Solved Powerline speed sharp dropoff over short distance

Ultimate Windows 7 ultimate 32-bit
June 24, 2014 at 13:26:39
Specs: Windows 8.1, i7 4790, 8GB
I've recently moved to a 3 story townhouse where wifi router on the 3rd floor can't reach the other 2 floors.
I bought a pair of powerline adapters (with Wifi cloning function) to fix the problem.
Although it works, the speed I'm getting from the client adapter is very slow compared to what the adapter stats described.

Here's the adapters I bought:

In theory I should be getting 500 mbps, in practice, I'm getting 14 mbps.
My method of testing:
-I have a broadband 50 internet connection that gives me 50 mbps speed off the modem/router. Connecting directly to the router confirms that I'm getting around 48 mbps from
-Then I connected the router to the host powerline adapter, and the client adapter to my PC. Both powerline adapters were plugged into the same twin power outlet. Again tested with, speed remained 48 mbps.
-Next I simply moved the client adapter to a power outlet not 5 meters away, performed the same speedtest and the result went down to 18 mbps.
-When I moved the client adapter to a power outlet on the 2nd floor, speed gone down to 14 mbps.
-Weirdly, when I moved further away down to the 1st floor, the speed remained unchanged at 14 mbps.

Neither adapters were plugged into any power strips or surge protectors, I've ensured that no fans or heavy electronics were plugged in near them.
I'm frankly quite stumped and frustrated.
Does anyone have expertise with powerline technology to render assistance?


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June 24, 2014 at 14:48:01
✔ Best Answer
This is more indicative of improper wiring in the house.

You should get a plug tester and test the outlets

Then check that the main breakers connection to the ground rod [usually located outside] is fully seated. Code these days requires two ground rods 10ft apart in my neck of the woods.

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June 24, 2014 at 16:30:34
That does sound like a house wiring problem. Need to verify all outlets are correctly wired (no crossed wiring on a given socket - in that the 'live" incorrectly is where the neutral" should/must be...; and visa-versa). You want neutral to neutral pin/outlet; and live to live pin/outlet.

As Wanderer advises get a socket tester and see what it brings up. Testers cost very little these days. Also if one on of the sockets in the homeplug path your using has a less than proper/firm/secure connection with the house wiring - i.e. the actual conductors going to the back of each outlet aren't properly installed (loose under their respective retaining screws, or not properly inserted into the "screw-less" types used on some back connectors) then this will give poor transmission rates. The "insertion loss" due to poor connections can be "rather high..." in any electronic cct. path...

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June 24, 2014 at 20:21:16
Does this mean that even if only one of the many outlets is improperly wired, the entire electric wire network around my home would be affected?

The reason I ask this is because I've tried plugging the host adapter(And the client adapter for that matter) to a few different outlets around the router (I ran a long CAT wire from the router to the host adapter and then plugging the host adapter into different wall plugs)
Speed is still slow no matter which outlet I plug into.

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June 24, 2014 at 23:16:21
I've found out what the problem is, finally. But now I'm going to need some advice on how to fix it.

The problem is, the room where the router is(has to be) is wired behind an AFCI breaker.
The useless thing basically breaks powerline output by half and accomplishes nothing! there any way to fix/go around the problem(breaker) short of replacing it?

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June 25, 2014 at 08:21:48
GFCI plug/outlet or breaker? Big difference between the two.

Unfortunately if there is a GFCI [ground fault circuit interruption] outlet everything its wired to [in series] is also GFCI.

It would not be safe and against code, against recommendation to replace the GFCI with a regular plug.

Again check the grounding where it goes into the ground. GFCI is dependent on good grounding.

Answers are only as good as the information you provide.
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message edited by wanderer

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June 25, 2014 at 10:43:58
Looks like your worst case scenario...

