Friday, July 29, 2011

Home Network Improvement Plan - HomePlug HL115EP

Date:  July 29, 2011

If you remember, I uses Aztech HL280e to connect direct from the OpenNet ONT box to my Network Cabinet without installing those ugly cable run.  In the beginning it runs perfectly, however, later it becomes rather unstable, and usually I need to turn on and off the HL280e quite often.  Another thing is, my network at home runs 24x7x365, so, it tends to make the devices a bit hot.  Occasionnally when it gets way too hot, you will need to shut it down for at least 5-10 minutes to let it cool down.  My wife even put in some fish tank or laptop fan to try to cool it down, without knowing that the fan motor will actually affect the speed of the HL280e.

Overally, HL280e is a unique new technology using MediaXtream rather than the HomePlug and PLC technology.  It uses the frequencies range from 50Mhz to 300Mhz to deliver 1000Mbps (GE) over the power line.  A comparison of the HomePlug Vs PLC Vs MediaXtream devices are nicely written here in this link (In Chinese).  If you wants great speed, then no doubt HL280e is the one to go.  However, you need to install it in a aircon room or else the heat accumulated in my network cabinet will tends to heat it up and make it unstable.  So, when this pair of monsters working fine, it is the best of the world getting the best speed.  But when it is not working, your wife will curse and swear.  hahaha  check out the heat generated ranged from 40.5C (no traffic) to 52C (loaded)... it is the highest...

So, lately, Aztech has a new model come out.  It is Homeplug AV 500Mbps pass through.  The new HL115EP.  Before that, the HL110e has already got a good rating.  But there are few things you need to take note...


1.  If Aztech already breakthru and come out with HL280e which is gives the highest speed test result against every single other competitors of PLC & Home Plug, why do you think Aztech come out with HL115EP, which delivers 1/2 of the speed, i.e. 500Mbps Vs the HL280e's 1,000Mbps.  ? ? ?  There must be some untold reason.

2.  By the way, the price of HL115EP is $10 more than HL280e.  So, it is not the price issue where Aztech thinking to offer cheaper range of Homeplug/PLC by reducing its speed.  I think Aztech is not stupid, they want to earn big bucks, but first, they have to overcome the instability issue.

3.  This one comes with the AC pass thru filter.  What does it mean?  It means, they are trying some technology to include a filter, so that they can isolate all these noise frequencies and handle it with a filter so those noise does not affect too much the HomePlug/PLC network.

There is this Malaysian company which I have been monitoring it for quite a while, since last year.  They have come up with a device, which is a line noise filter that will promise to help reducing the line noise and make your PLC/HomePlug more stable in date rates.  Look at this video.  You will see that even the cell phone charger and laptop battery charger is going to affect the HD TV streaming.  The technology is promising, but no dates to offer its product yet.  And yes, the surge protection power adapter also will affect the date rates.  Not to mention, washing machine, dryer, hair dryer, and all those electical appliance.  I can't wait for SureStreamer to come out.  So, let's wait and see.

Back to the Aztech HL155EP.  I bought 3 of them, and each is $75/each.  And my purpose of the HomePlug/PLC devise is to hook at the OpenNet ONT to my router in the Network cabinet.  So, it is just a point to point link.  And the 3rd one is to hook up to the Mio TV.

And the network has been running fine for 3 days.  Usually with HL280e, I will have to "reboot" the HomePlug/PLC device.  But for this pair HL115ev.  It works OK so far, and the heat is much lower than the HL280e.  And the data stream is much stable as I can see from my constant ping monitoring to routers, to DNS server (Internet).  As you can see, running for few days, 197410 packets has been sent and the packet lost is around 0.1% which is very good.  As you know my ONT is back in the kitchen and utility room, you would imagin there are lots of noise going to be generated during day time, i.e. dish washer, dryer, washing machine, juicer, etc.  But I see the result is far more better than the HL280E.  Which is a good sign.

