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Boosty (powerline?) thingys to help xbox & computer work in bedroom

(23 Posts)
BlueSkySunnyDay Thu 17-Apr-14 14:24:18


I have had a move of the router (further away from the phone, plugged into master phone socket rather than off of a phone line extension cable) got some new splitters and, with the powerlines, seems to be going well!

Haven't done a speed test yet but intermittent red light on the router has disappeared so far and Internet no longer cuts off when home phone rings!

Thanks for your help.

NetworkGuy Thu 17-Apr-14 12:02:46

I had no idea of your situation, but was hoping to offer a solution that would not end up ultra costly (even if it was only for 1/2 months). May still be worth checking AAISP, to find their "daytime" hours (mostly office hours, I think), and lay down the law - NO INTERNET until 7pm (or whenever).

Just that AAISP and Zen are two of the smaller ISPs which might chase Openreach a bit better on your behalf, than many other ISPs, and after all, getting your line/internet reliable is the aim, isn't it.

BlueSkySunnyDay Fri 11-Apr-14 11:31:18

"{If you can limit how much you use, then something like 2 GB of daytime use and 50 GB off-peak, would cost you £20 (+VAT) each month."

ROFL at the thought of limiting use - I have teens in the house....internet, food and air of equal importance.

NetworkGuy Tue 08-Apr-14 18:40:42

(For clarity, in case anyone wonders - I have no link with AAISP, but remember seeing the offer made some time ago on, and while I have used "Andrews and Arnold" in the past, it was in about 1996 for an Orange mobile phone, a while before AA set up AAISP.)

NetworkGuy Tue 08-Apr-14 18:38:58

So which ISP are you with, and have you a long contract remaining ?

I ask, because I know for your area, Sky and TalkTalk are possibilities (but TalkTalk repeatedly gets complaints of slow speeds and billing problems)... If you are close to the end of your contract, there's a specialist ISP (not cheap, must say, but you'd perhaps only need them for 1-2 months) called AAISP (LINK)) {If you can limit how much you use, then something like 2 GB of daytime use and 50 GB off-peak, would cost you £20 (+VAT) each month.

Reason I mention them is because their main Broadband page (HERE) says

"We'll fix your line even if you are with another ISP!

If you are migrating your service to us, even though you know you have a problem with your line, we'll take on the fault. We'll tackle the problem and get it fixed within one month. If we don't then you can migrate away and owe us nothing for your migration to us and your service charges for that month"

Whether you can migrate to them and try their service for a month or two depends on who you use at present, how many months are left, etc. Best if you are with an ISP which uses BT / Openreach (eg BT, rather than TalkTalk or Sky)

The AAISP broadband packages are far from the cheapest but might get the problems solved for you. They have a 30 day notice on their "Mix and Match" account... and, big warning - if you accidentally picked the "Home::1" account that has a 6 month minimum contract, at £25 (+VAT)

I think you might do OK to try them out for a month or two, see if they can improve your speed, and then perhaps switch to Plus.Net. Since you are in the country, you have fewer choices, and higher prices than the cheapest offers going round, but hope this is helpful and any line fault(s) can be sorted for you.

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 08-Apr-14 15:44:05

Our line crackles and Internet is worse when it rains, I have done the test using a wired phone rather than our usual cordless and its not as bad but still not perfect. The online bt test says there is no problem with the line but neighbours have the same issue - we hoped our new pole would help but it didn't.

NetworkGuy Tue 08-Apr-14 14:13:01

When I was in Wales, for a while I was getting 0.16 Mbps (unless it rained, and I got nothing - voice or internet - for 5 days - until 6 months later and a young engineer spotted a problem with the drop cable from gutter level down to the hall). Then for a couple of years I got 2.5 Mbps, but then they upgraded the exchange to 21C, ADSL 2+, and it went down to 1.5 Mbps.

You can see why I moved to Merseyside - getting about 10 Mbps but when I can, I'll switch to fibre (around 33 Mbps) or more (if I move again).

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 08-Apr-14 13:19:32

Have to smile at 6-7mbps we are lucky if we get 4 or 5.... joys of living in the country!

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 08-Apr-14 13:13:58

No I totally get there is nothing we can do about the internet connection speed we get until BT decide to upgrade the exchange or the village get cable (I am not holding my breath on either.)

