PLC devices or also known as Powerline, are very interesting equipment to bring the connection to the local network or the Internet to any place in our house. On certain occasions we doubt whether to buy a Wi-Fi Mesh system or PLCs with Wi-Fi, although at first both devices could be perfectly suitable for our needs, you should know that on certain occasions PLCs will provide you with a better user experience. Today in this article we are going to explain when you should use PLC at home instead of WiFi Mesh.
Home scenarios where to use PLC
Sometimes using a Wi-Fi Mesh system is the right option, these devices allow us to interconnect the router and the nodes via network cable and also via WiFi in any frequency band, however, it is possible that in some cases you do not work properly and you have to use some PLCs, either with Wi-Fi or without Wi-Fi. Next, we explain in which scenarios you should assess the use of PLC devices.
The house does not have Ethernet network wiring
Old houses generally do not have Ethernet network wiring, however, in Spain as of 2011 all new buildings have network wiring in all rooms, including kitchen, living room, attics or cellars, that is, in all and each of the rooms in the house except the bathrooms. Depending on whether it is wired or not, you will have to choose one option or another:
- If your house is wired, the best thing you can do is buy a simultaneous dual-band WiFi Mesh system and interconnect the router and the nodes via cable, to have the best possible performance in the backhaul or return network, in this way, you will have the best speed both via cable and via WiFI.
- If your house is not wired, you will have to decide whether to use WiFi for the interconnection network or the electrical network using PLC or Powerline. In certain circumstances the WiFi wireless network will work better for you, and on other occasions the trunk network via PLC will work better for you.
In the event that your house is not wired, you have to pay attention to the distance between the router and the Mesh node, as well as if your house has very thick walls.
Very large and elongated houses
If your house is very large and there is a long distance between the main router and the final room where you want to get coverage, it may be worth putting a Mesh node halfway between the router and the room, just as we do with the repeaters. Wifi. However, you may even need two mesh nodes cascaded, the router connected to the first mesh node and the second mesh node connected to the first mesh node. In this scenario, the real speed that we are going to achieve is clearly very low, so you must take this into account.
In this case where you have to link several WiFi Mesh, it is very possible that some PLCs will solve the problem of the speed that you get at the other end of the house. You must assess the model of PLC to buy, whether it is AV1000 or AV2000 to achieve the best possible performance, and then decide whether to buy PLCs with integrated WiFi Mesh (like the ones we will recommend later) or buy PLCs without WiFi and then connect a WiFi Mesh in AP mode.
Very thick walls where WiFi goes bad
If your house has very thick walls, it is clear that a traditional mesh WiFi system will not work well for you. In these cases you will also need to use a PLC to avoid problems with the interconnection network via WiFi, and for the interconnection network to work through the electrical network. As we have explained before, we can make use of PLCs without WiFi and then buy a WiFi Mesh system to interconnect them through the PLC, or buy PLCs that include WiFi mesh to have the best possible experience.
If you want to know which are the best PLCs with Wi-Fi Mesh, then we are going to recommend a couple of very interesting options.
WiFi Mesh systems with built-in PLC
Currently there are Wi-Fi Mesh systems that include a Powerline PLC for the interconnection of the different nodes. As we have explained, on some occasions the traditional WiFi Mesh systems that are interconnected via cable or WiFi are not capable of providing us with good speed, and this is where the WiFi Mesh with built-in PLC comes into play.
ASUS Zen WiFi XP4
This ASUS ZenWiFi XP4 mesh WiFi system allows us to interconnect the nodes via network cable, via WiFi and also through the Powerline electrical network. This model is simultaneous dual band with Wi-Fi 6 and AX1800 class (up to 574Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,201Mbps in the 5GHz band), therefore, we will have a high wireless speed. It also incorporates a Gigabit Ethernet port for the Internet WAN and a total of two Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN.
The most important thing is that it has HomePlug AV2 MIMO AV1300, this means that we will be able to achieve an interconnection speed of up to 1.3Gbps, although the effective speed will actually be half, over the real 600Mbps, a very good speed for specific environments. In addition, as it also has interconnection via WiFi and cable, it is a truly versatile device.
Currently the pack of a node is for 144 euros:
The pack of 2 nodes increases its price to 220 euros:
devolo Magic 2 Wi-Fi 6
devolo has been one of the best PLC manufacturers for many years, they have recently launched WiFi Mesh functionality to their PLCs to have the best possible user experience. Unlike the ASUS model, this equipment does not act as the main router, but rather the PLC itself already incorporates WiFi and Mesh functionality if we buy the Multiroom model or decide to have 2 or more of these devices.
The main features of the devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6 are that it has simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and AX1800 class (up to 574Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,201Mbps in the 5GHz band), therefore it is a very fast computer via WiFi. The PLC that connects to the router has a Gigabit Ethernet port for the LAN, the PLC that has WiFi has two Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN and the WiFi 6 access point explained above.
The interconnection network in this case uses the G.hn standard, which is capable of providing us with an interconnection speed of up to 2.4Gbps, but the real speed will be approximately half that. This option is also very interesting if you need to have a WiFi Mesh with a backbone network that works through the electrical network.
As you can see, we have very interesting alternatives to have the best of PLC and WiFi Mesh systems.