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A power line Ethernet bridge is a device that is used to extend a local area network into other rooms within a house or building using the existing electrical grid within the building. A bridge plugged into an AC outlet is connected to the router using a network cable and, in a separate room, another bridge plugs into the outlet to provide an Ethernet port for another computer or router.
A power line Ethernet bridge is also known as a power line Ethernet adapter.
A power line Ethernet bridges serve to "bridge" the Ethernet standard with the power line to allow data to travel through already existing power lines within a building. This saves money and effort that would otherwise be put into running additional wiring in order to extend a network and allows one to quickly set up an extended network simply by plugging these devices into an AC outlet. These bridges are usually small rectangular devices that are just slightly bigger than standard wall chargers.
The power line Ethernet bridge converts Ethernet signals into a form that can be carried over regular electrical wiring and then converts it back into Ethernet signals. Although convenient, the problem with this is that the electricity traveling through the power lines is easily susceptible to external influences, such as the turning on and off of inductive loads like air conditioners, refrigerators and blenders, that cause fluctuation, which, in turn affects the data signals being passed between bridges. This can lower the speed of data transfer to some extent. Power line Ethernet bridges use the spanning tree protocol to prevent bridge loops.