Getting the most out of your home broadband

With so many people working at home you may find that your WiFi is feeling the strain especially if you’re competing for bandwidth with your partner and kids.

One way you improve this is to use your ‘ring main’ as a network, which is known as a powerline network.

What you need

Powerline adapters are available on Amazon and made by TPLink, NetGear and others. A basic starter kit is about £30 which will enable you to connect one device to your router over the powerline. If you have a need for speed then you can get 2000Mbps starter kits for about £90.

How it works

By plugging in a powerline network adapter near your router you can connect them together using a network cable. Once in place you can plug in additional powerline adapters and connect your devices to them. When connected you can turn off your laptop, computer or TV’s WiFi connection off and just rely on your power network, which reduces the load on your WiFi.

While power network adapters work best on the same ring main they can work across rings depending on how your electric is wired at the fuse board.

Extending your WiFi

If you have a WiFi blackspot in your house then you could get a WiFi extender that uses the powerline network. This will use the same key as your main router but use the power network to connect to your router rather than WiFi.


  • Does it interfere with my electrical appliances (and vice versa)?
    The electrical wiring in the average home can support a variety of frequencies. As electricity uses 50/60Hz signals, extra data can be transported along the same wiring at much higher frequencies, without causing any interference.
  • How does it work?
    Sending signals across a home’s electrical wiring isn’t a 21st century idea. In fact, the power companies have been sending control signals over the mains since the 1920s ? it’s how electricity meters know when to switch to an off-peak rate.
  • Does it work across circuits?
    Powerline adapters can work across different circuits (although not as efficiently) but this will depend on how your consumer unit is wired.
  • Does my computer need a special port?
    Your device will need a networking port. If you are running off a laptop, such as a MacBook without a networking port then you will also need to invest in a USB or Firewire/Network adapter.
  • What is the speed of a powerline network?
    You can get powerline adapters with varying transmission speeds with ultra-fast ones providing a high-speed data transfer rate of up to 2000Mbps, although this is subject to your wiring.
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