The Saga of the Netgear Powerline Adapters

I like computers, technology, the internet, databases, gaming and so and and so on, I always have.  I had always told myself that once I had my own home I’d want my own server and it happened in 2010.  So while I was playing with my server (Synology) I learned about Surveillance Station which could be your in-house security system!  So, I needed an IP camera and got my first one from Foscam.

Well, here 8 years later the power cord on that one died and the replacement, which was supposed to be 100% compatible, turned out to only be 90% compatible in the fact that it did supply power, but the camera didn’t feel like returning an image.  With tech, 90% isn’t good enough.  So I let the matter lie for a while until the week of Black Friday.  I noticed that Amazon was having “flash sales” everyday where the discounts would last only for a few hours on particular items.  I saw a sale on an Amcrest camera and after ensuring it was compatible with Synology snatched it up.

It is a wonderful camera, not only being so much clearer and in HD, but also records and can project audio!  Wow!

Now, I had this new camera installed for our Thanksgiving party and as I was tinkering with the recording settings decided to take a look at our Thanksgiving party.  I then thought it might be a good idea to save the recording just for a fun look back many years from now.  Here is the actual Thanksgiving in its entirety and not just a few pictures!

Now, with Christmas coming up I like to record those as well and even have a few from when I was growing up that are absolute treasures to me.  So why not just buy another IP camera and let it do the work.  The quality is good, it isn’t intrusive and can have an excellent angle and vantage from the ceiling!

So I bought another Amcrest camera and this is where the networking issue arose.  I hate networking issues and I very much dislike the simple solution that 90% of people use, with wireless, for IoT (Internet of Things).  Wireless connections can be dropped when using the microwave, the response time is bad for live views (cameras) and it can sometimes change the internal IP address which messes up the surveillance software.

So, finally getting to the point of this post, I use Netgear Powerline adapters which make use of the home electrical system to deliver a LAN connection.

Now, I had three of these connections in my house and they all worked fine.  But yesterday I made a discovery in that I was doing it all wrong!  You don’t need a pair for every connection, you only need one adapter for “the tap” or that is wired to the modem.  I had a 1:1 connection for everything!  In other words it is not different pairs talking to each other but more like a teacher (the one connected to the modem/router) and her students where information flows back and forth!  How did I have it wrong for over 8 years!

Anywho, now the networking part.  I had a new Powerline adapter with 1000 mbps but when I plugged it in it brought the whole network down!  So needless to say I just stopped using it and found other solutions.

However, I needed a wired connection for the new IP camera I bought in order to record Christmas which we do in the front room, not the living room.  So I thought I’d give the PL1000 another go, especially after learning that only one adapter needed to be connected to the modem/router.  I unplugged all of them and started slowly making sure the encryption keys were synced.  I started with the PL1000 at the TV since that demands the highest amount of megabytes per second.  It worked.

I then connected the 500 mbps adapters and they joined the conversation, or so their LED lights said!  Now I was getting excited.

Well, the excitement quickly died when not only did my TV say it wasn’t connected anymore even though the LED of the PL1000 said it was (at slower speeds/red) but my computer didn’t want to connect either!  I plugged, unplugged, pressed the adapter security buttons, didn’t press the security buttons, hit factory reset on the adapters and so on.  I even downloaded the Netgear Powerline software (which belongs in the early 2000s) and the Network Genie in the hopes it could just fix things! (*side note, diagnostic anything has never ever worked for me when it comes to computers/internet.  Just get rid of that diagnostic waste of space). I just couldn’t get it to work and it was so frustrating!

In the end I concluded that the IoT in my household just doesn’t like the PL1000.  It is perhaps like a bully and although hopes can be raised that it is cooperating, it eventually just ruins everything.  So, time to give those adapters away and never think of them again.

Once I made that decision things became much easier except for the damned DoorBird camera.  That one has a weak connection due to my request that we also attach a chime that makes a noise when the doorbell is pressed (seems logical for a doorbell/camera).  The electrician – Dave over at Wire Works – helped me out but in making this contraption work had to finagle some of the wiring, cutting and reconnecting the LAN wire.  For some reason a weak connection remains even after messing with it so much, that eventually it works and you just don’t touch it.  That took time because I wasn’t sure if the Netgear adapters just weren’t talking to each other, which I thought was the case, but it ended up being that I just “touched it” when I shouldn’t have and then had to pinch, press and poke until it worked again.

So why was it all so difficult?  Well, I wanted to use the newest PL1000 adapters since that is 1000 mbps!  But my adapters although all being Netgear are from different generations.  I have an 84 mbps pair, a 200 mbps pair, a 500 mbps pair and the new 1000 mbps pair.

It reminds me of different generations in humans in that how they communicate can be very different.  The 84 mbps adapter won’t talk to anyone except for those of his generation.  The 200 mbps and 500 mbps are middle-agers and get along just fine.  The PL 1000 is the new kid on the block and talks so fast nobody understands what the hell he is saying but the 500 mbps adapter will try and keep that line of communication open which forces the PL 1000 to slow down and talk at his speed.  That is to say if you connect the PL1000 and 500 mbps Powerline adapters the PL1000 will then run at 500 mbps displayed by the red LED which on their own are green.

Anyway, I imagine this post will be extremely uninteresting to most people, but quite entertaining and enlightening to those trying to get these LAN Powerline adapters to work!

By 魔手

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/