In order to achieve a good Internet speed we can use different devices. A very useful option is to have a PLC. Now, not all of them work the same and not all of them are really going to achieve a noticeable improvement in the connection, so it is good to know which one to buy. We are going to see some points to take into account to buy PLC devices that work well with fiber optics .
How PLCs work
PLC devices take advantage of the power line to carry the Internet connection from one place to another in a home. They are a very interesting solution to avoid dead zones, which are the spaces in a house where wireless coverage does not reach or is so limited that it does not allow good speed.
There are two devices (although there may be more) and one of them is going to be connected to the router and to electricity , while the other is placed in another area of the house, also connected to electricity. In this way they will be paired and the network will go from one device to another.
They are an alternative to other options such as using a Wi-Fi repeater. In this case they will not connect to each other wirelessly, nor to the router. By using electrical wiring we can achieve better performance, higher speed and avoid certain problems that may appear due to distance. Of course, as long as the conditions are optimal, as we will see.
They are of different types and characteristics . Some have the possibility of offering Wi-Fi connection, while others only by cable. In addition, within the latter they can offer more or less speed depending on their specifications, so it is convenient to choose very well which one to use.
What to consider when buying these devices
If you need PLC devices for fiber optics it means that you are going to want a good speed. It is of little use to have devices that greatly limit the speed and you cannot take advantage of the contracted rate to be able to download correctly from the Internet, watch streaming content in high quality without cuts, etc.
Gigabit Ethernet ports
Something essential to buy PLC devices and that they work as well as possible with fiber optics is that they have Gigabit Ethernet ports. In this way you will be able to reach the maximum speed of up to 1 Gbps in the best conditions. If it is a device that only supports up to Fast Ethernet, the speed will be limited to 100 Mbps. If you have, for example, a rate of 600 Mbps, you could not reach more than 100 connected by cable.
Another point related to ports is their number . How many will you need? Here are differences between models. Some have only one port, while others may have multiple. If you are going to connect more than one device by cable, it is interesting to acquire PLCs that have more than one.
This is very useful for, for example, being able to connect a television and a computer via Gigabit Ethernet cable in the same room. This way you will achieve good stability and you will not have problems with speed at any time.
Another option to get the best speed when using PLC and having fiber optics is for the devices to have dual-band Wi-Fi. This means that you will be able to connect to both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands . Each of the two options has its positive and negative points.
If we focus solely on achieving the highest speed , without a doubt the 5 GHz band is the one that will allow you to connect a computer, television or any device to the PLC and make the Internet go faster. Of course, you must bear in mind that it is more sensitive to distance and possible obstacles, so the ideal is that you connect nearby.
Instead, having the option to use the 2.4 GHz band will allow you to connect devices further away. In this way you will achieve greater stability, without the dreaded cuts appearing, although the speed is not that high and you may have certain limitations in some uses such as downloading large files from the cloud.
What maximum speed are supported by the PLC devices you are going to use? Since you are going to connect by fiber optics, the ideal is that they be fast and there are no limitations. They can act as a bottleneck , since there are models that do not support more than 500 Mbps and that may be less than the fiber rate you have contracted.
You have been able to see that thanks to having Gigabit Ethernet ports you can achieve a good speed by cable, but it is also interesting that you check the maximum speed that it supports by Wi-Fi. It is one of the most important specifications whenever we buy a device to be able to connect to the network.
The latest models, and with better features, today often offer speeds of up to 1200 Mbps . It is more than enough for the fiber optic rates that we can currently contract in Spain, so you will not have problems if you buy a device with these specifications.
Number of adapters
The number of PLC adapters that come is also a point to consider. Usually two come. It is the basics and it is generally enough for the objective of being able to take the Internet connection to a corner of the house where there may be dead zones and the signal does not reach well.
However, there are options that have three or more devices. This is very useful to cover a larger area and to be able to bring the Internet to different areas of a home, such as several floors. Therefore, think about whether in your case you are going to need more than one available PLC device and buy a model that has more.
Tips to improve your speed and quality
You must bear in mind that even if you buy the best PLC devices and have the best fiber optics, that is not enough for everything to work well. It is important that you connect them correctly and that there are certain essential points that cannot be missing. We are going to give some recommendations to improve the speed and quality when using PLC with optical fiber.
Plug them directly into the socket
The best thing for PLCs to work well is to connect them directly to electricity , on the wall, and not through power strips. This will allow the connection to be more direct, since if you use a power strip there may be more noise and the signal weakens, so you will not get the same speed.
The quality of the plug and the electrical wiring will also have an influence. If you are in an old home you may have more problems. But at least what does depend on you directly, which is to avoid using a power strip or similar, you must take it into account and thus optimize the available resources to the maximum.
Avoid electrical appliances nearby
Something similar can happen with other devices that you have nearby. They can affect the signal and decrease the power. Therefore, the ideal is not to plug in other electronic equipment nearby. For example, do not put the PLC right next to a television, a computer or any other similar device.
You can also apply this when connecting devices to electricity. If for example you have two plugs very close, avoid putting something in the other. Whenever possible, it is best for the PLC to be as isolated as possible to ensure that it works well, with good speed and stability.
Use quality Ethernet cables
The type of Ethernet cable that you are going to use to connect PLC devices is going to be essential. First of all, you must bear in mind that to achieve 1 Gbps of speed, a cable of at least category 5e is necessary. If you have a lower one, you would be limited to 100 Mbps and problems would appear.
But beyond the category of the cable, which we currently recommend at least category 6, the cable needs to be in good condition. There should be no problem, nor be deteriorated. In case there is any failure, it can mean that it will not work beyond 100 Mbps when synchronizing between devices.
Better without integrated power connector
There are models of PLC devices that have an integrated power connector to which you can plug other devices. At first this may seem like a good idea. Basically it means that you are not going to do without a plug, but you can connect another device through the PLC.
However this is not good actually. This will reduce the potential of the PLC and could sometimes affect the speed of the connection. It is best to avoid connecting devices to this connector, whether or not the PLCs you purchase have this feature built in.
In short, as you have seen, PLC devices are very interesting to improve the Internet connection and have better speed through fiber optics when you connect far from the router. It is important that you take into account some tips that we have shown to make them work as well as possible.