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#1 2014-08-14 06:03:38

frazer
Member
Registered: 2013-12-09
Posts: 56

[SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

Hello,

Firstly, this question is not Arch specific, however, as an Arch Forum user, I have found Arch Forum Users to be the most 'widely knowledgeable' not only about Arch, but all hardware situations surrounding an Arch Setup (I'm a relatively new, and very keen Arch user).

My query is this:

I have a fibre optic broadband router which can provide more bandwidth than a single powerline adapter (ZyXEL PLA4201 v2 500 Mbps) can realistically provide to the desired location.  [Other network traffic transfer options are obviously not an option (WiFi, Ethernet etc. and need not be discussed)].

If I utilise two powerline adapters (ZyXEL PLA4201 v2 500 Mbps) connected to my fibre optic broadband router and two power sockets at that location, and two powerline adapters connected at the same end power connection, am I likely to achieve a higher throughput by:

a) connecting them on the same vlan (all four 'paired' on one vlan)

b) connecting them via two separate vlan's (two 'paired' on two vlans)

How I utilise the connection at the terminated powerline connectors may vary - as such, my question is simply as above.

If this question is deemed inappropriate for this forum - obviously I apologise and shall remove - if so, please could anyone suggest if there is any sub-section to the forum that I would be better to post this question?

Thank you so much to anyone who can explain the technical explanation to this query!

Frazer.

Last edited by frazer (2014-08-14 23:11:36)

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#2 2014-08-14 13:24:45

rsmarples
Member
Registered: 2009-05-12
Posts: 132

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

The correct answer none.

You could install 1 or 100 500Mbps homeplugs, you still only have 500Mbps because it's shared and not accumulative. This is regardless of any networking protocols you're running.

I personally gave up on the technology as my plugs (asus and tp-link) kept on freezing, not talking to each other and getting too much interference from other things. I have moved house with the plugs and the problems remained, so I'm back to using wireless which has the same limitation, the bandwidth is shared and isn't accumulative. But at least my 300Mbps is stable and reliable. For reference I run a WR-901ND and a WA841ND, both running the latest OpenWRT RC release. They talk too each other via WDS and are at opposing ends of the house. The WA841ND also acts as a switch for my TV, games console and other such toys. Could not be happier smile

Now, you could mix wired and wireless for 800Mps, but that's another project wink

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#3 2014-08-14 23:11:16

frazer
Member
Registered: 2013-12-09
Posts: 56

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

Thank you very much for your help rsmarples - I shall email you as my questions will be regarded as off topic I presume.

I shall mark this as solved.

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#4 2014-08-15 03:13:03

runical
Member
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2012-03-03
Posts: 776

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

rsmarples wrote:

You could install 1 or 100 500Mbps homeplugs, you still only have 500Mbps because it's shared and not accumulative. This is regardless of any networking protocols you're running.)

Sorry for responding on a [SOLVED] topic, but I think you might be wrong here (at least in some cases). Say I were to take 4 powerline network adapters and take each pair to a separate powerline (maybe even group), I should be able to get a cumulative speed, as you are no longer sharing one cable. This sharing of the cable is, if I understand correctly, the reason why the bandwidth is shared (there is only so much information you can put through a single line of copper). I have no experience with networking with multiple lines, but I guess that should be doable.

Am I correct in assuming that the powerline adapters can (theoretically) be plugged in in such a way that the bandwidth becomes cumulative, or is my assumption flawed?

Just trying to understand, so if you have the time, please do elaborate. Thanks anyway smile

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#5 2014-08-15 08:37:53

rsmarples
Member
Registered: 2009-05-12
Posts: 132

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

runical wrote:
rsmarples wrote:

You could install 1 or 100 500Mbps homeplugs, you still only have 500Mbps because it's shared and not accumulative. This is regardless of any networking protocols you're running.)

Sorry for responding on a [SOLVED] topic, but I think you might be wrong here (at least in some cases). Say I were to take 4 powerline network adapters and take each pair to a separate powerline (maybe even group), I should be able to get a cumulative speed, as you are no longer sharing one cable. This sharing of the cable is, if I understand correctly, the reason why the bandwidth is shared (there is only so much information you can put through a single line of copper). I have no experience with networking with multiple lines, but I guess that should be doable.

Am I correct in assuming that the powerline adapters can (theoretically) be plugged in in such a way that the bandwidth becomes cumulative, or is my assumption flawed?

