Do you love streaming the latest shows and movies, but hate dealing with buffering, lag, and other video issues? A powerline adapter could be the answer!
In this guide, I‘ll explain everything you need to know about using powerline adapters for faster, more reliable streaming. You‘ll learn:
- What powerline adapters are and how they work
- Why powerline is better for streaming than WiFi
- How to set up powerline adapters with your Fire TV, Roku, etc.
- Helpful troubleshooting tips for any issues
- And much more!
Let‘s get started.
What Are Powerline Adapters and How Do They Work?
Powerline adapters use your home‘s electrical system to transmit data between outlets. They allow you to extend your network connection anywhere in your house — without running long ethernet cables.
Here‘s a quick rundown:
- One powerline adapter plugs into an outlet near your modem/router and connects via ethernet cable. This links it to your existing network.
- You plug a second adapter into any outlet near your streaming device. The two adapters communicate through your home‘s electrical wiring.
- You connect your streaming device to the second adapter via ethernet cable. This gives your device a wired network connection using your home‘s powerlines.
- The adapters have built-in encryption so the network signal remains secure. No configuration is needed in most cases.
So in just a few minutes, you can enjoy the speed and reliability of a wired ethernet connection anywhere in your home!
Why Powerline is Better for Streaming Than WiFi
Streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video recommend minimum internet speeds of 15-25 Mbps for smooth HD streaming:
|Minimum Download Speed
And for the highest quality 4K streaming, Netflix recommends at least a 25 Mbps connection.
But here‘s the problem:
WiFi speeds often drop below these thresholds, especially in far corners of your home. Obstacles like walls and appliances interfere with the signal. This leads to choppy video and constant rebuffering.
Powerline adapters solve these WiFi dead zone problems by transmitting data directly through your electrical wiring.
According to a study by researchers at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), powerline connections consistently outperformed WiFi at ranges over 50 feet from the router. Powerline offered 3-4X faster speeds on average compared to WiFi.
So if your router is in a different area than your TV, powerline is almost always the superior option compared to WiFi extenders.
TP-Link AV1000 – Best Powerline Adapter for Streaming
When it comes to choosing a powerline adapter, I always recommend the TP-Link AV1000.
After testing over a dozen models myself, I found the AV1000 provides the best combination of fast performance, widespread compatibility, and easy setup.
- Speeds up to 1000 Mbps – Fast enough for multiple 4K streams
- Advanced noise filtering optimized for video streaming
- Gigabit ethernet port for max throughput to your devices
- Plug-and-play with 128-bit AES encryption
- Works with nearly any electrical system
- $50 for a two-adapter kit (around $25 per adapter)
The AV1000 hits the sweet spot of price and performance. With real-world speeds of 600-800 Mbps, it will max out your streaming device‘s capabilities.
And it‘s the top seller on Amazon with over 125,000 satisfied customer reviews. So you can be sure it will work well in your home too.
How Does TP-Link AV1000 Compare to WiFi Mesh Networks?
WiFi mesh systems like eero Pro and Netgear Orbi have become popular ways to get whole home WiFi coverage. But in most cases, I still recommend powerline first for streaming devices.
Powerline pros vs. mesh:
- Faster peak speeds (600-1000 Mbps vs. 300-500 Mbps for mesh)
- Lower latency for gaming and real-time video
- No bandwidth sharing – full ethernet speeds to each device
- Doesn‘t eat up WiFi bandwidth
- Lower upfront costs
Mesh pros vs. powerline
- Single wireless network throughout home
- Better for mobile devices
- No nearby outlet needed
So for stationary gear like your TV, game console, or home theater PC that streams large amounts of video, powerline is almost always the better option compared to mesh WiFi.
Of course, powerline performance depends heavily on your home‘s electrical wiring quality. In some cases, mesh WiFi may work better. We‘ll cover troubleshooting tips soon.
Setting Up Powerline Adapters for Fire TV, Roku, and More
Once you‘ve got your powerline adapters, setup takes just minutes:
Plug one adapter into a wall outlet near your router. Use an ethernet cable to connect it to an open LAN port on your router.
Take the second adapter and plug it into a wall outlet near your streaming device.
Use an ethernet cable to connect the streaming device to the second adapter‘s ethernet port.
The adapters will automatically link to each other using your home‘s electrical system.
And that‘s it! Your streaming device now has a high-speed wired network connection.
Here‘s a quick diagram:
This works great for devices like Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, gaming consoles, and PCs/laptops.
Just make sure your streaming device has an ethernet port built-in or uses an OTG ethernet adapter like the UGREEN USB C Adapter for Fire Stick.
And be aware that the supplied ethernet cables are often short, so you may need a 3-5 foot cable to connect your device.
Powerline Troubleshooting Tips
Powerline adapters are quite reliable when set up properly. But here are some tips if you‘re having issues:
Speeds are slower than expected
- Try different outlets in your home – some electrical circuits work better
- Ensure devices are plugged directly into wall outlets, not power strips
- Check for possible interference from nearby appliances
- Update firmware on the adapters to latest version
Powerline adapters won‘t connect
- Press the Pair button on each adapter to manually sync
- Try different outlets in case adapters are on different circuits
- Reset adapters to factory settings and re-pair
- Verify modem and router are working properly
Unstable connection or frequent drops
- LED lights on the adapters can indicate connection strength issues
- Consider higher-end 1200+ Mbps AV2 adapters for larger homes
- Contact TP-Link support if problems persist
You can also download TP-Link‘s powerline utility to monitor adapter connection quality and speeds.
With a bit of experimenting, you should be able to find outlets that give you reliably fast performance. Powerline technology has improved greatly in recent years, so slowdowns are much less common compared to early models.
Enjoy Smoother Streaming with Powerline Ethernet
Like many cordcutters, you want to stream the best looking video possible. But buffering wheels and fuzzy video quickly ruin the experience.
Upgrading to powerline ethernet can provide a major boost compared to WiFi – allowing you to stream 4K content smoothly to any room.
So give your Fire TV, Apple TV, or Roku the wired connection it deserves. Get your powerline starter kit today and start enjoying your favorite shows without compromise!
Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to help fellow streamers!