Power lines or wifi mesh

I looking to upgrade my old 500 ethernet powerlines to 2000mbs ones and wondering whether to get a mesh wifi system instead.
Running a ethernet cable from back bedroom to the lounge where my Naimm is is a no go.
The naim is connected via a switch which also feeds the tv, freesat box and bluray.
Does anyone have experience of going down that route with a mesh.
Would sound quality ( it sound pretty damn good anyway) be improved by using a mesh? Or will that cause other problems like drop out.

I used to think running an Ethernet cable was a non-starter, but eventually came round to the idea that it wouldn’t be that hard, and just did it. Looking back, it wasn’t really that hard, and I’m glad it’s done. If you really can’t do this, I would certainly go for WiFi in preference to powerline adapters.

Agreed … If you can’t run ethernet, & I mean really really can’t, then go for Wifi Mesh but properly done.

Yes Wifi EasyMesh (consumer mesh like Wifi) or ideally if you can manage the Ethernet wiring, conventional multi access point with Ethernet back haul connected as an ESSID wlan… such as Ubiquiti Unifi AP AC products.
I would avoid powerline, they don’t offer Ethernet, often are effectively half duplex (not ideal for streamers especially legacy streamers) and are phenomenal RFI generators across all your domestic mains wiring.

Wow! Power lines? I think you have destroyed your Naim sound.
Wifi mesh would be indefinitely better than what you are doing right now.

Are you sure? I use power lines all around the house and they work very well.

I have a Sky Q router - how should I connect to my NDX2? Direct Ethernet cable is not an option, should I plug in the antennas to the NDX2 and just use it wirelessly? Currently they both connect to power lines.

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Can’t afford the unique ti so looking at the Netgear Orbis triband system

Netgear Orbi is very good, this is what I am using. But I had some contractor hard-wired the ethernet for my streamer.

HomePlug Powerline for general purpose data transport and browsing the web is likely in many cases a simple and “plug and play” solution, inevitably once you get sensitive audio kit in the mix the usual best, better, bestest arguments come in to effect. It’s fair to say the general consensus is that it’s less desirable a networking technology for consumer use than alternatives including wired Ethernet (electrical or optical) or premium grade consumer Wi-Fi or Enterprise grade Wi-Fi solutions as highlighted elsewhere in this thread.

Today you have many premium Wi-Fi solutions which do help improve the rate and reach of data and can be further extended by adding additional extenders as required. The better ones will have a dedicated backhaul radio (sometimes marketed as Tri-Band) which is used exclusively for connecting a wired Wi-Fi access point to entirely wireless extenders, they then, at closer proximity, provide separate radios on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz for client devices to connect to with less interference and better speed/throughput.

Be mindful of the fact that to get a good quality and reliable solution based on Wi-Fi will cost quite a lot, from a few hundred to over 1000 €/$/£’s based on the complexity and number of physical devices.

What works best for you will be entirely dependant on your physical environment, building materials, number of floors, neighbours with Wi-Fi Access Points and so on will all play a part in determining the right solution for you and your needs.

It’s worth also pointing out that through 2019 and in to 2020 there will be a gradual increase in the availability and maturity of products based on Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax). These aim to address a number of problems with previous and current generations of Wi-Fi products not least interoperability and the ease with which you can extend a network wirelessly to suit your specific needs.

If I was looking to invest in a high quality Wi-Fi solution today which will meet my
needs for many years, I would do some research on products becoming available now that support features based on Wi-Fi 6, certainly where audio streaming is concerned these newer generation of products should be more robust and more easily
managed and extended as your needs change.

You mention Netgear Orbi as one example. I’ve run a system using a wired Access Point and two additional Wireless extenders from the Orbi range, all connected and managed by a Ubiquiti Edgerouter 4. That was very reliable and gave me many additional configuration options and means to manage the data traffic which wasn’t possible with the kit provided by Virgin Media. I connected a Naim ND5 XS2 using Wi-Fi only to that system and had no streaming issues or concerns over quality.