Just trying to understand, so if you have the time, please do elaborate. Thanks anyway smile

Well, power is generally done in "rings". Thus in a house with two floors there is a ring for each floor.
Here's where my knowledge isn't that great - the rings are separate but still slightly joined; ie a plug upstairs can talk to the plug downstairs but not very well because they are not on the same ring.
Thinking about it, my bulk of my problems were with comms between the two floors.

It might be fair to say that each floor has 500Mbps, but floor to floor comms due to noise is only 80Mbps - that 80 Mbps is shared still. Say that you have your router downstairs and 4 computers upstairs - due to the noise between floors (basically your fuse box) each computer upstairs shares part of the 80Mbps to talk to the router so in an equal world that 20Mbps each.

But let us say the rings are not joined. They would then be two different networks each with 500Mbps, but as they are not joined they could talk to each other, but I'm not sure I'd like to physically connect them via plus anyway. Could explode, I'm not an electrical engineer so can't say smile

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#6 2014-08-15 08:53:16

rsmarples
Member
Registered: 2009-05-12
Posts: 132

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

Oh one final note, latency.

While you may get better overall throughput over powerline as it can theoretically tick faster than wireless, latency is a real problem.
My 200Mbs powerline adapters while fast, had a latency of 150ms. This is almost as bad a internet gaming in different countries.
My wireless network, even at 150Mbps, has sub 1ms latency.
Take this into account if you play twitch based games.

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#7 2014-08-15 15:52:53

runical
Member
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2012-03-03
Posts: 776

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

rsmarples wrote:

Well, power is generally done in "rings". Thus in a house with two floors there is a ring for each floor.
Here's where my knowledge isn't that great - the rings are separate but still slightly joined; ie a plug upstairs can talk to the plug downstairs but not very well because they are not on the same ring.
Thinking about it, my bulk of my problems were with comms between the two floors.

I think this differs between countries. As far as I know (I am an electrical engineering student, but not an electrical technician, so not very knowledgeable about the codes), this is not always true. At least in the Netherlands, the power is usually connected in a star connection. This means that there is one central point with cables to the power points. These rings you are talking about were common back in the day though (like in the UK where they even designed the power plugs with this in mind).

At least in the Netherlands they work with "groups", but these groups are not necessarily 1 floor. However, now I think about it, you are correct. These rings/groups are not completely isolated from each other as houses are usually connected to one phase of the power grid.

rsmarples wrote:

But let us say the rings are not joined. They would then be two different networks each with 500Mbps, but as they are not joined they could talk to each other, but I'm not sure I'd like to physically connect them via plus anyway. Could explode, I'm not an electrical engineer so can't say smile

If the plugs are well designed, they should be isolated from the actual power outlet. Trust me, I'm an engineer (almost) tongue

rsmarples wrote:

While you may get better overall throughput over powerline as it can theoretically tick faster than wireless, latency is a real problem.
My 200Mbs powerline adapters while fast, had a latency of 150ms. This is almost as bad a internet gaming in different countries.
My wireless network, even at 150Mbps, has sub 1ms latency.
Take this into account if you play twitch based games.

Good to know, I didn't even think about the latency.

Thanks for your answer, I appreciate it.

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#8 2014-08-15 17:41:23

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,419

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

runical wrote:
rsmarples wrote:

Well, power is generally done in "rings". Thus in a house with two floors there is a ring for each floor.
Here's where my knowledge isn't that great - the rings are separate but still slightly joined; ie a plug upstairs can talk to the plug downstairs but not very well because they are not on the same ring.
Thinking about it, my bulk of my problems were with comms between the two floors.

I think this differs between countries. As far as I know (I am an electrical engineering student, but not an electrical technician, so not very knowledgeable about the codes), this is not always true. At least in the Netherlands, the power is usually connected in a star connection. This means that there is one central point with cables to the power points. These rings you are talking about were common back in the day though (like in the UK where they even designed the power plugs with this in mind).

