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Connecting DVR to RG via Ethernet - over a PNA...


Connecting DVR to RG via Ethernet - over a PNA...

I've been on U-Verse for a long time. We have TV (u450) and Internet (Max Plus). When it was first installed, the installer put in coax connections to the RG and DVR. Well, after many years, my coax line to my DVR finally gave up, and became unusable.


At that time I decided to switch over to ethernet; however, when I ran my CAT-5 lines in my house when it was being built, I put the drop on the other side of the room from where the TV is. So, my choices were to either use an ugly, 25' line from the drop to the DVR, or put a complete new line in from my home office (which is where my RG is) to the TV/DVR area.


I decided to try a third option.


I knew that wireless connectivity between the DVR and the RG was fraught with problems, which I learned from reading online in forums like this one. I knew that it had to be a line, not wireless. So, I decided to try something.... inbetween, I guess you could say. I decided to see how a Powerline Network Adapter (PNA) would work.



If you're not familiar with PNA, basically it uses your AC Power lines running throughout your home as a network. Now, the explanation of how it works is out of the scope of this doc; plus, if I dove into explaining it, this post would quickly become a novella. If you'd like to dive into all the technical stuff about it, start with the Wikipedia article on it. However, for the purposes of this post, here's the important things to know about PNA:

  • Yes, it works
  • Yes, there are limits to it
  • Yes, there are advantages and disadvantages to it, and both sides of that equation have numerous points to each of them
  • Most importantly: yes, this does work for RG-to-DVR ethernet connectivity - under the right circumstances; however, YMMV.


Generally, there are two data rates on the common PNAs as well - 200Mbps and 500Mbps; I chose 500Mbps. I went to the local Microcenter, and picked up the Actiontec Powerline Network Adapter Kit - 500Mbps (Model: PWR500). I chose this because it was pretty cheap - one of the reasons for this is that this model only has one ethernet plug on each adapter. Since I am only using this to connect the RG to the DVR, this limitation was fine. When I purchased this package it was on sale, for $39.99; this particular unit is widely available.



The package comes with two adapters, and two CAT-5 cables. Installation is as simple as can be. Plug each adapter into a wall outlet nearest the unit, plug the CAT-5 into the ethernet outlet on each device, and that's it. Here are a couple of pointers, however:

  • When plugging this into the RG, plug it into one of the four yellow "Home Network" ethernet ports on the back
  • Do not plug the adapters into a surge protector - they seem to screw up the connectivity between the two adapters. Plugging them into a simple extension cord seems to work fine.
  • When you get everything plugged in, the three lights on the front of the adapters should all be green.
    • The Power (PWR) light should be solid green
    • The Link (LK) and Ethernet (ETH) lights should be green and blinking (blinking shows the traffic between the adapters and the network).


In my case, it works perfectly. I have had absolutely no lag, no digital pixelation, and no interference in the connection between the RG and DVR, and the network in general.


Incidentally, I have multiple computers connected to my network - a Macbook Pro, a Win7 laptop, two Win8 Laptops, a Win Server, and a Win8 Workstation. I have 3 teens in high school, and I work from home as a software architect/engineer/develper/geek-of-all-trades. We also have a Sony Playstation 3 connected to the Playstation Network, plus everyone's cell phones.


Two of our TVs are HD, 2 are SD.


Needless to say, there is quite a bit of traffic on our network.


Everything works exactly as you would hope.



Now, this may not be the answer for everyone; however, if you're having problems with your RG's connectivity to the other units in your home - especially to the DVR - and you're trying to weigh your options, this may be a low-cost, low-labor solution to your problems. As has been said multiple times, ethernet connectivity within your U-Verse TV network is much, much better than coax. So rather than trying to correct and resurrect a problematic coax connection, maybe this would work for you, too.


I'd be interested in hearing anyone else's experiences with this option.


Thanks for your time.


[Edited to comply with Guidelines]

Message 1 of 6

Re: Connecting DVR to RG via Ethernet - over a PNA...

It works but is not recommended, have you tried to watch HD? or watch HD with one stream recording? this is where i think it may cause some issues. When i left the uverse side they were in the process of testing faster EOP (ethernet over Power) with different results so im not sure if they have authorized use for installer s yet or not.

Employee Contributor*
*I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
Message 2 of 6

Re: Connecting DVR to RG via Ethernet - over a PNA...

Actually, yeah, I have. I watch a lot on HD, and record all in HD.


I think the reason - and really, probably the ONLY reason - that it is working is that I am not using it for any other networking. The ONLY thing using this type of networking is the RG and DVR. The rest of my network is via CAT-5 and wireless. Since this is the only "segment" using PNA, it is has no other traffic on that segment, so essentially it has the entire segment's pipe for communication.


I assume you have a better understanding of the particulars of the RG and DVR's communication protocols - chattiness, bandwidth requirements, carrier signal requirements, etc. Does my theory make sense? If not, do you have any other ideas?


Would the exact make/model of RG and DVR that I have matter?


Why else would this be working so well? Any ideas?


My geek nature really wants to know....

Message 3 of 6
ACE - Expert

Re: Connecting DVR to RG via Ethernet - over a PNA...

Actually, power lines have been used previously by other U-verse customers.  I believe some have been installed by U-verse installers.  However, whether they work or not depends on the quality of your electrical wiring, etc.  You probably have a new home with good, clean wiring.


*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 4 of 6

Re: Connecting DVR to RG via Ethernet - over a PNA...

I guess new is a relative term. My home was built about 16 years or so ago. Do you think that's new enough?


Oh well, whatever the case, I'm glad it works and I hope it may provide others an alternative if they have a similar problem.



Message 5 of 6

Re: Connecting DVR to RG via Ethernet - over a PNA...

The particular EOP adapters that are used can have a large impact as well. Not all of the HPNA/EOP chipsets support IP multicast, and not all of them can reach their rated bandwidth.

Many of the chipsets that are rated for 200 Mbps and up will work, however. The older 80 Mbps adapters did not.

Message 6 of 6
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