- Created on 11 July 2011
There are three main ways for networking around the average domestic residence: Wireless, Ethernet or Powerline. Chance are you've heard of the first two, but Powerline networking seems to have passed the average user by. Powerline adaptors utilise the existing electrical wiring in any house as the cabling for the network (electricity works at a different frequency to data) and negates the need for miles of cabling running around the place. Although they can be bought separately at least two are needed to propagate a Powerline network. For the purpose of this review, we purchased an Extra Value 200Mbps Pass-through Powerline Adaptor Twin Pack from Ebuyer to see how easy it is to network using Powerline adaptors.
As the name suggests, the Extra Value kits are normally the cheapest option for purchase from Ebuyer, and as such they don't come with bells and whistles! The pair of Powerline adaptors came in a simple brown box bundled with RJ45 cables and a software CD.
Installation is a simple job of plugging both adaptors in to power sockets (one near your router and the other wherever you want network access), connecting the RJ45 cables to the relevant hardware (two computers, or a computer and your router) and pairing them by pushing the NMK (Network Membership Key) button on each. Once this is done you are up and running, however in order to make the network more secure it is advisable to rename your network (just in case your neighbours happen to have a Powerline adaptor with the same default name). Usefully, since these are Pass-through adaptors, it means that the plug sockets aremstill available for use by other hardware.
Transfer speeds were as fast as expected throughout our tests, with no dropout wherever we placed the plugs. Setup takes only minutes and the overall cost (at the time of writing) was only £49.98. In our eyes these provide a good way of avoiding expensive DIY/trade work to install RJ45 cabling around your house when either you can't get a decent wireless signal or if you want a "wired" network.