Screen Shot 2011-07-29 at 6.36.18 AM.png

One more thing...  You notice that I do not use the rest of the three outlet, and instead, I plug my Asus Black Diamond AP Router, Cisco SLM2008 Managed Switch, Dlink GE Switch and my Synology DS411+ into a power strip that is plug into the AC Pass Thru socket on the HL115E.  I was hoping that the line noise filter within the HL115E does its work of isolating the noise.  And at the ONT end, it is plug into the wall socket (away from the 13Amp Washer/Dryer socket) directly.


So far, it works perfectly, and no complaints!

There is a reason why Aztech keep coming out with new Homeplug/PLC product.  It's improvement product.  So, I suggest you change it when it comes out with new product.  (of course, after understanding what it is)  :)




  1. Hi. this is alex from Hong Kong.

    I'm studying to buy tplink TL-PA211 to connect from a wireless router to an airport express to improve wireless coverage (tested airport extreme to extend wirelessly but speed is poor).

    Thanks your review and it seems HL115EP is also promising. But it costs near double of tplink and its power consumption is 4.5w against tplink's 3w. Worry if the heat will kill it soon...

    From your blog, you know a lot to build a great home network. It takes some time to enjoy all your writings :). Nice to meet you.


  2. Thanks Alex. I think the Airport extreme has been refreshed, and there are posting showing it's coverage greatly enhanced. But for me, what I learned from SmallNetworkBuilder web site, you also need to look after the wan to LAN and LAN to wan speed to enjoy good Internet experience.

    As for the TPLink, not sure if it is OEM from same manufacturer. If yes, usually the problem will inherit from the OEM vendor. :)

  3. Hi, About the question, why do you think Aztech come out with HL115EP, which delivers 1/2 of the speed, i.e. 500Mbps Vs the HL280e's 1,000Mbps. ? ? ?
    It is Because the chip set manufactures are different, the HL-280E uses Cooper gate/Giggle chipset, and the HL-115E uses Marvel chip set, so they where launch fist then the other!

  4. hi fpa,

    I don't know about chipsets thingy. But the 1,000Mbps is based on a new MediaXtream technology which is different from PLC or Homeplug. and HL115EP is based on the good old HomePlug standard.

    So, I am guessing, the MediaXtream standard may need more time to matured? while Homeplug standard keeps on improving their speed?

    Based on my experience, the 1,000Mbps generate much more heat than the HL115EP. And may be is due to the heat that causing the unstable performance? not sure.

  5. Hi Ken. Thanks for your blog entry. I have 3 HL380E at home. But it's working so bad, either unstable or giving me just 20Mbps, that my brother switched to wifi (70Mbps).

    I just called Aztech who commented that if your house has different powerline loop (phases), it won't work. I am shocked. Which house doesn't have more than one powerline loop?!?!?!!! So disappointing to learn that this technology is still not as advanced as it seems.

    Should have just bought Cat6 cables and line them throughout the house.

  6. Hi ken guru,

    Seeking your advice please. Got singnet 100mbps installed in my living room. Can get wireless up to 60mbps (local) in the living room but drop drastically to 3mbps in my study room. Suspect could be a wall of my walk in wardrobe blocking it.

    I am trying to use homeplugs to boost the signal in my study room.

    Living room
    Tp -> ont -> singtel router -> hp1

    Study room
    Hp2 -> laptop.

    Does this work before I go out and buy the homeplug ?

    Thanks a lot !

  7. Yes. That should work. The home plug is merely an extender. But beware of electrical noise may degrade the home plug signal.

  8. I am in the process of installing the Fibre and 100 Mbps from SingTel. At first, I thought the Aztech Homeplug works, but now Singtel told me it draws too much power from their router and burnt it. So, they do not allow the use of Homeplug now. But Singtel technicallly team seem clueless other solutions and ask me to resort back to using and laying ethernet cables.

    Do you have any further updates? Will appreciate your response. My email is Thanks. Peh from Singapore.

