link recommends plugging devices with electromotors into surge protectors to reduce interference. You can also create a makeshift noise filter of your own by attaching other devices to a long extension lead that’s two meters long or more.

But the best solution for dealing with noise is to use powerline adapters with built-in filtered outlets, like the NETGEAR Powerline 500. These feature pass-through sockets that enable you to use the power outlet for other devices without any effect on performance.

NETGEAR Powerline 500 NETGEAR Powerline 500 Buy Now On Amazon $71.71

5. Upgrade to a Faster Network

powerline adapter speed

If you’ve optimized the environmental factors of your powerline network and you’re still not happy with the Ethernet speed, consider upgrading your hardware.

It’s important to know that the headline speed quoted by a manufacturer for one of its products is not the actual speed you will achieve.

For starters, the speeds often show the upload and download speeds combined, meaning that a 1,200Mbps adapter is potentially providing 600Mbps upload and download at best. And when you factor in noise, distance, cable quality, and so on you can expect to get half, or even just a third, of what it says on the box.

With this in mind, upgrading to faster devices—such as those based on the HomePlug AV2 standard—should always be beneficial.

However, another limiting factor exists. No matter how fast your powerline adapters are, your actual internet speed determines how fast you can connect to the web. Local area network speeds will be fast—such as when transferring files between home machines—but browsing won’t be as fast.

6. Don’t Mix and Match Adapter Types

When choosing your gear, you should always look to standardize on a single system. Don’t mix and match standards or speeds.

There is some level of compatibility between certain standards, but it won’t produce anything close to optimal performance. And if you have mismatched speeds, you will always be restricted to the speed of the slowest one.

To find out which are the right products to buy, take a look at our guide to the best powerline adapters The 5 Best Powerline Adapters for Your Home Network Looking for the best powerline adapters for a more reliable home network connection? Here are the best models you can pick up today. Read More .

Powerline Networks Are Worth It

The convenience of a powerline network makes it an ideal choice for any home, especially if you have areas where your Wi-Fi signal won’t reach.

In most cases powerline adapters will work right out of the box, and with just a little tweaking, it’s possible to speed them up even more. The main thing is to experiment with where you plug in your adapters—different outlets and different rooms can produce vastly different levels of performance.

If you’re thinking of installing a powerline network, here’s what you should know about powerline adapters What Are Powerline Adapters? 9 Things You Need to Know Powerline adapters turn electrical outlets into Ethernet network points. Here's what you should know before using them at home. Read More before diving in.

Related topics: Computer Networks, Ethernet, Internet, Powerline.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. zombini
    March 4, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Reading step one of this just doubled my internet speed! Sometimes it's just something really basic isn't it, I had my ethernet over powerline adaptor plugged into my surge protector, once removed and plugged into the wall it's twice as quick as it was before - thank you very much!

  2. Oddrain
    January 15, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    I have a pair of TPLink AV500 adapters which work OK despite being on different phases of a 3 phase electrical setup.

    IT should be noted that these particular devices only support 100Mbs Ethernet which is probably the limiting factor. Not sure how TPLink can claim 500Mbs theoretical!?

    I was getting around 30Mbs max. However after reading this article I moved one of the adapters off a power strip, with surge protector, onto the wall outlet. Now getting 75Mbs ? The other end was plugged into the wall already.

    Thanks for some great advice!

  3. John
    August 13, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    I switched my reciever to a different outlet and went from 15 Mbps to 115! The wiring in my old house is all kinds of crazy so it was just a matter of finding the right outlet. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Richard B
    January 29, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    I use Powerline on my network. I have a windoze PC downstairs, on the same ring main as the Powerline connection to the router and 3 Linux boxes and a Pi upstairs on a separate ring main. The network also has a couple of laptops and numerous tablets, phones, itouches, radios that connect wirelessly. All the powerline connected devices work well in normal use, presumably it is faster than the external internet connection. Only issue is... I have a shared disk on the network (WDMyCloud) every couple of weeks or so I will back that up to an external disk I keep off site. When I do that I will run a long ethernet cable across the floor to the PC I am using as it is about 5 times as fast as either Powerline or wireless

  5. George
    November 16, 2017 at 1:01 am

    Awesome article thanks for that!

    Big old house in UK here with WiFi-Killing walls and no structured network cable...yet a BT FTTH 300Mbps/30Mbps uplink to use...

    We got some Netgear PLP1200 and TP-Link AV1200 '1200Mbps'kits and I used to get 100mbps down, but just noticed only getting 55Mbps down lol... and your article makes it clear, I have plugged many more devices in the receiving area so they must be making noise... time for some fun.

    it seems now AV2000 is the top end, might have to test some of those, see if I can push some more down the ancient wiring (my sockets don't even have MCB/RCD at the C.U I had to change fuse wire the other day!).

    Thanks again! Bookmarked.

    • George Cooke
      November 16, 2017 at 3:00 am

      Update: You have just taken me from 50 Mbps to 205 Mbps! :D :D :D

      1. I had a lot of noise (other things plugged in) at the receiving end.

      2. I was not using the Passthrough filter sockets.
      - Saying that: in my preliminary test of a 1m extension full of AC Adapters plugged into the TL-WPA9610 (TP-Link AV1200 AC WiFi) passthrough filter resulted in 15% throughput drop, so I will be perusing other means/combinations of NF. I imagine/hope newer Powerline Adapters Filters will be better.

