Powerline Adapters and Mains Wiring

A Powerline Adapter

A Powerline Adapter

Powerline Adapters, often called “HomePlugs” using the home’s mains wiring to send computer data – this can be very useful in situations where it’s not possible to use wi-fi or run Ethernet cables.

We often get questions about whether or not it’s possible to use Powerline Adapters in certain domestic situations. Here are some notes:

I have two Electricity Meters – Will Powerline Adapters work?

In most cases, HomePlugs will work on electrical circuits that share the same electricity meter. If you have a three-phase power supply (which is not that common for residential properties), Powerline adapters will only work on the same phase.

I have multiple fuse boxes – Will Powerline Adapters work?

In many cases, Powerline adapters don’t work if the transmitter is connected via one Consumer Unit (Fuse box) and the receiver is connected via a different Consumer Unit (Fuse box)

Some users of Powerline adapters report that it works, but based on feedback to us, most report that it doesn’t. The degree of electrical separation and the quality of the equipment may be the deciding factor

Example of a domestic Consumer Unit

Example of a domestic Consumer Unit

My Router is downstairs, and I want to use a Powerline for Upstairs – Will this work?

In most cases, yes, flights of stairs aren’t an issue. Provided the transmitter and receiver go through the same fusebox and electricity meter, you should be able to use a powerline adapter.

I use RCDs – Will Powerline work?

Residual Current Devices (RCDs) are circuit breakers designed to ‘trip out’ if a dangerous condition is detected with the electrical supply. RCDs can be a problem for Powerline Adapters – in some cases prevent signal from getting through, and in some cases, event tripping out when being used to sent data. See Using a Powerline Adapter with an RCD for more

I have a Surge Protector – Will Powerline work?

Again, no definite answer on this one, as it depends on a number of factors. We use a Powerline adapter here in the office going through a mains extension block that’s protected by a surge protector. It works for us – although we note that the speed drops when it goes through a surge protector compared to a direct unprotected connection.

How can I check, one way or another

Each home is different – different lengths of cable run, different quality of equipment. The only sure way to tell, is to try it – either borrow or buy one and see if it works – Even then, it’s not a guarantee, as a high-spec quality Powerline adapter is likely to perform better that a low-speed cheap one. See: Powerline Adapters at Amazon

Alternatives to Powerline Adapters

You can use wi-fi. If you don;t have the range, then consider a wi-fi extender. See

Alternatively, you could consider relocating your router, or running Ethernet cables.


Any thoughts or questions? Please ask in the box below



1 Comment

Kevin CorcoranOctober 21st, 2016 at 10:46 am

Hi – I hope you can help. I have the domestic consumer unit you show in your www above and I need a new cover for it – however I don’t know what model it is and where to source from. It looks the same as the picture and I would welcome some suggestions if possible?
Best regards

Leave a comment

Your comment