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Question from Freddie: Hi, Rick. I hope you can help me with a problem I’m having.
I’m needing to connect a desktop computer that’s in my basement to my router which is in my sunroom (on the far end of the ground floor of my house).
I tried using a USB Wi-Fi adapter but the signal was just too weak to maintain a usable connection.
I installed the two adapters per the instructions and I can establish an Ethernet connection between the computer and the router just fine. But after a couple of minutes the connection drops out and I have to restart the computer to get it to connect again.
This particular kit has very good ratings on Amazon so I’m thinking I either was unlucky enough to receive a bad device or I’m missing a step and doing something wrong with the setup.
Do you have any idea about what I need to do to get these things working as they should?
Rick’s answer: Freddie, the powerline networking kit you bought is a pretty good one for the money.
The fact that you’re able to establish a connection between the computer and the router leads me to believe the devices are working as they should.
Although there are exceptions, these things usually won’t connect at all if one of them is defective.
Right off the top of my head I can think of two possible causes of issues with powerline networking devices:
1 – One or both of the powerline networking adapters is plugged into a power strip, a surge protector or an extension cord.
Powerline adapters need to be plugged directly into a wall outlet in order to work properly. If you plug them into any type of intermediary device they will often either not work at all or establish poor connections (as in your case).
2 – One or both of the electrical outlets you’re using with the adapters is wired incorrectly. This is easy to check with an inexpensive electrical outlet tester.
These outlet testers are easy to use. Simply plug the tester into an outlet and compare the status lights to the chart on the adapter. The pattern of the illuminated lights will tell you if there’s a wiring problem.
If you discover that one (or both) of your outlets is wired incorrectly you’ll need to either fix the issue yourself (if you have the necessary skills to do it correctly and safely) or hire an electrician to do the job for you.
Bottom line: I believe one of the above situations is likely preventing your powerline networking adapters from working correctly. Resolve whatever the issue turns out to be and you should be able to connect your basement computer to your router with no further problems.
I hope this helps, Freddie. Good luck!
Update from Freddie: You nailed it. I had both adapters plugged into surge protectors because we get a lot of lightning storms here. I plugged them directly into the outlets and they’re working great now. Thanks for your help.
Bonus tip: Since your area receives a lot of electrical storms you might want to consider having an electrician install a whole house surge protector.