How to Troubleshoot a Netgear Powerline

By Christopher Capelle

A NetGear Powerline is a piece of networking hardware that uses a building's electrical wires to establish a network connection. It is especially useful in situations where a wireless network doesn't allow for full-bandwidth connection and where using a network cable is impractical, usually because of physical limitations. The unit consists two A/C adapters and two Ethernet RJ-45 cables. The Net Gear Powerline adapter requires no special software and is compatible with any computer that has an Ethernet network adapter.

Things You'll Need

  • Ethernet RJ-45 cables
  • Additional computer

Step 1

Confirm that each Powerline unit is plugged in to a working wall outlet and not a power strip or surge protector as a first step to troubleshoot a network problem. Verify that the light is working on each adapter. Check both ends of each cable to ensure that all connections are secure and none of the clips are broken. Replace the Ethernet cables if you suspect that they are not be functioning properly.

Step 2

Inspect the lights on the NetGear box. From left to right, these are Power, HomePlug and Ethernet lights. The Power LED indicates the unit is receiving power; the HomePlug LED confirms both units are communicating properly; a blinking Ethernet LED confirms that data traffic is transmitting between the units.

Step 3

Check the lights on the router to see if the NetGear box is recognized. Also, make sure other computers on the network are functioning properly. If other nodes on the network (either wired or wireless) cannot see or be seen on the network, then reboot the router as well as the cable or DSL modem, which may clear up the problem.

Step 4

Swap out the NetGear units with working ones (if possible) to see if one or both of the Powerline boxes have failed. Power surges, lightning strikes and physical damage all have been known to disable NetGear Powerline boxes. Also, test the electrical outlet to confirm it is working and not dead as the result of a blown fuse or other electrical issue.

Step 5

Connect a different computer to the NetGear unit to determine whether it's the computer or the NetGear box that is having problems. If it's the computer, then you will have to confirm that the RJ-45 network jack is functioning or whether you need to configure the computer's network settings to be able recognize an Ethernet connection.

Step 6

Navigate to the network settings on your computer to verify that your network is properly configured. On a Windows computer, open the "Start" menu, click on "Control Panel" and double-click on "Network Connections." Mac users will open "System Preferences," "Network" and then click on the "Advanced" button. If you are running OS X.4 or earlier, click on "AppleTalk" to make sure AppleTalk is enabled. In both instances, confirm your network settings are set to recognize the network.