What are the differences between PLC and WiFi signal repeater?

Between a PLC and a Wi-Fi signal repeater, which one should you choose?

One of the things I enjoy the most is having a good Internet connection throughout my house. I recently moved into a 2-story house and the first thing I thought about was how to get a signal in all the rooms.

I consulted with a friend and he recommended using a PLC or a WiFi signal repeater, but he was not sure which the best option was. Therefore, I began to thoroughly research each one.

internet signal

Both are alternatives that fulfill the same function: to extend the range of the Internet signal. However, they do it differently and that is where you can assess which one offers the most benefits.

To help you clarify their differences, here I will tell you what a PLC is and what a WiFi repeater is, as well as the advantages that each one offers you.

What is a PLC?

PLC is the acronym for Power Line Communications, a technology with which it is possible to use the electrical network to amplify the internet signal. It is not a new method, as it has been used for more than a decade and is still used today as an alternative in many homes.

The function of a PLC device is to use the cables of the electrical installation of a house or building, as a means to transport the Internet signal, instead of Ethernet cables. In this way, it allows the signal to reach any room, as long as it has an outlet.

To see it better, a PLC is made up of two devices: a transmitter and a receiver (although, seen theoretically, both fulfill the function of sending and receiving data).

The sender connects through the outlet and receives the Internet signal from the router, through the Ethernet cable. The receiver receives the signal through the electrical network and sends it to any compatible device with an Ethernet port (such as computers, televisions, video game consoles, among others).

It is an economical alternative, since it takes advantage of the electrical wiring present in the infrastructure, avoiding having to spend money on meters of Ethernet cable. In addition, you can now find PLC models that integrate WiFi technology, to bring the signal to mobile phones, tablets and any other device without an Ethernet port.

What is a WiFi signal repeater?

Now, a WiFi signal repeater, as its name indicates, fulfills the function of repeating the WiFi signal, expanding the range to areas where the signal is weak. It helps to improve signal quality and Internet speed, in places that are farthest from the main router.

It works wirelessly, receiving the Internet signal through the main WiFi and retransmitting it to other devices, maintaining the signal intensity. It can also connect directly to the router, through an Ethernet cable, fulfilling the same function.

It is an economical and easy to alternative use. It is only enough to synchronize it with the router, so that it begins to work, without the need for extra wiring.

Related: How to improve a slow Wi-Fi connection easily and without cost

Differences between PLC and WiFi signal repeater

Surely you have already noticed what the most notable difference between a PLC and a WiFi signal repeater are: the type of connection.

Differences between PLC and WiFi signal repeater

PLC devices are connected to the electrical network and depend on the Ethernet cable to receive and distribute the signal, being a bit more complicated to install than WiFi signal repeaters.

However, that is not the only difference they have. Below I will tell you what are the points that you must take into account, before choosing between a PLC and a repeater.

Number of devices

PLCs must work with 2 devices simultaneously: one that emits the signal and another that receives it.

On the contrary, to use a WiFi repeater, only 1 device is needed to extend the coverage range in rooms or between rooms.

Ease of connection

For PLC devices to work, they must be connected to an electrical network in a direct or linear direction. If the connections start from different points or are interrupted at some point, the connection is not achieved (it usually happens a lot in two-story house).

Instead, the WiFi repeater can be connected anywhere, as long as it is within the coverage area indicated by the device and there is a power outlet nearby. In this case, it is easier to connect a repeater.

More stable connection

In the case of the PLC, the connection is more stable as it has fixed communication with the electrical network and the Ethernet cable, but it depends on the use of electrical energy at home; so if the same current is used to turn on a large appliance (such as a washing machine, for example) the quality of the network may be affected.

As for the WiFi repeater, the strength of the signal can vary according to the distance and the number of obstacles that may affect the coverage range (such as walls or doors). Being the PLC much more stable in comparison.

Connection radius

By using PLC to give Internet to a computer or a game console, the connection you get is much more direct and is the same throughout the room, no matter how big it is, as long as it has the same electrical network.

With WiFi signal repeaters, there may be communication interruptions when used over long distances or even connection failure if used on different floors. Therefore, in this case, it is more advisable to use a PLC.

Final Note
Although each one has pros and cons, in the end it all depends on the use you want to give it. In my case, I have chosen to use both methods to maintain a good signal at home. I have combined a PLC with the WiFi signal, obtaining the best of both technologies. This way I can enjoy a stable connection on the consoles and on the TV, while using the WiFi on the mobile.

In any case, now it’s up to you to choose which one brings you the most benefits.

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