Barring running a length of cat-5/6 all the way, or at least from a homeplug adapter in a socket before the GFCI (aka an RCD in the UK), you might be able to get a wifi extender to work; be it a specific wifi extender (which connects to main router via wifi) or an additional router that is connected (via wifi) to the main router - which is installed wherever (ideally as close to the isp input to your home)...

I'm not sure about this statement in your initial post though:

In theory I should be getting 500 mbps, in practice, I'm getting 14 mbps.
My method of testing:

You appear to say you are expecting 500Mbps and getting only 50Mbps - straight out of the router at source as it were - i.e. with router connected to your isp/dsl service as close to where it comes in as possible (ideally of course at the actual point itself)? Or am I misreading here? Or is the 500Mpbs a typo and you actually meant 50Mbps not 500Mbps? Confusion still continues here a little (for me at least) with your next statement:

- I have a broadband 50 internet connection that gives me 50 mbps speed off the modem/router. Connecting directly to the router confirms that I'm getting around 48 mbps from

If you have a 50Mbps service from your isp that's the max you can hope for; and likely a wee bit less (e.g 48 instead of 50Mbps) - again due to actual signal path into your property and also within in it.

That slight drop in Mbps 50 down to 48Mbps) is within a a reasonable margin of error; insertion losses etc. might allow that; or quality of connections. In the UK many pay for an allegedly say 50Mbps service and are lucky if they get a third of that... (if over copper not fibre). Cable companies (Virgin in the UK for one, and BT if they bring fibre into your home) will bring most of that 50Mbps (in my example).

The specs. for the TP-link adapters (as in your "link") allow a max of 500Mbps - and all you can get (discounting the isp 50Mbps/500Mpbs service confusion) is a max of 14-18Mbps - after the GFCI - regardless of source of the signal? You appear to have discovered why that is so...; or have you... (see my comments re' UK and the Devolo system below)?

The TPlink kit will handle a maximum of 500Mbps - and hopefully deliver it (or most of it) if it's fed into it... - barring the GFCI issue... But obviously if you feed a 50Mbps signal (e.g. your isp/dsl) into that's the maximum you can expect to get out of it for that particular signal source... In short you get out what you put in (well - umm - almost); and can't (expect to) get a quart out of a pint bottle - as they used to say in the days of Imperial Measures in the UK (before the EEC imposed its will on the "free" world...).

Have to admit I'm a little puzzled as to why part of the house is on GFCI and the rest not so... I can see some/most of the kitchen; and likely the garage/workshop and outdoor outlets...; but why some parts of the rest of house and not all; why the split between floors?

My experience with USA wiring is that these days it's all or none - depending on age of property and when last (re)wired? Which is why of course there are GFCI/RCD adapter plugs for use with outdoor devices (lawn mowers not the least - from Home Depot etc.); and also external (weather proof/protected) socket/outlets too with an integral GFCI/RCD (in USA/Canada - and the UK) - should the house itself not be on a GFCI/RCD - or at least any external/outdoor outlets are not so.

(Allowing that in the UK the wiring system is a "little" different...) I have a house that has some power ccts. on the UK equivalent of an GFCI (an RCD - Residual Current Device) and some that aren't. The fridge/freezer and central heating, and one power cct. into what used to be an office are not on an RCD. But the main power ccts. (three in all) are on an RCD. Fridge/freezer at least cannot be left without power due to a mis-fire/mis-trip(?) of the GFCI/RCD - and they do happen... If that device (for now good reason) trips the cct. to the fridge/freezer, the fridge/freezer will only hold its "coldness" for a finite time; and more than a few pholks have returned from a holiday to find they have pool of water and rotting food etc.due a n RCD (GFCI) tripping for no good reason... I speak from recent experience on this when I returned to my late Mother's home and found just that... To be fair the RCD (the whole house is on one...) had tripped as an electric kettle had decided to fail - even though not in use... The kettle had been left plugged in but not actually in use - although the power socket switch was in the "on" position). The element had rotted through and so an earth (ground in USA/Canada) leak was detected between earth/ground and neutral and the RCD did its job... Said kettle was replaced of course and its replacement is not left plugged in nor the socket actually "on" when no-one "at home"...

