Thursday, February 19, 2009

Review of 5 Powerline Networking Devices

There's a good article over at Computerworld reviewing five Ethernet-over-powerline devices.

I have limited experience with this type of networking.  All of my small business clients use Fast or Gigabit Ethernet over CAT5e wiring.  Most home users I've worked with have been content with WiFi.  But, for some home networks, installing CAT5e is too expensive, while WiFi is subject to too much interference.

Case in point, one of my clients has three computers in his home (two Macs and one PC), all sharing a cable modem.  There's also a Brother printer which plugs into his router, providing print services to the three computers.  One of the Macs is located in the Florida room out back, while his Linksys WRT-54G WiFi router is located downstairs in his den, near the front of the house.

We first tried get the Mac in the Florida room onto the network via WiFi but the signal kept dropping.  It was pretty marginal and as time passed he was seeing more interference as well.  So, I had him get a Linksys PLK200 Powerline AV Ethernet Adapter Kit.   One of the Linksys adapters was connected to his router while the other one was connected to his Mac.  It's been working well and allows whoever is on the Mac to reliably access the Internet at speeds over 10 Mbps.

If you go with Ethernet-over-powerline networking, and you own an older home, I recommend testing to make sure that your outlets are properly grounded, to prevent damage to your equipment. This GFI OUTLET TESTER will tell you if it's correctly grounded or if it needs to be fixed.

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