Using wifi though is just exacerbating the problem as this is a very solid 1950s house. I will give this product a go, hopefully it will help - worst case scenario I've wasted a few quid smile

Thanks for your help.

NetworkGuy Tue 08-Apr-14 12:17:44

I have to admit I have been keeping my eyes open from time to time to see if anyone is selling off the 14 Mbps units really cheap (as I have a project in mind where the lower speed would be a useful 'throttle control' when connected on a 30 Mbps or 70+ Mbps FTTC link - ie by limiting traffic from one set of computers to "only" ~10 Mbps, the remaining traffic is available for everything else).

I am pretty shocked that you're getting only half speed from one room - have to query what there is (fuse box, surge protection, perhaps) that may be different between the lounge and the other room (where the router is). As it isn't the adaptor it must be something to do with the wiring or associated kit, specific to the lounge, rather than the study.

While AV200 units should be fast enough to make your broadband network the limiting factor, it ain't always so. We have 3 AV200 units and from my study I can get 6-7 Mbps download speed, which is probably limited by the speed of my internet connection. The AV200 unit in my living room seems to have a very poor connection and will only give me about half that although it is an identical unit. I have swapped units around and I always get the same results, so it is not a specific unit causing the problem.

I will be trying AV500 units this week. They are cheap enough now that I would recommend just getting AV500 units not AV200 units even if you can't use the full speed.

NetworkGuy Tue 08-Apr-14 10:01:46

Hmmm, yes, as stated a few times now, the powerline units will just give a reliable connection between the router and other devices, and makes no difference to the "internet connection" (between the router and your ISP).

Have to admit it was my assumption that you had a good link from the router to the internet, and it was just within your home that you were wanting improvement.

Would be happy to discuss further (by phone if you want).

RustyBear Mon 07-Apr-14 19:35:55

Yes, I just meant ethernet cable is quicker than wifi from the router to the device, which is why I prefer to plug in if I'm downloading something big. Not that it increases the speed coming in to the router...

nannynick Mon 07-Apr-14 19:01:49

Is the problem that your overall internet speed is slow, or that it is reasonable if you are next to the router but wifi signal is not strong enough in some parts of the house? If the latter, then Poweline things may help a bit, as it makes a more direct connection to the router. Your bottleneck though may well be the speed of the connection the router gets.

Can you test by using the xbox in another room where WiFi is stronger, assuming the xbox is WiFi enabled?

nannynick Mon 07-Apr-14 18:52:39

It won't improve internet speed at all. It just connects your hardware (the Xbox) to your router.
Internet speed will be down to the connection between your router and the telephone exchange. Phone lines can be very long and have lots of connection points in them, creating line loss. The further from the exchange, the worse the speed in the case of ADSL. Thus Openreach have been installing Fibre to the Cabinet in some areas - Big green box with a fan. If you get one of those near your home, then you can change to Fibre Broadband and speed increases.

What are you actually trying to do - is your xBox currently not connected to the internet?

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 07-Apr-14 14:40:04

Thanks - to be fair we have truly dismal internet here anyway so any improvement will make life easier. Problem is the children are getting more and more technical so the lagging is becoming more of a bugbear for us.

RustyBear Mon 07-Apr-14 12:34:21

I use a pair of these (netgear powerline av500 gigabit) for connecting my Apple TV, internet-enabled DVD and Humax freesat to the router, using a mini-switch (which converts one Ethernet port to four) to allow me to use any of them without unplugging.
I doubt if I actually needed the gigabit version, but it was on special offer at the time and actually cheaper than the other versions!

I got it originally because the Apple TV wouldn't connect to the router via wifi (I suspect the router needs updating, but we are currently thinking of moving from Orange, so I haven't done anything about it yet) but it's useful for the other equipment, and I still have a spare port to plug my MacBook into, which is useful to speed up downloads.

NetworkGuy Mon 07-Apr-14 12:08:44

I doubt there's a "requirement" for the units to provide 500 Mbps - unless you have a fibre broadband service, odds are that you have an internet connection speed (shared by all devices in your home) of between 1 and 20 Mbps, and however fast the 'data via mains' units work, they cannot speed up the link to the nearest exchange / Virgin Media.