You’ll likely find many folks with experiences spanning many years during which these technologies were not as robust or optimised and did create repeatable problems with audio equipment including dropouts or connectivity issues. The safe choice then and even now in many respects is a wired Ethernet connection however today and certainly looking towards the capability of the emerging Wi-Fi 6 certified equipment, if setup correctly and using high performance equipment there is no reason why a Wi-Fi connection can’t provide a solid solution for music streaming.
It’s easy to say, “just run an Ethernet cable from A to B” but we all know that may not be realistic for many reasons. I had the same challenges in my home where the Internet enters the building at the front in a basement TV room and then needs to reach various rooms across 3 floors and spanning front to back around 50-60m, this is in a solid brick and mortar construction from the 1840’s, I have run some data cabling to specific points but most of it is in the basement where possible.
I found the Orbi kit handy as the extenders have 4x Ethernet ports on the rear so can be used for things like Sonos, Sat receiver and so on, basically anything that either only has wired Ethernet or needs a Wired connection for other reasons, in my case a Sonos amp that provides wireless to other speakers nearby.
I’m now testing some new Wi-Fi 6 kit (due to work purposes) for certain features including remote management and diagnostic capabilities as well
as interoperability testing with other vendors equivalent kit, also using that with audio kit including the Naim streamer and all quite happy and working as expected.

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Wifi mesh is one of your solutions if you do not like direct Ethernet cable. I think there are some high-quality Ethernet cables which are much thinner than the traditional telephone lines.

Anyway, frankly speaking, you are wasting your money on the high-end expensive Naim streamer because you severely compromise its performance by using the power lines, I bet that high street Panasonic or Sony streamer would sound the same or even better.

Really high street Panasonic and Sony can sound better than Naim?!

Only if you use the power lines to feed the Naim streamers. :slight_smile:
You can of course try it yourself, please do not trust others, especially myself.

But one thing that is not disputed, powerline adapters are massive wide band RFI generators, so much so they must comply with radio spectrum band planning and have gaps in spectrum usage so as not to interfere with or be interfered by protected radio services.

Thanks @Mr.M, what an excellent explanation, I will investigate wifi6. My house is a relatively small 4 bed house, detached and with good space from neighbours. Broadband speed is 80gb, usually at least 50fb in practice and I have no problems with WiFi or Power-Line for my sky Q set up etc.

My NDX2 does not suffer drop outs on Power-Line but I have not put the antenna on to test WiFi. Being in a fairly decent WiFi environment should I abandon the Power-Line for streaming and use current WiFi?

By the way, my frame of reference is my Oppo 105 for attached rips and streaming. There has never been a problem with either power line or WiFi.

@anon56221831, I certainly have not wasted money and my main source is a connected SSD. When streaming it is better than my Oppo 105. I compare streaming (Tidal, Quobuz) with tracks on the connected drive and use the Naim app. I do notice a drop in SQ when streaming the same via Roon but it is not a massive difference.

It is for these reasons that I refuse to tread the multi box path - I am not convinced that the incremental SQ increases are worth thousands of pounds!

Too many people claim massive changes, I do not subscribe to this.

Thankyou for a comprehensive explanation that I understand not like some replies received. I think I will use my Plusnet router wifi for now with a wifi extender to see how it performs and ditch the powerlines. .Then wait until the newer wifi6k kit is available .

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Hi @Proterra, likewise, I will take Mr.M’s advice and use my Sky router for now rather than Power-Line and see if I notice any difference. I will keep my power lines for distribution of Sky Q throughout the house.

@Mr.M, my NDX2 and SN2 are located in an under stairs cupboard accessed from the lounge with my Neat SX1 speakers located in the kitchen/sitting room.

I have a Sky Q slave box and Oppo 105 in the same rack, both connected to a Power-Line in the cupboard. If I connect the WiFi antenna to the NDX2 and stream via WiFi, will the close proximity of the Power-Line cause much of a problem?

I appreciate that with the more specialist and sensitive 500 series that there would be more of an issue but am curious about my set up.

Just reconfigured using wifi . The instruments seem tighter especially bass. First impressions are good .

Hi @Proterra, so for you at least the move to WiFi has been an improvement.

What do you stream and how? Do you for example use tidal via Roon or the Naim app? Do you use files directly attached to your Naim or Roon core and again do you use the Naim app?

For attached files directly attached to your Naim streamer and using the Naim app would be as good as the quality is possible to be. This is the method that I use the most and can compare tidal streams from Naim app with my attached storage. I always prefer the attached files but also understand that tidal files will be mastered differently.

When I use Roon with either files attached to the core or tidal/Quobuz I notice a deterioration in sound (slightly less detailed) but then that is upstairs with Power-Line connections to the NDX2 downstairs.