What is Ethernet Over Powerline?

Thanks to modern technology, we have ethernet, WiFi, and all sorts of wireless devices that can be used for various things. Ethernet is especially nice for those who need the internet so they can work. The only question is, how exactly does ethernet work, and should you use it?

Ethernet, like WiFi, is meant to provide internet connections for electronic devices. However, while WiFi is a wireless connection, ethernet through a powerline usually comes in the form of an adapter that can be plugged into the wall and provide ethernet connectivity outlets in a home.

Don’t worry, none of this is quite as confusing as it sounds! If you are interested in learning a bit more about powerline ethernet, continue reading below. Included in this article is information about how ethernet works, how to set it up, whether or not it’s a good option, and a few pros and cons!

How It Works

An ethernet powerline connection is pretty simple. Most newer and more advanced powerline kits are something of a step between wireless and wired connections. Powerline kits usually contain a couple of ethernet cables and two adapters that can be plugged into the wall.

Ethernet was designed to connect computers, TVs, and a few other devices in a way that allows information to be shared. It is considered a reliable way to access the internet because it’s often more dependable than WiFi and less bothersome than having all of your devices connected to the WiFi router through wires. Ethernet only requires you to set up a few cables nowadays.

That’s how ethernet connects, but how does it work? Unlike WiFi, which sends data and signals over the air, powerline ethernet uses the electrical wiring already inside your house to send information and signals to all your chosen devices. Again, it’s a fairly simple concept, especially since that’s one of the ways devices were connected to the internet before WiFi was available.

Setting Up

Setting up powerline ethernet is fairly simple. Start by plugging in the adapters you got in your powerline kit. Once that’s done, you can use the ethernet cables in your powerline kit to connect to the adapter and then to your router or your smart TV. That’s all there is to it!

Is It a Good Option?

By now, you’re probably thinking that ethernet sounds pretty good simply because of the ease of setup. You’re not wrong! A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that because something is wireless, it’s automatically faster and more efficient. That can be true, but ethernet is a definite exception.

Ethernet provides all the benefits that WiFi does but with fewer interruptions in connectivity. WiFi is fast, but sometimes it can be completely unreliable. Wired connections have often proven to not only be faster but also much more dependable. Some people also think that having a bunch of wires taking up valuable space in your house is a real pain, and they’d be right.

The nice thing about powerline ethernet is that really, you’re only going to need two or three cords that can easily be kept out of sight if you wish. Setting ethernet up is no harder than setting up a new WiFi connection. If anything, it can often be a bit easier and less frustrating.

A study done by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) acknowledges that there are a few issues with powerline ethernet, but for the most part, using it will give the connectivity in your home an edge. So, if you’ve been wondering up until now whether or not it’s a good option, the answer will most likely be a resounding yes.

Recommended Powerline Adapters:

The ZyXel G.hn 2400 has a rating of over four stars with over 1,5000 reviews. It costs $79.99 which is a fairly normal price for a powerline adapter. When not in use, it will go into standby use which will help reduce your electric bill. Optimized WiFi connection is possible for all of your devices when you use this product.

The ZyXEL 1300 costs $69.99 and has a rating of just over four stars. Many products do not offer good reliability, however, the ZyXEL 1300 does. Consistency is key, and this product capitalizes on that need. High-speed WiFi is a given and it will be able to reach your outbuilding if it is nearby. Its easy-to-use setup allows even those who are challenged with technology to be able to start using this powerline adapter.

The NETGEAR Powerline Adapter costs $109.99, which is more expensive compared to others of its kind. Although it has a higher price, it is made with high-quality materials and is guaranteed to last. The powerline adapter has been given over 5,500 reviews, most of which are praiseworthy, giving this product an overall 4.2-star rating. Devices in your outbuilding will finally work and you will no longer have to put up with faulty WiFi. The expanded network reliability is enough of a reason to purchase this powerline adapter.

Pros and Cons

As we have seen, there aren’t a lot of apparent downsides to using powerline ethernet. However, it has a few aspects about it that not everyone is a fan of. Here are a few of those pros and cons that might help you make up your mind.


First, the simplicity of both the setup and overall function of powerline ethernet are widely appealing. It’s not hard to set up, and it’s not hard to keep running without difficulty. This is nice, not only for those who work and spend a lot of time online, but also for those who are not confident in their tech skills. It’s a relatively stress-free solution!

In addition, powerline ethernet can usually be relied upon in every instance. Wireless WiFi is plenty reliable for most people, but wireless connections aren’t always as fast or as dependable as wired ones. Powerline ethernet is easy to set up, plus it’s much faster and twice as efficient and reliable.

Ethernet is nice for the aforementioned reasons. However, you’ll want to go with the powerline method because the adapters are not only portable but easily so. You can plug them into whichever outlet best suits you, plus if you end up needing to move them for whatever reason, it won’t take a huge reset process to do so.


There are a few cons to using ethernet. For starters, you may not want your adapters to be what’s taking up space on your electrical outlets. Most people like to try to hide the eyesores that are ethernet and WiFi equipment. The adapters aren’t extremely large, but they are still bulky enough that you may not want them to be seen by your houseguests, as they can be an eyesore.

While ethernet is supposedly much more efficient than WiFi, it is still going to experience issues from time to time because no plan is completely foolproof. However, this probably won’t feel like much of a downside for you, especially if the number of cons is fewer than those for completely wireless systems.

The cons of powerline ethernet are difficult to find if we’re being honest. If you choose to go this route, you are more than likely to appreciate the speed and efficiency of the system, and you might never go back! As long as you set up the system correctly, you can use ethernet to access the internet.

Sujatha Naidu

Passionate blogger and Technology enthusiast. I love DIY home projects, here I am sharing my experience.

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