Differences between both devices
The Wi-Fi PLCs They are the Powerline devices that we all know, but the additional PLC has a WiFi access point so that wireless clients can connect. In this scenario, it is recommended that this WiFi access point has the same SSID and password as the main router, in this way, we will have a better user experience because the wireless clients will be able to pass from the router to the PLC with WiFi in an almost transparent way. , although logically you are going to have a cut in the WiFi connection when passing from one device to the other. There are PLC packs that provide us with 2 or more PLCs with WiFi in the package, all of them must be configured at the wireless level exactly the same, with the aim that our WiFi clients can connect and move between the different APs at home.
On the other hand, Wi-Fi mesh systems with PLC, are quite new devices that have the best of WiFi Mesh systems and the best of PLC devices. At the wireless level we have WiFi roaming between the different nodes, using the 802.11k/v standard and in some cases, the 802.11r standard. This means that we are going to be able to go from one node to another without cutting the wireless connection, therefore, if we are on a VoIP call or in a video call, it will not be cut while we move around the house, so the experience of user is just perfect. Another very important feature is that they usually have more Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN than conventional PLCs, although this will depend on each model. Finally, the interconnection between the different nodes is carried out through the electrical network with Powerline technology, they are not interconnected through the WiFi network as is usual in this type of device.
Which one is more worth it for home?
PLCs with WiFi are basic devices and the cheapest, but if you want to have the best user experience when using WiFi and wired connection, it is clear that WiFi mesh systems with PLCs are clearly superior to the first ones, especially all because we have a greater number of configuration options, because one of the nodes will act as the main router with all that this implies.
Regarding the models that we can acquire today, depending on the characteristics and needs you have, there are models that only work as smart WiFi access points with Mesh, and other models that are responsible for managing the network from scratch, since it has the functionalities of a router like the ones we all know. In the event that you already have the operator’s router configured, and you cannot replace it with another, it is probably worth buying the models without router functions.
Currently the best manufacturers in WiFi mesh systems with PLC is Devolo and also ASUS. If you are interested in having router functions, then you should choose the ASUS model, if you do not need it to have router functions and it is worth it to act as a WiFi access point, then you can choose both the ASUS in AP mode and also the devolo.
In the case of devolo, the family devolo Magic 2 Wi-Fi 6 It is one of the most recommended options if you do not need router functions, this device is simultaneous dual band with Wi-Fi 6 class AX1800 (up to 574Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,201Mbps in the 5GHz band), in addition , has several Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN and G.hn technology for the electrical network, where we can achieve up to 2.4Gbps of synchronization speed between the different nodes.
The “Starter Kit” consists of a main PLC without WiFi that connects to the router, and a secondary PLC that is the one that carries wireless connectivity with Wi-Fi 6. It is highly recommended that you buy the “multiroom kit” if you want to have 2 WiFi access points spread around your house.
The price of the Starter Kit is around 215 euros, a somewhat high price, but we must bear in mind that it incorporates G.hn technology, which is faster, more stable and has lower latency than the typical HomePlug AV2.
In the case of ASUS, the model ASUS Zen WiFi XP4 It is what you are looking for if you need router functions, or to act as a WiFi 6 access point, since the Asuswrt firmware allows us to configure it in different ways. This device is simultaneous dual-band with Wi-Fi 6 class AX1800 (up to 574Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,201Mbps in the 5GHz band), in addition, it has several Gigabit Ethernet ports for the LAN and HomePlug AV1300 technology for the electrical network, where we can achieve up to 1,300Mbps of synchronization speed between the different nodes.
The price of this complete WiFi Mesh system is around 225 euros, a really competitive price because it has many more configuration options and possibilities.
In addition, in the event that there is a problem with the PLC interconnection through the electrical network, you should know that this model also allows interconnection via network cable and WiFi in 2.4GHz and 5GHz, so we will not be without connection in any moment.
As you have seen, there are important differences between PLCs with basic Wi-Fi, and WiFi Mesh systems with PLC for the interconnection between nodes.