Using Powerline Adapters With Fiber/High Speed Internet

Powerline adapters can be great home networking gadgets to expand connectivity, but there will be inevitable compatibility queries as people have different types of internet services and packages. For example, can you use them if you have a super high speed fiber internet service? Or just a moderately fast broadband internet service?

Powerline adapters can be used with any high speed internet service, including broadband and fiber optic installations. They can provide a high speed wired ethernet connection which preserves more of the bandwidth of your package versus using Wi-Fi.

In other words, yes, you can absolutely use powerline adapters with any high speed internet service. In fact, that’s really what they were designed to be used with.

They’re designed to extract the maximum possible speeds out of your current fiber/broadband package, by providing a wired connection between your router and any device(s) you want which can often be faster than a wireless router connection, especially at further distance.

How To Set Up & Use Powerline Adapters

The general setup and pairing process is the same for powerline adapters regardless of the speed and type of your internet service.

  1. Plug one adapter into a wall socket and connect to one of the router’s LAN ports with an ethernet cable.
  2. Plug the other adapter into a wall socket and connect to a device with an ethernet cable.
  3. Press and hold the pair button on one adapter until the LED starts flashing.
  4. Within 2 minutes, press and hold the pair button on the other adapter until the LED starts blinking.
  5. When all 3 lights turn solid green on both adapters, they’ve been fully paired and are delivering an internet connection to your device from the router, via the house wiring.
  6. You can add more adapters to the network to create multiple access points by repeating the syncing process.

This process is exactly the same whether you are using a fiber, gigabit or broadband internet service.

Or, you can just plug both adapters in next to each other in adjacent wall sockets, pair them that way, and then move them to where you need them in the home (see video demo below).


See the powerline page for some good models to get started with.

What Speeds Will You Get With Your Internet Service?

But the obvious follow up question is what speeds will you get using powerline adapters with a high speed internet service?

The bottom line on this is that in optimal conditions, powerline adapters can deliver a high speed connection that will often be better than Wi-Fi, but not quite as fast as if you were plugged into router directly with ethernet.

In my own personal testing of this, I found powerline adapters delivered about 70% of the speeds I got when plugged direct into the router. This is a bit on the lower side. And assuming your house wiring allows them to work, you can expect speeds from 70-95% of what’s get plugged direct into the router with a cable.

But an important caveat to this is that you have you have to have a powerline adapter model that’s capable of the speeds your internet package is also capable of.

Let’s explain by comparing the different packages.

Standard Broadband packages (20-100 Mbps) – Pretty much any newer powerline model, including the TP Link Nano one, can handle these speeds. Entry level models support data transfer of 600 Megabits per second (Mbps). This is only a theoretical number – it won’t be matched in reality. But with any broadband packages, you’re going to be covered. Some older models may not work well, but any up to date model will be fast enough for your service.

Faster Fiber Packages (100-200 Mbps) – Same thing as above pretty much for fiber service that aren’t gigabit but are still fast. A good new powerline model should let you extract good speeds from a faster fiber service when it’s in optimal conditions. You might not get the full speed (you basically never can anyway even when plugged into the router direct).

Gigabit Internet (1000 Mbps+) – If you’ve got a full on gigabit fiber service, be sure to get a gigabit powerline model to extract the maximum possible speeds out of your package. Some higher end models support up to 1000 Mbps transfer speeds; others go up to 2000 Mbps (theoretical maximums). Whatever your internet service is, try to get a powerline kit that matches or exceed the speeds.

Use Gigabit capable models for gigabit internet services

Again, if you’ve got a 1000 Mbps service, don’t ever expect quite 1000 Mbps speeds using powerline adapters, even in perfect conditions. But with a gigabit supported model, you might sometimes be able to get somewhere close on a good connection.

Potential Cases Where They Won’t Work

I always try to put the disclaimer in posts that powerline adapter performance can be very variable and temperamental, and results you’ll get using them depends on a lot of factors that will vary in every case.

Here’s some mitigating factors that can influence whether they work, and the speeds you get using powerline:

  • The house wiring needs to be in good condition for the adapter to communicate. They sometimes don’t work in older houses with complex/worn wiring.
  • They need to work in residence all on the same internet circuit, fed by the same meter. They can sometimes work across different legs/loops/rings of one circuit, and sometimes across phases, but with reduced speeds.
  • Performance can also be affected by interference from nearby devices. Try to avoid using them near high energy use appliances.
  • They don’t work well plugged into extensions and/or power strips.

See our post for more on when they may not work, plus a troubleshooting guide for fixing any problems. Bottom line is that performance isn’t always guaranteed, and speeds can be reduced by interference if they do work.

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