Wi-Fi vs Ethernet over powerline

I’ve been using Wi-Fi to stream with no issues. I’m rethinking the digital side of my system and I’m wondering if I show switch to Ethernet over powerline. What are the pros and cons?

This topic has come up in the past. If I recall correctly, a number have used them successfully and without problems.

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in theory powerline Ethernet is an abomination that is polluting the airwaves (and in particular, short wave, if anyone remembers that).

In practice some of them are fine, very convenient, and work a treat :slight_smile:

Given that the choice is powerline or Wi-Fi I would say stick with Wi-Fi - both are “noisy” in theory, Wi-Fi is a more narrowband and more localised type of noise and hence easier to filter out in equipment.

Others will have differing and probably equally valid opinions:)

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I’ve read that Ethernet over power is slower than wired Ethernet but I haven’t heard that this is an issue when streaming hi res. Qobuz has mentioned that they recommend a wired connection if drop outs are an issue. I have experienced drop outs on occasion when using Wi Fi but I have no idea if that is Wi Fi related. More often I seem to experience everything just freezing up. Then I close Qobuz down and start again. That is most likely not a Wi Fi issue, probably. Wi Fi sure is convenient though.

I am one of those in the community who got clobbered by the outrageous powerline hash some powerline ethernet adapters spew back on the mains circuit. It can be obnoxious and so high level it can’t be knocked completely out even by a high quality line conditioner/stabilizer like the one I’m using. The adaptors I was using are Netgear. I don’t like Wi-Fi because I’ve never found it to be reliable compared to a hardwired connection. The upshot is I refuse to make the mistake of using powerline adaptors again and I’m now all hardwired. Yes that means some rather long Cat5 runs between my PC and my networked audio gear. C’est la vie … since making that decision I have never encountered another problem with network gear EMI corrupting my system. I’m happy.


I have an Orbi mesh system, and I placed a satellite a couple of feet away from the streamer. I have never had any drop-off from Wi-Fi yet. The SQ is excellent after a few upgrades and tweaks. The SQ from the streamer is very close to PST when playing the same files (streaming vs download). PST still has better resolution, and streaming sounds more musical. I believe if I have a streamer at the same price point as PST, there will be no advantage on discs.

Will a wired network give me an even better sound? I do not know, but I doubt it.

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A hardwired connection would be a very high hill to climb in my home. The only circumstance where that would be a consideration would be if sound quality were to take a major hit with the alternatives. Unless someone makes a compelling case for that, most likely, it will be WI-FI for me.

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Since you are reporting no issues with WiFi stick to that - powerline is not reliable.

Some RF experts believe powerline adapters should be illegal since the devices past tests because the conditions they’re tested under aren’t representative as in the home.

See if you can add proper Cat 6 UTP points - a good long term investment. No just for audio but video going forward.

But since no WiFi issues, no rush.

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There was a very famous RF expert that said they should be flat out illegal but can’t find that, but the 2 below are a good starting point.



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Burn them all! :wink:

My Wi-Fi experience is similar, using a Linksys mesh system, but with a hard-wired connection between the streamer and the closest mesh node (my streamer, an Aurender, has no Wi-Fi capabilities). But upstream of that last connection, everything is Wi-Fi. I have rare occasions when the whole network malfunctions because of the crappy cable company’s crappy modem, requiring it, and sometimes the first wired mesh node, to be rebooted, but I’ve never had any intermittent dropouts while listening, or momentary dropping of resolution.


I have never used powerline over audio but I have used it for printers and Internet on my home network years ago for a hard-to-reach room. I found it very slow and prone to losing its connection where I would have to unplug and then plug back in the two modules to get them to connect.

I used EOP for years. I didn’t notice any sonic degradation. I did have a 50% loss of bandwidth. A 50 mb pipe from the ISP was 25 mb at the output of the EOP device. A major factor is the internal wiring in the building. I was forever having to reboot the EOP receiver due to it freezing up even with last firmware. I would not use it in my 225 year old home. Even with modern 200A romex service and properly balanced/grounded wiring

I tried WiFi on my streamer but got frequent dropouts so I tried ethernet over power line which robbed me of half the signal bit rate and was not reliable - eventually I bit the bullet and ran a direct ethernet cable now I am happy


I have an Orbi mesh system, which is rock solid and 100mb everywhere including within 20’ around the outside of the house. Not cheap but we’ll worth it if ~$1000.00 is in your budget.

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Does the Orbi connect to your router first or does the Orbi have its own router?


I have tried two powerline extenders in the past, and I got rid of them soon becuase I still had dropouts often. Ever since I replaced them with the Orbi mesh, everything works fine!

I also replaced the stock charger with an IFI Ipower X for the Orbi satellite that connected to the streamer, and the SQ improvement surprised me. I highly recommend you give ir a try if you use a node or satellite for your streaming.

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The main Orbi unit is a router, they also have a model that combine the modem and router too.

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Hello I have a devolo magic wifi over the power grid to connect to the upper floor. It also depends on which internet comes into the house. I also use a Melco S100 switch and good Lan cables with galvanic isolation help to get a better signal and higher quality when streaming. I plan to make the network connection optical in the future. Advantage, no interference, galvanic isolation. Greetings Andrew

The Orbi system has a router and satellites. I have fiber to the home so no modem just the media converter fiber to twisted pair.