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All posts for the month January, 2018

XAV101 Powerline adapter in our office.

As mentioned in a previous post, I use Powerline adapters to connect networked devices (Roku, Blu-ray player, etc.) to the router/modem in our office.

Powerline uses your house wiring to send data packets between devices.

But electrical noise in our theater room’s AC circuits sometimes affects Powerline’s ability to handle the higher bandwidth needed for video.

In particular, an outdoor pond pump on the other side of the theater room wall recently became a major bandwidth killer.

Embarrassingly, a solution to this problem was right under my nose at the time I wrote that post.


XAV2001 Powerline adapter in our den. Different models and brands are able to work together.

I had just set up a new TiVo Roamio OTA in the den (Cutting the TV cable with TiVo Roamio OTA).

I plugged it into a Powerline adapter in the den to be able to get internet from the office via the adapter already there.

The TiVo Roamio requires an internet connection to periodically download program guide data; Powerline is more than adequate for this purpose; wifi can also be used.

Powerline bandwidth has always been fine in the den, being distanced from the electrical pump noise. Evidently, the den<—>office path taken by Powerline through the house wiring is much cleaner.

Months later, I bought a TiVo Mini extender for the kitchen. It needed to be connected to the main TiVo by Ethernet cable.

I plugged one end of a long Ethernet cable into it. The other end was then plugged into a new gigabit switch in the den, as was the mothership TiVo and the Powerline adapter, both via short cables.

A wired Ethernet (or alternatively, MoCA) connection is needed to stream high volumes of broadcast MPEG-2 video data from the TiVo Roamio to a TiVo Mini. It didn’t work quite as consistently with Powerline (nominally equivalent to Ethernet), as I discovered by experiment.

A month after that, I added a TiVo Mini to the theater room, plugging into it another long Ethernet cable that ran back to the den gigabit switch, connecting it with the main TiVo.

Thanks to our house’s layout, both these cables were able to hug the walls without crossing any walkways.

(Any cable coming out of our office would cross walkways and be very lengthy, thus my original need for Powerline.)


Recently, the pump noise bandwidth hit had gotten worse, and I was talking about it with my friend Tim. While doing so, I suddenly realized that my little problem could easily be solved:

Instead of having the long cable from the den plugged directly into the theater Mini, I plugged it into the theater room’s own gigabit switch, along with the Mini and every other network device in there.

That made the higher quality den Ethernet connection available to all devices in the theater room!

Why didn’t I think of it before? Probably I had fixated on making the theater room Powerline connection work before this fortuitous and circuitous bypass opportunity arose. 🙂

This move also cleared up buffering problems with streaming video served from Plex and Emby on the office PC to the theater room.

I now need only two Powerline adapters, one in the office, and one in the den.


Moral of my story? I should pull my head out occasionally, or talk it over with someone knowledgeable for a fresh perspective.