PLC Features You Should Look At
If you want to know what approximate Internet speed you are going to get with the PLC devices, either with a computer connected via Ethernet or connected via WiFi, you should look at the PLC standard used by the devices, you should also look at the speed of the Ethernet ports (Fast -Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet) and even the speed of the Wi-Fi wireless network. Next, you have all the details to know what Internet speed you will get.
PLC standard used
PLCs over the years have been evolving and providing a higher theoretical speed through the electrical network, and therefore, also a higher real or effective speed than we are going to get at home. We must take into account that the real speed that we are going to achieve with the PLC devices is about 50% of the theoretical speed. For example, if the theoretical speed of some PLCs is 1000Mbps through the electrical network, in real life we will achieve approximately 400-500Mbps, but we will never reach the theoretical 1000Mbps.
First, the HomePlug 1.0 models appeared that were capable of providing up to 14Mbps in theory, then the HomePlug AV models that allowed speeds of up to 200Mbps in theory, these AV models were widely used by home users who had problems with WiFi coverage at home , however, the turning point was following the appearance of HomePlug AV2.
Within the HomePlug AV2 standard, the first devices that came out were the AV500 that were capable of providing up to 500Mbps in theory on the electrical network, this marked a before and after because we could obtain a real 200Mbps in our house, much faster than WiFi in many scenarios. Of course, AV2 evolved from the AV1000 that we could achieve up to 1Gbps theoretical via the electrical network (about 400-500Mbps real) to the AV2000 that are the top of the range that currently exists. The HomePlug AV2000 models allow you to get up to 2Gbps theoretical on the mains, but the effective speed is about 700-800Mbps, which is really good.
Finally, the manufacturer devolo in the latest models of its PLCs have integrated G.hn technology, a completely different PLC technology from HomePlug AV2 and that is not compatible with each other. This means that we cannot connect a devolo PLC that has G.hn and another that uses the typical HomePlug AV2. This standard allows to provide a theoretical speed of up to 2.4Gbps, so it is somewhat faster than HomePlug AV2000, of course, the theoretical speed will be about half that. This new standard improves the stability of PLC devices and increases the distance up to 500 meters of electrical wiring.
Depending on the standard used by the PLC device, we are going to achieve a greater or lesser speed in the computer that we connect, either via Ethernet or WiFi. The PLC standard is only going to tell us what speed we are going to obtain through the electrical network, but we must also look at the Ethernet ports that we have available, because some models have Fast-Ethernet ports (at 100Mbps) and others have Gigabit Ethernet (at 1,000Mbps).
Looking at the type of PLC standard is very important, and you must remember: the real speed you will get will be at most half of the theoretical speed. If we have a 600Mbps Internet connection at home, we must buy a PLC with HomePlug AV1000 at least, and that have Gigabit Ethernet ports if we do not want to have a big bottleneck and not take advantage of the speed of our fiber to the home.
Ethernet port speed
Currently there are PLCs with Fast-Ethernet ports (at 100Mbps) and also with Gigabit Ethernet ports (at 1,000Mbps). Generally the low-end models like the AV500 have Fast-Ethernet ports, however, the models that are AV1000 class or higher have Gigabit Ethernet ports because they will be able to provide more than 100Mbps real without any problem.
Right now and with the speeds of the Internet, our recommendation is that you always buy devices with Gigabit Ethernet ports so as not to have any kind of bottleneck in the wired Ethernet network, otherwise, it is useless to have a very fast PLC standard, because you will be limited by the Ethernet interface.
There are also models that have two ports and even three Ethernet ports to connect several devices simultaneously. It is possible that there are models that are AV1000 class and then incorporate 3 Fast-Ethernet ports. You should know that if you connect your PC to one of these three ports, you will only get a speed of up to 100Mbps and no more, so pay close attention.
If you are going to buy a PLC with Wi-Fi, you should also look at the kind of Wi-Fi we have available, today at least it must be Wi-Fi AC1200, this means that it is dual band simultaneously and that the combined speed of 2.4GHz and 5GHz is up to 1,200Mbps. There are also models with the new Wi-Fi 6 standard that belong to the high end of Wi-Fi PLC devices, generally these devices are AX1800 class, so the combined speed of 2.4GHz and 5GHz is up to 1,800Mbps .
Our recommendation is that you opt for the Wi-Fi 5 standard if you don’t want to leave too much money behind, in addition, generally the speed limitation will be in the main electrical network, that is, by the speed of the PLCs themselves. With a Wi-Fi AC1200 you can get a real speed of about 500-600Mbps via WiFi if you connect to the 5Ghz band, and possibly the electrical network of the PLC only provides you with about 400Mbps.
As you have seen, depending on the PLC standard, the speed of the Ethernet ports and WiFi, we are going to get a higher or lower Internet speed.