  9. Hi,

    Have you tried profiling the throughput of your network using tool such as DU meter? I've setup my homeplug network using HL115EP. Disappointingly, the throughput profiling result turned out very bad. It can only managed 80Mbps, far from the promised 500Mbps. The test was done by setting up 2 units for robocopy a file transfer of size 1.6GByte between 2 computers. Both units were attached to the wall power socket directly. One unit located at living room and the other at bed room. There were only the fridge and the 2 computers turned on in the household during the test and the fridge is in the kitchen.


  10. Hi Ken, this is krys from singapore.

    My 2wire modem is installed in study room 2 doors away from the master bedroom and i use a pair of HL280E to get cabled connection to the laptop in the master bedroom. I have been using it well for more than a year.

    Lately i want to get stronger wireless signal in the master bedroom and i added a HL110EW into the picture. Cabled connection works very well still but the wireless connection fluctuates from time to time. Using speedtest on the iphone or laptop to monitor the wireless signal usually points to the upload being the problem. and more than half the time the network led will blink red/orange instead of the usual green.

    I was wondering how if you ever experience such issue while using a HL110EW and if there is anyway to overcome this?

  11. Hi, I never used this model before. As I think the home plug should only do one thing that is best not bundled all other function like wireless or switching function on it. That is why I used home plug for point to point only and I used apple airport for wireless as I have almost 90% apple products. And I used black diamond as router as it has highest rating for LAN to wan performance which is important.

  12. hmm... i did not use the ethernet port of the hl110ew, intending to keep it solely for wireless

    anyway, that aside. if u use the black diamond to the opennet box directly, does it mean u need to get the singtel fibre password from them?

  13. quick noob qn if u dun mind
    will the apple airport suffice for 1 master bedroom or should i go for the apple airport extreme?
    the rj45 to the master bedroom should go to the wan or the lan port of the airport?

  14. Hi Ken, just got my starhub fibre line. was wondering whether this will work:

    Living Rm: TP -> ONT ->HP1
    Study: HP2 -> Starhub RG (Wireless/Wired Router)
    Bedrm: HP3 -> Laptop

    HP1 - HL115EP
    HP2 - HL115EP
    HP3 - HL110EW


  15. I have recently switched to Singtel fibre and since then having issues with Wireless connection. The LED goes off intermittently and Singtel suspects its because of the home plug. I am using home plug to get stable connection in one of the rooms where I have desktop and Wiresless connection for all the mobile devices. The so called Singtel's Wireless N router does not provide good wireless signal strength in the room and hence dependency on the home plug. When Wireless led indicator goes off on the router, the only option is to restart it. Please let me know how to investigate/troubleshoot and resolve this issue? My email id is

  16. Hi Guys,

    Was wondering if you could assist me with my situation.

    I have an Apple Airport Extreme connected to my router and recently bought the TP-Link TL-PA211 Powerline Adapter and the TL-WPA271 Powerline Extender (Homeplugs) to extend my wifi signal to the room upstairs (used to have a weak signal with the Extreme). I have configured the homeplugs correctly (the light on the homeplug is flashing correctly).

    My iOS devices are picking up signal coming from the Extreme and not the Homeplug even when I'm standing next to the Homeplug. I would have thought they would pick up the signal from the Homeplug seeing as it is the stronger one.

    My question is, Can one have an Apple Airport Extreme and the TP-Link Homeplugs in the same network? Have I made an error somewhere?

  17. Andrew,

    At my home I got 4 apple air port running at the same SSID. When I move around, on the airport utility I can see that my laptop move from from airport to another airport. I think because it is all apple product, so the MacBook wifi software can check and switch. Now your scenario is you have a tplink extender which is non apple product so I am guessing the intelligent will not be there. So your laptop will still hook to the "preferred" wifi in the list instead of searching for strong signal. As long as you can get a signal, you will auto login to that wifi. Even though u stand beside it. So you will may be need to turn off the laptop and then reboot it. To see if it will log on to the extender.


  18. Thank you Ken. It's working beautifully now.

  19. This blog has been informative. I am having "noise" issues with my speakers as soon as I run the Aztech home plugs. I guess it was the cheaper model. This one with "AC Pass thru filter" should do the work.. just wondering if there is a "circuit filter" I can fix up just to get ride of this problem..