Regardless of which power cct. my homeplugs are using (RCD or not) they work fine...; between all three GFCI/RCD ccts. and the one non-GFCI/RCD cct.; and there is no loss of signal between them. I use Devolo homeplugs which are not available in the US/Canada as best I ascertain... Possible their electronics are different to those of say TP-link?

message edited by trvlr

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June 25, 2014 at 14:23:23
Thanks for the reply guys.
To clear some confusion, what I'm referring to is actually an actual AFCI breaker, inside my home's breaker box, and not just a GFCI outlet.
As in, one of these useless suckers is in my home's main breaker board:

Only my bedroom is "protected" by the ACFI breaker, all the other breakers on the board are regular ones.
I think it's required by law to have bedrooms hooked up to AFCI breakers, so swapping it out might not be an option.

So I'm left with the option of basically running a long ass Cat5 cable from my router(which is in my bedroom) to outside into the hallway wall outlet in order to bypass this AFCI nonsense....
Unless there's another way?

p.s. By 500mbps I mean the theoretical speed between the 2 powerline adapters.
What I was looking to do is to use Steam's in home streaming function to stream game feed from my bedroom computer to another computer in the living room, so the only important thing would be the speed between the 2 powerline adapters.
Currently with the AFCI breaker in the way, the maximum speed I'm getting between the 2 is 14mbps(checked with a powerline test utility software) so the streaming is suffering from slow speed.

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June 25, 2014 at 14:47:12
mmm as they say: "you have a problem..."

Not sure how you can "legally" get around that little item; as it is a safety item (for "aged wiring...?). Although your description of chez-vous sounds like your home is not so olde???

A lengthy cable (100metres maximum and using cat-5e or cat-6 - if really keen..) might be the option - but a pain too; although possibly you may achieve a better through put than you have now by using a wifi extender system (in place of a long run cat-5e/6...)? But it likely wouldn't match the best you might get with a the cat-5e/6 approach?

You could also investigate a better (as in higher o/p and greater wifi coverage) router to get a wifi signal "upstairs"?

The chap at this post has a somewhat "high-powered" router that might suffice" (He's seeking "how to get it do what he wants.." advice - which is how I know of it.)

It's the: ampedwireless high powered wireless-N 600wM Smart router; and does claim to be pretty "vicious" in its coverage...; based on the specs. and the manual for it?

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June 26, 2014 at 01:38:08
That AFCI appears to be15amp? Does this single "breaker" control/monitor "all" outlets on the two upper floor? Or is there another cct. up there too - that is not on that AFCI; but which you may not have detected (yet)? Perhaps switch off that cct. (AFCI) and then check every outlet on the two floors to discover if any are still powered? A simple table lamp would suffice for this test? Also check other outlets elsewhere on the first floor in-case any of them are on the AFCI too?

Bearing in mind that Canada/USA use the diversity factor (as was described to me eons ago by an Ontario Hydro safety type) to spread ccts./load on both sides of the distribution panel equally around the property - to minimise neutral currents (never fully resolved in many cases), you may find an outlet on the upper floor(s) that is close enough to allow better results; or at least a shorter cat-5e/6 cable run from a homeplug adapter to the wifi extender?

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June 26, 2014 at 07:32:55
If you're not gaming every single day, and even if you are, the simple answer is a cable from your bedroom to the hall. Or even one long enough to go from the router in your bedroom to the PC in the living room. You just wind it up neatly and stash it in your bedroom when you're not gaming.

If your bedroom and the living room are on the main floor of a house with a basement and the ceiling in the basement is either open or done up with removable tiles, you could easily pull a permanent connection between bedroom and living room. If your home meets this criteria and you're interested in a permanent cable run, let me know and I'll give you a concise explanation on how to do it so it comes out looking neat and professional.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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