I believe that wiring in rings is a UK thing.  The idea being that you loop the end of cable run back to the breaker so that, from any outlet, there are two paths back to the breaker.  This causes the IR drops on a given circuit to be somewhat mitigated, as no outlet is way out at the end of a run.   In North America (certainly) and I believe most of the world, power is distributed from the breaker panel in a star pattern.  Ideally a device on one outlet talks to a device on another outlet on the same breaker.  It probably provides the best signal integrity.  There is nothing wrong, however, from having to go all the way back to the panel, through a breaker into the bus bars. out another breaker and to an outlet on another branch.  It just provides more opportunities to introduce noise.  A reduction in signal to noise generally results in increased BER (Bit error rate)

As to the concept of loops.  I had never considered this before, but there is a problem with this layout.  Not necessarily with power distribution, but rather with the integrity of high speed signals.  Arguably, this can no longer be considered a lumped system as the signal propagation time between elements is not small relative to the wavelength of the signals used.  As a loop provides at least two paths from any one point in the system to another point in the system, a signal sent along these separate paths will arrive at the destination at different times.   Depending on the specifics, this could result in nulling and  phase shifts, or in the more extreme, echos.   If things are on a different ring, there are at least four paths between outlets on different rings.  That starts to pose some significant signal integrity issues.   It gives me reason to give the guys that designed this stuff a bit more respect.

Last edited by ewaller (2014-08-15 18:07:38)


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Like you, I have no idea what you are doing, but I am pretty sure it is wrong...Jasonwryan
----
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#9 2014-08-16 01:19:09

defears
Member
Registered: 2010-07-26
Posts: 218

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

Star patterns are only commercial mostly and technicaly called Y. Most US residential systems are single phase with a neutral, which is grounded midpoint. No rings here. Plus the last house I worked on had 260 breakers. That's 260 circuits to have problems. The US has the first/oldest/worst system for electronics.

That aside, from experience, these things only have a 50/50 shot of working here only because the electrical system in most peoples homes have been hacked and screwed up by DIY's constantly. Just because something works, doesn't mean it's safe ,correct, code compliant and free from interference.

While I don't know of this brand specifically, some have in the instructions about only being able to be used on the same phase. Which means you literally only have a 50/50 shot of it working. (If everything else is perfect) If you have any 2 pole breakers in your panel your probably fine because the signal will "jump" to the other phase through your air conditioner windings or whatever, but at a random level of interference depending on age of equipment or maintenance. For example an arcing ground from a winding of a motor will run perfectly fine, but create RFI and screw your adapters up. Also the panel does not give a physical connection between phases.

If this for a commercial establishment, the Y system will only give you a 33% change of being on the same phase. If there are no 2 or 3 pole breakers in any panel, the only physical connection is the utility transformer. Unless you have multiple transformers everywhere which means you virtually have no chance of being on the same phase. Every time I see these in commercial, they always fail to work properly. Plus most commercial has grounding/bonding issues that most people don't know about.

Just wondering a few things.
What country?
Commercial or residential?
Is the building more than 5 years old?

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#10 2014-08-16 01:59:45

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,419

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

defears,
I agree with everything you said, including the problem of being on a different phase and how they would be bridged in a carrier based communication system.   But, for clarity,  when I said 'star', I was not talking about bi-phase, delta, or Y configurations.  When I said 'star', I was merely pointing out that single phase convenience outlets are connected to cables that radiate out from the breaker panel -- One cable run for each breaker.  Those cable runs do not loop back.  Yes, each of those cables has a hot which has an AC voltage mostly centered around ground, a neutral which is pretty close to ground, and a ground wire which is not supposed to carry any current under no-fault conditions.

260 Breakers!  At about US$20 / single pole breaker.  Ouch.


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Like you, I have no idea what you are doing, but I am pretty sure it is wrong...Jasonwryan
----
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#11 2014-08-16 02:26:45

defears
Member
Registered: 2010-07-26
Posts: 218

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

ewaller wrote:

defears,
I agree with everything you said, including the problem of being on a different phase and how they would be bridged in a carrier based communication system.   But, for clarity,  when I said 'star', I was not talking about bi-phase, delta, or Y configurations.  When I said 'star', I was merely pointing out that single phase convenience outlets are connected to cables that radiate out from the breaker panel -- One cable run for each breaker.  Those cable runs do not loop back.  Yes, each of those cables has a hot which has an AC voltage mostly centered around ground, a neutral which is pretty close to ground, and a ground wire which is not supposed to carry any current under no-fault conditions.

260 Breakers!  At about US$20 / single pole breaker.  Ouch.

Actually with the new laws making us use AFCI breakers, that's $50 / single pole breaker for about 90% of them. Good for me, bad for home owner. LOL

Ahh, OK, in the NEC, star and Y are the same thing. 3 Phase tranformer windings. I just never heard it outside of that context.

