Some weeks ago I was interested in purchasing a steam-link module, I was curious how they planed to transfer the pre-calculated data to my living room without notable performance loss (delay).

After a bit of digging I figured out they advise to avoid using wireless LAN. What lets me assume now, steam link lets my machine calculate the data and then induces it to send the calculated data over the network to the Steam link so it can screen it on the TV. This conformed with my fear and the given warning of the system shouldn't be run on a wireless LAN, since the latency of the data exchange would be horrible and for most games not playable.

If I would like to place Wire through my living room down the stairs to the routing point, I would just place my PC in the living room plugging the wire to the PC and just connect the PC to my TV... No need for the Steam link at all. So it was an closed topic for me.

Today I stumbled on Amazon on a Powerline Network adaptor, and I was asking my self, what would be the latency on the wire?

If I were to set up two of these adapters, one in my living room next to a Steam link module, and the second one close to my computer just connecting my computer with it. Would this be fast enough data transfer, so that I can use Steam link as intended without an notable delay?

Or are there other pitfalls with these devices which prevent a satisfying usage together with Steam link?

  • Should be fine, this is quite similar to a wired network just over power lines. I suggest you check reviews on the different brands as some are better than others. The latest models get very good average speeds and latency. Nov 23, 2015 at 13:03

1 Answer 1


Steam Link is essentially streaming rendered gameplay and user input back and forth between multiple devices. This will require a reasonable amount of network bandwidth but more importantly, stable and low latency.

It's not likely that you'll experience bandwidth related issues as a result of using power line networking so we'll concentrate on latency.

The latency and quality of signal when using power line networking is entirely dependant on the environment - that is, the electrical wiring within your home. This varies wildly from building to building so even generic advice probably wouldn't apply.

Some people report latency increases of 20+ms as a result of using power line networking which is where the issues will start occurring. Adding an extra 20+ms of latency will result in noticeable input lag and an overall inferior gaming experience.

Your best bet is to get actual numbers and that's going to involve testing such technologies within your own environment. Due to the variances in the quality of electrical wiring, many people find it works fine and many people find WiFi to be more stable. Your mileage will vary based entirely on the electrical wiring within your own environment.

  • Is there any way to test what the latency would be without purchasing the device?
    – Zaibis
    Nov 23, 2015 at 13:08
  • Nope... it's entirely dependant on the quality of the wiring in your environment
    – kalina
    Nov 23, 2015 at 13:13
  • And sending my own ping out on the power line with some selfmade tools would probably result in the building on fire and leaving me reliable for the damage-cost without any insurance willing to pay, right? x'D
    – Zaibis
    Nov 23, 2015 at 13:17
  • You might be able to ask your question on Electronic Engineering. I think if you know how your house is wired up, you can start to get an idea. If your "route" through the power system takes you through your fuse board, this is a bad sign, but if it stays on the same circuit, this would be a better sign.
    – Gremlin
    Nov 23, 2015 at 14:59
  • +20 ms seems a huge increase to me, since it's more or less an Ethernet connection using electric wires. Was it properly measured? Was it compared to Ethernet? Nov 26, 2015 at 0:26

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