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Old 08-12-2019, 12:02 PM
290 posts, read 146,558 times
Reputation: 475


I am looking to blanket my home and a good chunk of my property (the backyard and porch/patio area immediately adjacent) with seamless WiFi coverage (same SSID and password) as I have a couple of different uses for it. First, we spend a lot of time on our patio and deck in nice weather so I have an Alexa Input connected to an old Pioneer amplifier and speakers in my tool shed which has electric via an underground feed from the house-I also tend to play music over the speakers whenever I'm working outside. Right now the Input gets a WiFi signal from the WiFi router provided by our ISP (CenturyLink 10Mbps DSL-we are out in the sticks so that's the best we can get) which is fine most of the time, but every one in a while the signal drops out for some unknown reason. Usually a reset of the router, Input, or both will fix the problem, but its annoying and I think a stronger signal would likely fix it. Next, I recently picked up a set of Bluetooth ear protection headphones so that I can still listen to music when I'm mowing, blowing, weedwhacking, etc...so it would be nice to stream Pandora or Spotify via WiFi while doing so. Finally, we have a chicken coop in the back which I am considering adding a WiFi camera to so that I can easily monitor for predators, etc...without actually going out there. The chicken coop, like the toolshed has an underground electrical feed from the house. The following is a sketch of the property showing the orientation of the various buildings and distances between them:

Obviously the best way to create multiple access points would be to locate maybe two different WiFi routers (one being the ISP supplied router/modem) in the house connected by Cat5 cable, and then by locating WiFi routers in the tool shed and chicken coop (connected by Cat5 as well), but running the Cat5 underground would be a PITA that I'd like to avoid. The electrical lines that run to those buildings currently seem to be just direct-bury wire, so its not as if there is a conduit I could just fish another line through. I did find some direct-bury Cat5 online, but again, if I could avoid digging a trench, laying wire, filling it all back in, fixing the grass, etc...I'd like to. To that end I've been researching powerline adapters quite a bit and the reviews seem to be all over the place with regard to speed and reliability. I've also heard a lot of conflicting information about how much speed degradation results from the signal having to travel through a circuit on one leg of the panel to a circuit on the opposite leg. Some users report no issue whatsoever, and some report speeds so slow that the network is unusable. I'd love to see some real world accounts here since I have built-in electrical infrastructure. Another thing that I haven't been able to figure out is that assuming I go with a powerline adapter system and end up installing two different access points in the tool shed and chicken coop, will I be able to use the same SSID and password for each in order to create a seamless network? I know that there are a few other settings that need to be tweaked so that the access points do not conflict with each other.

Finally, with regard to speed degradation, it should be noted that the network I'm looking to create will really only be used to stream music and so that I can do email while sitting outside and having a drink after work. Its not as if I'll be trying to stream 4K TV or game online. That said, since I'm starting with 10Mbps I don't have a lot of speed to lose...
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:22 PM
Location: McAllen, TX
3,957 posts, read 2,608,667 times
Reputation: 4727
The issue with using electrical wires is most are not direct runs. The meet up with switches, fixtures, outlets, breakers, power strips etc. That is where you will see degradation. With the area you illustrated, I would just get a good commercial-grade router placed in the main house with a good wireless extender in the tool shed. It's not like you are going to be streaming in the chicken coup, are you?

The biggest issues are usually metal walls. What kind of walls are on your building's exteriors?

Last edited by gguerra; 08-12-2019 at 12:31 PM..
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Old 08-16-2019, 07:31 AM
10,752 posts, read 17,999,763 times
Reputation: 10244
Powerline is probably the worst option. Electrical lines by nature are full of noise, and noise isn't good for data transfer.
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Old 08-19-2019, 12:29 AM
Location: Portland, OR
1,029 posts, read 1,831,180 times
Reputation: 1392
Honestly, forget powerline adapters. They don't work. Any noise suppressor or anti-surge device on either phase and literally anywhere on the circuit will cripple their bandwidth to 10's of kbits.... Since nearly every power strip these days has snubbers, the chances of them working are pretty much 0. Either get a dedicated point to point Ethernet extender (not ideal) or bite the bullet and lay cat-6, direct bury cables wired directly to the router or switch. Oh and WIFI repeaters will halve your bandwidth should you choose to go that route.
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Old 08-23-2019, 06:37 AM
2,895 posts, read 1,700,072 times
Reputation: 2965
Originally Posted by timfountain View Post
Honestly, forget powerline adapters. They don't work.
Oh really? You obviously have never used one. I have, two different houses for the past 10 years. Works fine, with good throughput.

Like the OP, my current house is DSL served, so even if my throughput isn't gigabit, it does not matter.

Yes, it is true that they probably don't work well wit surge suppressors but I've never tried.
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:50 AM
7,121 posts, read 3,891,444 times
Reputation: 6660
I’ve used powerline adapters for close to 20 years. I’ve had good success but mixed throughput.

The most success - running across the same room on the same circuit.

The least success - traversing electrical panels to another spot across the house. It will connect but only give a few Mbps, even with the fastest adapters.

WiFi repeaters will halve throughput, but mesh networks with a dedicated backhaul channel (like Eero’s second generation) won’t.

For OP’s use of streaming audio powerline should work fine. Camera might be a different story depending on bandwidth requirements.

Another option, which I use today in my current home, is MoCA as the house wasn’t fully wired for Ethernet (and where it was, Cat 5 ugh) but nearly every room was wired for cable TV. Better and more consistent throughout than powerline. OP could also trench some coax.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:49 AM
Location: McAllen, TX
3,957 posts, read 2,608,667 times
Reputation: 4727
No sign of the OP?

He/She even went as far as to provide a diagram of the property but not even a word?
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:21 AM
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,815 posts, read 13,954,365 times
Reputation: 8047
Originally Posted by gguerra View Post
No sign of the OP?

He/She even went as far as to provide a diagram of the property but not even a word?
Thanks for pointing that out and saving my time posting.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:07 PM
28,607 posts, read 40,583,741 times
Reputation: 37262
I was going add an easy way to fix it, but since the OP bailed I'll leave it out.
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