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RKM
Contributor
676 Views
Message 1 of 7

Weather affecting BT Powerline adapter performance

Background: I have a workshop/shed in my garden which is out of range of the HH6 router.  The shed has power fed to it via an underground armoured cable coming from the consumer unit in the main house.  Earlier in the year, during a warmer, drier spell of weather, I bought a BT Mini Wi-Fi 600 Home Hotspot Powerline Adapter Kit.  One unit is plugged into a socket and connected via LAN cable to the HH6 in my study.  The other unit is plugged into a socket in the shed, providing wifi Internet access in the shed (and around much of the garden that was otherwise out of reach).  Despite all of the warnings on these forums about not having a consumer unit between the extender units, since they were on the same mains circuit I was assured that everything should work fine.   And it did, a green light on the transmitter in the study showed a relliable high speed connection, and I had full speed internet in the workshop/shed, for a while...

 

More recently, the weather has become more typical of a Great British summer - soaking wet!  Now the Internet wi-fi connection in the shed, has become much slower and more intermittent.  The transmitter in the study only occasionally shows amber (moderate connectivity), usually red (poor connectivity) and is sometimes completely off, indicating no connectivity at all!

 

I thought that the idea of these Powerline extender kits was that they transmitted the ethernet signals on the mains cabling.  That hasn't changed, and I still have power in the shed.  The earth leakage circuit on the consumer unit doesn't trip, so there isn't any fault in the wiring that is weather dependent, such as water getting into the cable or connectors.  In fact, that has all been pretty stable for years and it is regularly safety checked by an electrician.

 

So why is the weather affecting the perforance of the extender kit?

 

Or is something else causing the performance to be degraded?

 

What can I do, other than sending smoke signals to the rain gods, to restore full wifi connectivity in the workshop?

 

Any ideas appreciated!

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6 REPLIES 6
Distinguished Sage
656 Views
Message 2 of 7

Re: Weather affecting BT Powerline adapter performance

Run an armoured Ethernet cable underground.
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flamethrower
Aspiring Expert
631 Views
Message 3 of 7

Re: Weather affecting BT Powerline adapter performance

I couldn't tell from your post whether it's the WiFi that is affected or both the WiFi and the ethernet. It might be interesting to take measurements of both when it's dry and when it's wet using the speed tester on BT's network:

 

http://www.speedtest.btwholesale.com/

 

There is some potential attenuation of 2.4GHz signals from water, but more likely it's something electrical, perhaps damp affecting the electronics or some change that makes it harder for the HomePlug physical layer.

 

[ For £100, you could have a pair of gigabit media converters and a run of fiber optic cable between the shed and house. Add an access point to the shed and you're away. And it's fiber so you can move the shed 500m or more from the house. 🙂 ]

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
621 Views
Message 4 of 7

Re: Weather affecting BT Powerline adapter performance

Are you sure that the drop in speed/connection is only affecting your powerline adaptors.

 

It could be that the poor weather is actually affecting the broadband connection to your house. Have you checked your speed/connection at the HH6 when the weather is poor. 

 

If the speed drops at the HH6 it will in turn drop the speed to the powerline adaptors. 

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RKM
Contributor
583 Views
Message 5 of 7

Re: Weather affecting BT Powerline adapter performance

It seems to be the ethernet over the power lines that is the problem.  Wifi in and around the shed/workshop shows a strong signal, but it isn't reliably connected to the router and Internet.  The powerline extender in the study is also showing medium, poor and sometime zero link connectivity to the receiver in the shed.  Meanwhile, its stopped raining today and is back to green - high speed connectivity.

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RKM
Contributor
579 Views
Message 6 of 7

Re: Weather affecting BT Powerline adapter performance

Yes, I am sure it is the powerline adapters.

 

Wifi connectivity in the house remains unaffected with speed tests showing as much as I would expect with Infinity2.  The cabinet is just across the road from the front door, so about 20m of copper between it and the phone point in the study.  😉

 

I suspect that capacitance between the power cables and ground increases when the latter gets wet, attenuating the high frequency signals more than when dry, thus reducing the range of powerline adapters, but not affecting the 50Hz mains.

 

However I haven't seen any reports of this sort of effect, so I was interested if it is to be expected.

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RKM
Contributor
572 Views
Message 7 of 7

Re: Weather affecting BT Powerline adapter performance

Too much work for something that is only used infrequently.  Most of the time I am in the workshop I am working and only need Internet access to check information.  I could do that much cheaper the old fashioned way by accessing the information in the house and taking the data to the shed using what we used to call "The Sneakernet".  😉

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