      2. I was mixing vendors (my lame ass excuse is that the noise actually cancelled out the benefit of matching, resulting in mixing being faster than matching, but after removing the noise, a exponential improvement when matching, vs mixing (bad).

      Noise Filtering and AV2000 is calling me.

      Thanks a lot!

  6. BionicJohn
    July 18, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Interesting article, thank you.

    Clearly I'm here to try and crank up the transfer rates of my Devolo system.

    Firstly, the adaptor furthest away (back of the house on another floor) has the highest rate, around 110Mbits compared to about 50MBits elsewhere.

    Secondly, the home adaptor is a dLan 650+ while the fastest (above) is a dLan 200AV+!

    I've checked the mains power cables with a basic tester and they are correctly wired and safe. As I'm not sure exactly how they work, I was wondering if there was any tips on making sure the mains wiring is in tip top order?

    Cockpit screen capture at:

    Cheers, John.

  7. Rick Terry II
    March 2, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Wifi may result in faster speeds but I'm certain you're getting packetloss. Run a constant ping and look at the pack lost every few minutes or for 24 hours then test the power line. Sure there may be speed difference but does your lower line drop packets? Reliability vs speed is what we are talking about here. Don't be misled by Speedtest only.

  8. Shankface
    February 13, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    To avoid interference or reduced performance between powerline wifi and router, I configured each to work on different channels. I put my router on channel 1 and powerline on channel 5 instead of having both on "auto". My techie coworker's suggestion was to do this and distance them by 4 channels. Why 4 and not 3 or 5 or more? You figure it out.
    In the end, all my devices show constant full wifi signal compared to varying signal before when I was somewhere between powerline and router, and streaming doesn't need to buffer /no dropped video calls, which was pretty aggravating. "First world problems" yeah, ok, but I fixed the damn thing and am happy about it so I hope you give it a try and are happy too.

  9. Will
    October 1, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    I am using the TPLink adapters and they worked great at my old house. Once I moved into my newer house i have not been able to ping my router any better than 600-800mbs delay. I freakin sucks cause my router is less than70 ft away down stairs. IDK whatimado.

  10. Mike Turner
    September 4, 2016 at 9:32 am

    I use a SimplerNetworks 200Mpbs powerline to connect to my shed system some 150 feet in cable length away. It starts from the BT HUb v5 router straight into the powerline, through the mains RCB board, into a ring circuit where it is spurred to an external connector box. From there it is carried via a SWA cable into the shed. From there it is jointed to an internal cable feeding a local MCB board which in turn feeds a lighting circuit and a bunch of 13a twin sockets plus a couple of 4 gang extension sockets. One of the twin sockets feeds the second powerline which then feeds an 8 way gigabyte ethernet switch serving my 3 sometimes 4 PC's and an ethernet printer and any other laptops or PC's I am testing.
    This has been working for over 4 years without problems. My normal speed from the main router is approx 36Mpbs and in the shed it's around 28Mpbs. I have thought of upgrading to a faster powerline but 28 does what I it want it to do and the extra cost wouldn't justify the slight increase in speed.
    I can get wifi but that drops to around 18 if the receiver is not blocked by anything and stops completely if there is a PC box in the way and I don't intend to hold a laptop in the air just to prove I can get wifi in the shed. Years ago I learnt that the best way to ensure decent ethernet connections is to make sure all your connections are tight and secure. that also goes for powerline systems.
    The only time I stop using it is when we are mowing the lawn as I am aware the mower can and does produce spikes which I have no wish to have to deal with. 20 minutes every 2 weeks is something I can live with.

  11. Mario
    August 4, 2016 at 8:47 am

    @ Dave: Same for me: 1200 mbps Powerline adapters comes out with 30mbps although I´m having a 120mbps line and via WLAN I´m getting 70-80mbps but with discnnects...that`s why I wanted to chend to powerline/powerlan....

    • Jantjejan
      November 24, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      im getting about 30mbps too in one room, about 65mbps in the other, at a 500mbps connection. Not great. Super stable though, no problems with stability or Ping, but just the top speed is terrible.

  12. Hammer
    July 30, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Just bought powerline adaptors, no matter what I do not as fast as wifi. Getting refund

    • Rob
      March 7, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      Same here, brand new home (built last march) and my wifi in the basement is still considerably faster than powerline no matter what I do. Tried everything in the article and more. And ping is actually worse to respond to the person above. So it's not just the wifi speed, ping is bad too.

  13. Ron Pippin
    July 21, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    I get better speed from the WiFi than with powerline adapters. Not sure why.

  14. Dave
    June 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I have no choice of sockets - unless I have the cable company move the entry point outside my house. My 1200 mbps Powerline adapters, with Cat 6 cables, a 1000 mbps adapter and 235 mbps coming out of my router gives me 35-40 mbps; my wifi checks out at 54.

  15. Jayce
    June 3, 2016 at 2:27 am

    My modem, and water pumps are all in the same room, where should i put my adapter? Outside far away from the room or inside?