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What are the differences between using a PLC and a WiFi repeater

Today we are going to explain what differences there are between a PLC and a WiFi repeater , and when it is better to use each of them. These are two interesting options to improve Internet coverage in your home, sometimes with quite similar aspects, so to choose the one that best suits your needs is useful to know what are the differences between them.

To do this, let’s start by explaining what exactly is a PLC and what is a WiFi repeater or amplifier. Then we will go on to enumerate the advantages and disadvantages presented by each of them, to finish with a brief explanation of when it is better to use one or the other.

Table of Contents

What is a PLC

The PLC is a simple device that allows you to transmit the signal of your Internet connection through the wiring of your home , both WiFi and Ethernet. In this way, if you have the router in a room and the signal does not reach the room, you can take it through the plugs to have more coverage there.

PLCs use two types of device . The first will always be one that is responsible for collecting the signal from your WiFi and “inject” it into the electricity network. And then you will have the extender, which is where you will get the signal through the wires of the house and will repeat it in the area where you have it plugged in. You can even use two extenders so that the signal reaches different points of your house.

Operation of a PLC. Illustration of Devolo

Its operation is extremely simple. The only thing you will have to do is connect your router to the transmitter using an ethernet cable, which is the same that goes from the router to the computer to carry the connection by cable instead of WiFi, and then connect the transmitter to the nearest outlet . Then simply plug the extender into any other outlet in your house and act as if it were a router sending the signal to that area.

PLCs can be used in different waysdepending on how you want to configure your connection. To start, you will have the option that the WiFi generated by the extender is the same as your router or that you can choose a new name and password for it. In addition, the extender will not only expand the signal by creating a WiFi point, but in some models will also include ethernet connectors to connect other devices by cable.

You will be able to buy the PLCs with different kits. These can be with a receiver and an extender, but there are also brands that sell them with several extensors so you can expand the network through several points of your house or with different names and passwords for WiFi. You can also buy each of these items separately.

What is a WiFi repeater

A WiFi adapter is another device that will serve to expand the coverage of your home network . In this case, what these devices do is capture the signal of an existing WiFi network to extend it over a larger area.

Therefore, what we have is a device that acts as a bridge between the area where you have good WiFi coverage and the area to which you want to expand it because it has a weaker signal. That’s why you’ll have to connect it between your router and the area where you have the device you want to connect to get the signal better.

An example of operation would be the following. Imagine that you have your router installed in a room, and that there is not enough signal in your room to connect a device to WiFi. So, what you would do with this amplifier is to connect it in an intermediate zone where the Wi-Fi signal arrives, and from where the amplifier can emit a signal that reaches the room.

Unlike PLCs, with WiFi amplifiers you do not need to buy any type of pack , since only a single device is needed to extend the WiFi network. That makes them a cheaper alternative

what are your advantages and disadvantages

Better performance You only need a single device
More network options Average price slightly lower
Allows greater coverage Very easy to configure
More stable connection Do not depend on light sockets

As you can see in this table, each of the methods have different types of advantages . It is important to know the difference between them through them, since they will help you to know if the device adapts to your needs.

For starters, PLCs have the advantage of having a higher performance, as well as more network options to allow you to use both to get a WiFi connection and to use it with an Ethernet. In addition, it also allows you to create two different Wi-Fi networks changing the name and password to which the PLC takes off, its connection is more stable, and allows you to expand coverage in more areas of the house.

As for WiFi adapters, its biggest advantage is that you will only need a single device that is very easy to configure, that its price is usually somewhat lower than that of PLCs, and that it does not depend on having a plug in the area of ​​the house to which you want to expand your coverage.

It depends on the wiring of your house It depends on the router signal
Higher price Lower coverage range
It works worse with power strips You can lose speed along the way
You need more than one device Worse in large apartments and houses

The disadvantages are equally important when making a decision. In this aspect, the main one of the PLC is that it depends on where you have the plugs in your house , and that if one is broken it will not work correctly. It also does not get along with the strips, and you will need to have more than one device connected to expand the network, which affects the price.

As for WiFi adapters, their biggest problem is that they depend on your router’s WiFi signal , so if the signal that arrives is weak, it will not work as well as it should. In addition, you will find models with which you will lose speed on the road, and has a somewhat more limited range of coverage, which will cause problems in large apartments and houses.

When it is better to use each of them

As you can see, both devices have characteristics that allow them to differentiate themselves quite well from each other. This means that although both do essentially the same thing, it will be more advisable one or the other depending on where and how you want to use them . For that reason, here we are going to tell you some situations in which it is better to use one than the other.

If you need more versatility, being able to choose between WiFi or Ethernet or optimal signal performance it is very possible that you have to invest in a PLC. Especially if you live in a large apartment or a house with several floors , since the WiFi adapter will be less effective when carrying the signal from one point to another or lower floors.

But except for these specific cases, usually a WiFi adapter will usually suffice . They are cheaper and simple to use only one device, and if your floor is not especially large should not give you problems when carrying the signal from one area to another. They are also especially useful in offices, where the existence of strips could penalize the use of the PLC.

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