Showing the HF Interference Problem from Ethernet over Powerline Devices

Over on our YouTube channel we’ve uploaded a new video that shows how bad the interference from Ethernet over Power devices can be. Ethernet over Power, Powerline Networking, Powerline Communications or ‘HomePlug’ is a technology that allows you to use any of your household power outlets as an internet Ethernet port, completely eliminating the need for runs of Ethernet cabling. They are capable of high speeds and can be used anywhere in the house assuming the two plugs are on the same power circuit.

Unfortunately these devices tend to wipe out almost the entire HF spectrum for anyone listening nearby. As household powerline cables are not shielded for RF emissions they radiate in the HF spectrum quite heavily. In the video we demonstrate what the HF spectrum looks like with one of these devices used in the house. The particular device used was a TP-Link brand adapter, and a WellBrook Magnetic Loop antenna was used outdoors, with the null facing the house. An Airspy R2 with SpyVerter was used to view the spectrum.

The video shows that even when the network is idling there are several brief bursts of noise all over the spectrum. Then when a file is downloaded almost the entire spectrum is completely wiped out.

Interestingly from the video it appears that the amateur radio frequencies are actually carefully notched out and those frequencies remain relatively clean. Most manufacturers of these devices appear to have worked with the ARRL to please ham radio enthusiasts, but SWLers will likely be in trouble if any of these devices are used in your house or neighbors house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMXRo5FKUIQ

6 comments

  1. Neil

    These things are EVIL:.. I have been putting up with this isn a densley populated area in England now for years. They completely wipe out the whole of HF and there in nothing you can do about it but move . This is not spurious radiation the can be addressed, they are actually transmitting right across the board 🙁
    Not all of them have the Ham “notch” either.
    They should never have been approved for use in the UK. Technically (in the UK) you can ask all you neighbours to turn them off if they are interfering with your reception of “official” broadcasts, and then complain to the OffCom if they continue.. There is a specified fine for them not complying.. In practice though that never happens, and the Telecom providers hand them out like candy , so they don’t have to run cables in people’s homes to second TV’s etc. 🙁
    Again I say, they are EVIL!!!

  2. Kerteszradio

    Probably had a similar problems on public wireless internet over satellite on microwave bands. Today worry a power line LAN, tomorrow the Internet on Space. The true worst this, a high power output together a spread spectrum. Meanwhile the GPS,a-GPS, glonass, beidou etc. GOES and outernet – compare IoS – relative small power and “narrow” bandwidth.

  3. KD0CQ

    I have several Ubiquiti units here and luckily all but one seem to do great. Some clip on torroids took care of the noisy one. My problem is my noisey router/hub. If ethernet is up so is the noise. Kills 2m.

  4. Angel Sevov

    I had exactly the same problem, and the solution was NOT to use extender and implenting and using other techniques..

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