I searched for packs of 2 (as you need a pair, at the very least, to be able to link equipment in rooms "A" and "B"). It is common for units of this type to put out a 'general call' to see if there are any others on that set of mains wiring and establish a connection between them. I've had clients with 2, 3 and even 4 units, allowing a router's internet connection to be made available in several rooms via these adaptors (and via wi-fi for part of the property nearest the router).

In your case, you will plug one cable from the router to an adaptor (room A, for example) and when you plug a cable from the XBox to the other adaptor, in room B, the units will pass any data from one room to the other. Many devices first request an IP (internet protocol) address, and generally the router will answer that request with the necessary data.

The units I've seen generally have 3 LEDs, so when you plug the first in, expect to see only a power light showing. When you plug the second in, there should be a second, indicating that it has established a connection with the first adaptor.

Once you have an ethernet cable in at both ends, then the third LED may light (depending on the model) to show data is being passed.

I'll be the first to admit I don't know the fine detail of How it works, despite having studied Radio and Line Transmission back in the mid 70s. Fact is, it is generally plug in and leave it alone... far less hassle than wireless in my view. The only search I'd do would be to identify which makes have been found not to work - perhaps do a search for "XBox not working with HomePlug" (or Powerline, or both)...

Also see info here:

BlueSkySunnyDay Sun 06-Apr-14 21:27:57

Thanks, I will have a look at those. Im assuming, from what I have read, that I need the 500mps for it to work with the xbox.

I notice that generally they come in a pack of 2. Do I assume one is connected via ethernet cable to the router then the other synced to the first then plugged in near the computer (with a cable run from it into that computer?)

I want to get my head round how it works then I will trawl through the reviews to find one successfully used for xbox smile

NetworkGuy Sun 06-Apr-14 08:02:35

Searching for 'HomePlug' came up with many more listings on Ebay. alternative at under 18 quid
("Dabs" mail-order store is owned by BT)

Found a dozen or more in the 17-27 pounds price range with free delivery. Happy to answer questions if you feel lost...

NetworkGuy Sun 06-Apr-14 07:51:49

Bit more on those two Ebay items - the first seems to have a 3 year guarantee, so great value at the price (I'm tempted to stock up myself, for future clients).

Most Powerline (or HomePlug - alternative name) adaptors have notes to say they do not work in power extensions (eg cable to 4 or 6 sockets).

I've used them in locations where placement of mains sockets vs skirting boards make the adaptor impossible to plug in, and extensions while not guaranteed, probably will work, though may not if you have "surge protection" or other fancy extensions smile

NetworkGuy Sun 06-Apr-14 07:44:12

I don't have an XBox but so long as there is an ethernet connection on it (for a suitable cable) then you should be OK.

I've used powerline units myself and for clients with few problems (one did get very hot and the case came apart, because the glue liquified, exposing mains wiring {but some insulating tape to hold it closed gave a new lease of life}).

They started off at 14 Mbps and then 85 Mbps (speed of connection, where most internet connections have been 5, 10, 15 Mbps and more recently 30-40, 60-80, 100-300 Mbps depending on fibre or Virgin cable speeds).

After the 85 Mbps units came out, they added two higher speeds (200 Mbps and 500 Mbps) and these are fast enough to transmit audio/video around the home. I have not used these myself yet (the older, slower ones are mainly still going strong, or clients have bought new kit like iPads with wireless built in).

There's almost no setting up - usually you can just plug one in at each location and the remote unit (XBox) links with the router as if there's just a long cable between them.

Some may come with a setup CD (to allow some settings to be made, eg encrypting the data if you wish). Quick search on Ebay came up with these from Zyxel (a networking firm I've used for different products): twin pack with cables, etc twin pack (no cables?)

The second item is a neat idea having a mains socket too (rather than just filling one socket) but a fiver more expensive and apparently no ethernet cables included (OK, pop into Poundland perhaps, or find some for a quid or two on Ebay).

BlueSkySunnyDay Fri 04-Apr-14 22:08:31

Have spend a delightful Friday evening reading through manuals and am still mystified!

I need to improve the internet connection to the computer and xbox in the bedroom - are these things any good? How do I set them up?

Recommendations welcome.

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