Frequently Asked Questions
What is HomePlug / Powerline technology?
Powerline technology uses existing powerline wiring to convey digital data from one computer to another. The wiring serves as the network, and each electrical outlet serves as a connection point on the network.
Thus it allows you to simply set up a network by plugging into any electrical outlet making it possible for instant connectivity. Transferring data over the powerline network doesn't interfere with other electrical devices plugged in around the home because electricity and data are transmitted at very different frequencies.
HomePlugs are a simple but very effective way to transmit data around your home. HomePlugs use the powerline supply to transmit data, rather than radio waves that wireless solutions use. In order to do this a minimum of two HomePlugs are required.
The HomePlug AV specification, which was introduced in August 2005, provides sufficient bandwidth for applications such as HDTV and VoIP. HomePlug AV offers a peak data rate of 200 Mbs at the physical layer, and about 80 Mbs at the MAC layer. HomePlug AV devices are required to coexist, and optionally to interoperate, with HomePlug 1.0 devices. Utilizing adaptive modulation on up to 1155 OFDM sub-carriers, turbo convolution codes for error correction, two-level MAC framing with ARQ, and other techniques, HomePlug AV can achieve near the theoretical maximum bandwidth across a given transmission path. For security reasons, the specification includes key distribution techniques and the use of 128 bit AES encryption. Furthermore, the specification's adaptive techniques present inherent obstacles to eavesdropping and cyber attacks. Some Qualcomm Atheros-based adapters comply with the HomePlug AV specification but employ a proprietary extension that increases the PHY-rate to 500 Mbit/s primarily by using a wider spectrum.
The HomePlug AV2 specification was introduced in January 2012, it is interoperable with HomePlug AV and HomePlug GreenPHY devices and is IEEE 1901 standard compliant. It features gigabit-class PHY-rate, support for MIMO PHY, repeating functionalities and power saving modes. Can use the bandwidth from 30-86 MHz as additional bandwidth. The first generation are generally considered to be 20% faster than HomePlug AV 500, it is often sold as HomePlug 600. They do not support MIMO, but only single streams due to the Atheros chipset architecture (QCA7450/AR1540). October 2013 Qualcomm announced the QCA7500 with support for 2x2 MIMO which supposedly will double data transfer rates. Devolo from Germany has made proprietrary improvements on the standard, and are using the ground wire in addition to phase and null.
How do I set up a network with Aztech HomePlugs?
Aztech HomePlugs are easy to set-up with plug-and-play installation. Simply plug them into available electrical wall sockets – one into your router and the other to the device that you wish to connect to your network.
HomePlug AV devices are preconfigured with a common Private Network Name.
- In Room A, plug in your HomePlug A into the power outlet and connect it to the broadband router using an Ethernet cable.
- In Room B, plug in your other HomePlug AV device into the power outlet and connect it to your computer’s Ethernet port using an Ethernet cable.
- Check the LEDs. All three LEDs on both HomePlugs must be ON. Your HomePlugAV network is now ready to use.
Pairing your HomePlugs:
How will HomePlugs benefit me at home?
HomePlugs offer many advantages over conventional wired or wireless solutions.
Reliability – Allow a faster more reliable connection than wireless, no obstacles (like brick walls) for wireless to overcome. Perfect for HD and SD IPTV video streaming.
Ease of Use - Allow you to transform your powerlines wiring into an instant Local Area Network (LAN) . It’s the easiest way to extend the network connection from your router without having to drill holes in walls / ceilings to feed the Ethernet cable. All you need is an available wall socket.
Plug and Play - Hassle free installation for instant connectivity.
What applications can I use HomePlugs for?
- TV over IP (IPTV)
- Voice Over IP (VoIP)
- Higher data rate broadband sharing
- Shared broadband internet access
- Audio and video streaming and transfer
- Expanding the coverage of wireless LANs
- PC files and applications sharing between computers
- Printers, scanners and other peripherals sharing
- Network and online gaming in any room - you can even connect your games consoles!
- Home Security /Monitoring
- Extended Network Coverage
How many HomePlugs can I run on my network?
A maximum of 8 HomePlugs (1 master, 8 slaves) can be used in the same household powerline network.
Is there a minimum number of HomePlugs needed to create my network?
You will require at least two HomePlugs to create your household powerline network.
Which operating system does Aztech HomePlug work with?
Aztech HomePlugs are OS-independent. You can use HomePlugs regardless of your OS. However, there is a requirement for using the Utility software. The Utility software will only run on Microsoft Windows 98SE / ME/ 2000/ XP/ Vista/7
Can Aztech HomePlugs work with Apple MACs?
Yes they can, Aztech HomePlugs work with Apple devices. However, Windows OS is required to run the utility software. The Utility software will only run on Microsoft Windows 98SE / ME/ 2000/ XP/ Vista/7.
What is the transmission range of Aztech HomePlugs?
Aztech HomePlugs can work up to a distance of 200m point-to-point over household powerlines.
However the transmission range also depends on:
- Number of HomePlugs used in the same powerline network
- Powerline environmental factors such as interferences on your powerline
- Quality of the electrical installation
Can i use Aztech Home Plugs on power extension or multiple sockets?
Yes. Aztech HomePlugs work on power extension and multiple socket adapters. However we would advise you to plug them directly to the wall socket. We have pass through models to ease off the extra socket.
Is Aztech HomePlug suitable for Triple Play?
Yes. Aztech HomePlugs support Triple Play, i.e. the simultaneous use of data, voice and video applications.
What is the power consumption (in watts) of Aztech HomePlug from 230-volt power supply?