Fun fact: About 15 years ago I read a few articles about the power company putting powerline carrier internet at their tranformers on the poles for customers. Sounds like a great idea except the few they tested failed miserably because of hacked up wiring in one house, screwing up anothers reception. The power company gave up when only 5 out of 30 worked properly. That's sad.

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#12 2014-08-16 02:43:02

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,419

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

defears wrote:

Actually with the new laws making us use AFCI breakers, that's $50 / single pole breaker for about 90% of them.

I didn't know that.  I guess my days of building Jacob's Ladders at Halloween are numbered.  It also shows that I have not been keeping abreast of changes to electrical code.  As a practicing EE, I should rectify that.


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Like you, I have no idea what you are doing, but I am pretty sure it is wrong...Jasonwryan
----
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#13 2014-08-16 02:53:55

runical
Member
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2012-03-03
Posts: 776

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

defears wrote:

That aside, from experience, these things only have a 50/50 shot of working here only because the electrical system in most peoples homes have been hacked and screwed up by DIY's constantly. Just because something works, doesn't mean it's safe ,correct, code compliant and free from interference.

Talk about DIY. My parents recently teared down an old house. All of the pipes were copper and there were several connections that were wired through. It is a wonder it worked as well as it did. It was a good thing that there were no big power consuming appliances upstairs. Just think about the eddy losses in those copper pipes if there is a significant 50/60 Hz current going through there.

Also, how does a house have 260 breakers? Was there a breaker per outlet?

ewaller wrote:

When I said 'star', I was merely pointing out that single phase convenience outlets are connected to cables that radiate out from the breaker panel -- One cable run for each breaker

Yep, that was indeed my intention as well. I meant it more in a network graph kinda way. Exposure to other disciplines like computer science makes you mix up terminology sometimes.

I must say that this is really an interesting read, even though I have the lingering feeling that I should know most of this by now (fifth year electrical engineering student). I hope I didn't derail the thread to much with my question.

Last edited by runical (2014-08-16 02:58:26)

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#14 2014-08-16 03:23:56

defears
Member
Registered: 2010-07-26
Posts: 218

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

It looks like the 2014 NEC, when it comes out, will require houses to have 99% AFCI breakers. Whick means commercial is just around the corner for them. All hell is going to break loose when computer circuits start nuisance tripping with them. It's OK, I just blame the EE. ;-) Doesn't matter, you all got paid already. I can't wait to do another doctor or dentist office when I have to use them. Good times are just around the corner.

BTW, that house is 18,000 SqFt, 2 guest houses, pool house, club house, 8 car garage, Koi pond, lighted tennis court, pool, boat lift, and a dog house. Yes a dog house that is 1,100 SqFt. My condo is 950 SqFt. Now that I thought about the dog house again, I'm going to go get another beer.

@EE's
I haven't been there in years, but this the best forum for the electrical trade. I learned alot from that site.Very professional.
http://forums.mikeholt.com/

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#15 2014-08-16 16:12:57

rsmarples
Member
Registered: 2009-05-12
Posts: 132

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

runical wrote:
rsmarples wrote:

Well, power is generally done in "rings". Thus in a house with two floors there is a ring for each floor.
Here's where my knowledge isn't that great - the rings are separate but still slightly joined; ie a plug upstairs can talk to the plug downstairs but not very well because they are not on the same ring.
Thinking about it, my bulk of my problems were with comms between the two floors.

I think this differs between countries. As far as I know (I am an electrical engineering student, but not an electrical technician, so not very knowledgeable about the codes), this is not always true. At least in the Netherlands, the power is usually connected in a star connection. This means that there is one central point with cables to the power points. These rings you are talking about were common back in the day though (like in the UK where they even designed the power plugs with this in mind).

At least in the Netherlands they work with "groups", but these groups are not necessarily 1 floor. However, now I think about it, you are correct. These rings/groups are not completely isolated from each other as houses are usually connected to one phase of the power grid.

I'm from the UK, hence rings smile
I didn't know that other topologies existed, good to know.

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#16 2014-08-22 18:05:52

frazer
Member
Registered: 2013-12-09
Posts: 56

Re: [SOLVED] Powerline Query - Not Arch Specific

# Solved

Last edited by frazer (2014-08-24 09:50:44)

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