Using Home Phone Line Connections ( HPNA ) to Connect Your Computers – commonly referred to as HPNA in the networking world-

This is a guide to setting up a computer network using the existing telephone wiring that is running through your home’s walls.
You can connect your computers to a network using your phone jacks and existing wiring –
Basically saying that instead of running CAT-5 cable to Ethernet cards on your computers you can use a special HPNA network card and regular telephone cabling into the phone jack.

Not all your pc’s need to be connected using this technology,in fact this is usually reserved for “remote” computers that are in a room that is too far or too inconvenient to run an Ethernet cable or reach with a Wireless signal.
Similar to using an Ethernet network each computer that connects to the network using a telephone cable and phone jack and will need it’s own Network card installed – this will be a most likely be a PCI card and must be HPNA capable.

If you have purchased a HPNA network card (can also be a USB device) and need help with how to install it you can use the instructions for installing an Ethernet Network Card (it’s basically the same technique)
Click here for instructions

It’s very rare for a computer to already have a HPNA network card in it, so if you see a place where you can plug in a telephone size cable it is most likely a dial-up modem and will not be capable of connecting your computer to the network.    Also keep in mind that simply installing a HPNA card and plugging a telephone cable into the phone jack and possible doing the same with another computer in another room is not necessarily going to create a computer network.

You are still going to need some kind of “central” device like a Router that “talks” to each computer and decides which traffic goes to which pc.  You’ll need one of these devices too if you want to route or prioritize traffic from your network onto the internet.  You can also use it to set up VPNs or even connect to residential proxies for hiding your IP address when you’re online.

The benefits to doing a network using HPNA are going to be the convenience of being able to plug your computer into the telephone jack in the wall and having it connect to your network and to able to SHARE THE SAME INTERNET CONNECTION as your other pc’s and SHARE FILES between the computers.
All this without running your own CAT-5 cabling or purchasing wireless equipment.

DO keep in mind though there are some draw backs to using this type of networking technology.

First off you must understand that the quality of the communication between your computers using HPNA will be entirely dependant on the quality of the phone wiring of your home.
Also remember telephone wiring was not originally intended for this type of data transfer. So if your house is old or you have doubts about the quality of either the wiring or the phone jacks themselves, then you must keep that in mind if and when you are troubleshooting any issues that may arise during and after the install.
And as a side note
* Sometimes the phone company doesn’t have your house wired correctly in order to allow this type of communication* – you may want to contact them or your ISP for more information.

What You’ll need –

  • Telephone cabling- the minimal amount necessary to reach from your computer to the phone jack- you want this cable as short as possible
  • HPNA enabled Network Interface Card/Adapter- One for each computer that connects through the phone wiring
  • Router/Switch- one to be the central connector of all the computers and must be HPNA capable

* It’s best to have atleast Windows Vista or newer version of windows on your computer * No need to worry about requirements for CPU speed or RAM or Harddrive space

The easiest way to create a computer network is to connect all your pc’s to a central switch or router, which they will all use to communicate to one another. Look at the diagram below to see an example of what the finished network will look like.
So lets get started-
First thing is to decide if your are going to use a Router or a Switch You could use a Hub in this same type of set up, but with today’s prices you’re much better sticking with either a Switch or a Router. But which one, both a switch and router are going to be the “decision maker” on the network, which means it will decide what data goes to what pc. Having said that a Router is much smarter and does a much better job of this and make the number of decisions you have to make much simpler. And a switch will not be able to send out a HPNA signal for the pc’s to detect. If you use a Switch there will be some addition settings you will have to configure on your computers so they all have addresses on the network.

Also if you are planning on sharing one internet connection then you are going to need to use a Router so that it can dish out IP Addresses to each of the computers.  SO it’s probably best to just go with the Router right off the bat, because it will be more useful down the road as your network expands and becomes more complex.  For example if  you need some online privacy and want to try out a rotating proxies trial then it’s much, much easier if you have a decent router to route your traffic through.

Not all routers do Home Phoneline Networking: FOR HPNA YOUR ROUTER MUST BE CAPABLE OF TRANSMITTING A HPNA signal down your telephone wiring


Now lets take a look at your Computers-
Each computer on the network needs to have some type of network card installed, and if your computer is fairly new theres a good chance it already has a ethernet card or a dial-up modem installed.
You can be sure by either simply looking at the back of your pc for a port that looks like a phone jack- if it is the same size as a telephone cable ending then it is either a dial-up modem or a HPNA card.
Test this by trying to insert your telephone cable into it. – if it’s too small for the port then it is a ethernet card that is installed.
The other way to tell what type of hardware is installed on your pc is to check in your Device Manager
Click here for instructions

Alright so now we’re ready to plug some things in-
If you have a DSL internet connection then it may be nessary for you to also use a Filter or Splitter to seperate the different signals traveling through the phone wiring.
If this is true and your ISP has provided your hardware, I would strongly recommend contacting them for more specific directions on how to correctly use the filter Basically, it is the filters job to keep the two signal ( telephone and internet ) from interfering with one one another.

Connect one end of your telephone cable to the HPNA adapter you’ve purchased and the other end to the filter or directly into the phone jack.

Now assuming you have the HPNA adapter installed correctly and the computer has gotten the drivers installed properly then now the pc should be able to detect the HPNA signal being transmitted out by the router.

And then verify that each of your computers is able to ” Pull an IP Address” from the router and that they all start with the same numbers. The router should give each pc it’s own unique address and they will all start with the same numbers.
All IP addresses will be in the form of 4 octets – format – Some examples of an IP address are: 192.168.x.x or 172.16.x.x or 10.x.x.x
The X’s are numbers that can change from one network to another so not to worry as long as the beginings are the same.
Think of the IP address as a street address – All your pc’s need to live on the same street in the same town.
There will also be a Subnet Mask- don’t worry about this number to much either your router will do this stuff for you.

To be sure all your computers are set-up to automatically get an IP address from your Router.  You should be then in a position to look further afield if your router is linked up to the internet. Remember you need a default gateway set to the router and you’ll need some form of name resolution.  You can point your clients at the router for name resolution or specify them on the client.  For example I use a BBC DNS server which is specially designed to allow me to watch the BBC from outside the UK. I specify this individually as I don;t want all my other devices configured like this.

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