Aztech HomePlugs have relatively lower power consumption as compared to any wireless router, which has power consumption of about 2W - 8.5W.
Which HomePlugs are compatible with each other?
How do I solve wireless blind spot issues?
Fixing the Problem There are various ways in which you could solve these issues. One is to relocate the wireless router to a location that is optimal, which requires trial and error tests. However, as with many homes, there are issues with relocating the wireless router as the access point is fixed. Here are alternative methods to solve these issues:
a. DIY Method Some of the DIY Methods have been covered in the articles that you have provided. These include:
- Keep Wireless Devices Away from Router Wireless devices such as cordless phones will interfere with the wireless signals being broadcasted by the wireless router. Keeping such devices away from the router will reduce these interferences.
- Aluminium Foil / Can Using aluminium foil or can to redirect the signals, may help to improve the wireless signal as it bounces the signal away from a location that does not need a wireless signal (e.g. outside your home).
b. Wireless Products These methods may help to improve your wireless signal. However, they have their limitations and may not be as effective as the wireless solutions that are in the market.
- Wireless Router Purchasing a new Wireless Router with the latest technologies will definitely help to improve wireless speeds and signals. Things to look out for in a new Wireless Router:
- Wireless Standards The current standard for wireless routers is Wireless-N. The new Wireless-AC standard can significantly improve wireless speeds.
- Dual Band Technology Many devices such as microwaves, cordless phones and even Bluetooth work on the 2.4GHz wireless signal which will interfere with the wireless signals. Getting a wireless router with Dual Band technology can help users speed up their connection by connecting to the less congested 5GHz wireless signal, which has multiple non-overlapping channels.
- Multi-User Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output (MU MIMO) Technology The dawn of mobile technology has brought many wireless devices into the lives of its users, many of which requires a wireless network connection. With many devices connecting to a single wireless router, it would cause your wireless speed to slow down. MU MIMO, to put it simply, helps distribute the load amongst the various devices which help improve wireless speeds.
- Wireless Repeaters Wireless repeaters are an easy way to expand the wireless router’s range. Perform a one-time configuration to connect to your wireless router’s network and you simply move it around the house to choose a location that optimises the wireless signal. We recommends the Aztech WL580E Wall-Plugged 300Mbps Dual Band Concurrent Wireless-N Repeater (image attached: WL580_Front.png). It has a Recommended Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) that helps you choose a location that will help you optimise the wireless signal.
- Wireless HomePlugs Wireless Repeaters may help expand your wireless range but wireless signals may still have difficulty passing through thick walls. HomePlugs overcome this issue by transmitting data through the electrical powerline within your home. HomePlugs work in pairs – one connected to the router and the other in the room that you need an internet connection – and they need to be plugged directly to the power point. Aztech offers a wide range of HomePlugs to suit various needs – from the basic HomePlug to HomePlugs with AC-Passthrough and Wireless features. To be more specific about solving wireless issues, we recommend users to get a pair of HomePlugs – one from the E or EP series to connect to the router and one from the EW series for the room which needs a wireless signal.
How secure is HomePlug?
The majority of the homes share a transformer with several neighbors, putting several houses on one circuit and thereby making it theoretically possible for the neighbours to access your network. To completely eliminate this potential problem, all HomePlug AV encrypts all data with 128-bit AES encryption whereas 85Mbps HomePlug encrypts all data with 56-bit DES encryption before it is transmitted around the power lines. For further security, all our HomePlug series have encryption that enables you to change the encryption password to make it unique to your network and ensure that your neighbors cannot eavesdrop on your network traffic. Note: Encryption is a method of security used to prevent intruders or unwanted access from within or outside your network. Encryption is usually not enabled by default and must be 'configured' using the Utility software provided in the packaging.
What is 'Simple Connect'?
“Simple Connect” enables automated & unique password generation feature, pairing up to 2 HomePlugs in a secure and fuss-free way.
How do I pair additional HomePlug AV Eternet Adaptor to an existing HomePlug AV Network using 'Simple Connect'?
Step 1: Plug the additional HomePlug near a HomePlug from an existing HomePlug AV network. Upon connection, the LEDs will blink simultaneously and then the Power LED lights on steadily.
Step 2: Press “Simple Connect” for two seconds from a HomePlug AV in an existing HomePlug AV network. After you release the button, the Power LED will blink.
Step 3: Press “Simple Connect” for two seconds on the additional HomePlug. Similarly, after you release the button, the Power LED will blink. (Make sure that you press the “Simple Connect” button on the additional HomePlug within two minutes after you press “Simple Connect” from the existing network. The LEDs on both devices will switch off and on twice to signify that they are searching for another device to pair with.
Step 4: Once the connection was established. Both Power LEDs and the Powerline Activity LEDs on all HomePlugs will be on.
Step 5: Unplug the additional HomePlug and then connect it to your Ethernet device anywhere within your home.
How to install HomePlug AV Utility?
Step 1: Insert the Resource CD into the CD-ROM Drive.
Step 2: Click Start button and click Run.
Step 3: Type D:\Setup.exe and click OK.
Step 4: Follow the instructions on the installation wizard and complete the process with ease.
Do I still need to install the HomePlug AV Utility software since there is 'Simple Connect' button for Aztech HomePlugs?
Installing the HomePlug AV Utility software is only needed if you intend to manually change the Private Network Name or view the connection rate. However, there is a requirement for using the Utility software. The Utility software will only run on Microsoft Windows 98SE / ME/ 2000/ XP/ Vista/7.
What does the Powerline Activity LED colour indicates?
Indicating your connection rate:
Green is best
Amber is good
Red is ok
For any enquiry, please email us at Dr.Networking@aztech.com