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Can Wireshark help a noob identify Powerline issues?

asked 2022-04-04 18:41:13 +0000

DaveW gravatar image

Hi all,

I have no experience in networking so I am looking for the simplest way possible to monitor my home network to allow me to identify and fix issues I am having with my Powerline network... is this possible using Wireshark? Or is there an easier way?

I have a bunch of TP Link Powerline adaptors (connected to devices via both ethernet and wireless) throughout my house and over the last few months my home Powerlink network has developed instability where the network stops functioning for a minute or so and then auto reconnects (WAN connection is stable). This seems to be getting more and more frequent to the point I cannot work as the company VPN connection drops so frequently I can't hold a single Teams meeting without disconnecting at some point. It worked perfectly a year ago and has gradually gotten worse over time.

I'd like to monitor the network to see stuff like: which connections stay live, how frequently it drops, if I unplug all devices from the electrical supply that I reasonably can and then reconnect them 1 by 1 whilst monitoring to identify any device which is injecting noise into the copper cable, etc.

Help & advice much appreciated

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Do not plug the powerline adapter into a power strip, extension cord, or surge protector.
Back in the golden days of X10, if you added a device to the circuit (such as a satellite receiver) that included internal surge suppression, it would kill the X10 communication. You might start by unplugging everything in the house, get the Powerline network stable then add back devices till it breaks.

Chuckc gravatar imageChuckc ( 2022-04-04 20:09:36 +0000 )edit

Also keep in mind that if someone puts a welding machine nearby on the same grid that welding device may cause spikes on your powergrid. So the root cause may be very well outside of your house.

Some solar power equipment also uses the same specs to use internal communication. At present it has no impact in my own house after we installed solar panels a week ago. But I did choose specifically for a different brand of powerline adapters as they are the most resilient ones.

hugo.vanderkooij gravatar imagehugo.vanderkooij ( 2022-04-05 13:50:12 +0000 )edit

Thanks Chuck, no Powerline devices are plugged into surge protection or extension cords sadly. I agree on the method of unplugging everything, however the issue seems to appear randomly and so without a tool to gather data it will be a long and fraught process.

DaveW gravatar imageDaveW ( 2022-04-05 20:08:11 +0000 )edit

Thanks Hugo - what brand is most resilient and how did you determine this?

DaveW gravatar imageDaveW ( 2022-04-05 20:09:00 +0000 )edit

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answered 2022-04-05 13:46:25 +0000

hugo.vanderkooij gravatar image

Wireshark is not able to see anything in regard to the cabling issues on your powergrid that is the carrier for the Powerline adapters.

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My question was really whether Wireshark could log network data continuously over days so i could see what devices stay connected and how frequently they drop off the network. This allows me to unplug everything (all my potential sources of noise) and slowly start to plug them back in whilst monitoring the network to check for Powerline devices going offline.

DaveW gravatar imageDaveW ( 2022-04-05 20:12:14 +0000 )edit

For long term capture, including using a ring buffer, use dumpcap. See https://www.wireshark.org/docs/man-pa...

André gravatar imageAndré ( 2022-04-11 19:58:56 +0000 )edit

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Asked: 2022-04-04 18:41:13 +0000

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Last updated: Apr 05