Typically, people set up their home internet network using a wireless internet router. However, one disadvantage of a wireless internet connection is that it can be significantly slower than a wired connection, and you can also lose the signal occasionally or even quite frequently. Having a wired internet connection through a router can eliminate or greatly reduce this problem, but the tradeoff is that you would have to string Ethernet cables throughout your house, which is not usually very appealing. Powerline networking using HomePlug Ethernet adapters can be a good solution in this case.
What is Powerline networking?
Powerline Ethernet adaptors allow you to use the electric wiring in your home to transmit your internet connection. As long as you have electric jacks, you can carry the signal from any point in your house to any other point. You will need two Powerline transmitters, one to connect to the router that distributes your high-speed internet signal, and one to plug into a jack near a place where you want internet access. You will also need an Ethernet cable at both ends: at one end, to connect the router to one Powerline network adapter, and the second one to connect the other Powerline adapter to the device (computer, TV, streaming video player, etc) to which you want to transmit the internet signal.
Where can you buy Powerline network adapters?
Powerline networking adaptors (or HomePlug Adaptors as they are also called) are available at most electronic goods stores like Best Buy, and also on sites like amazon.com. Any store or website that sells computer networking equipment would have them. They are available from a number of manufacturers, including Belkin and Netgear.
What are some of the best Powerline network adapters?
Some of the best reviewed Powerline Ethernet adapters are as follows:
Netgear 85Mbps Powerline Network Adapter Kit : This Powerline kit has generally received very positive reviews on amazon.com. The Netgear Powerline Adapter Kit XETB1001 is easy to set up anywhere in the house where you have an electrical connection. The kit comes with two powerline adapters, one of which should be plugged in close to your router, and the other should be connected to a socket close to where you want the internet signal. You do not need to do any set-up other than that! It can transmit data at high speeds, up to 85 Mbps (which sounds very good to me considering my home wireless signal transmits at only 54 Mbps). It is also compliant with other HomePlug devices. Customers have raved about how easy it was to set up, and how effective it was. Retailing for $65.00 on amazon.com this is truly an easy and economical way for you to set up your home internet network. It has three indicator LEDs that allow you to quickly assess whether the power, network and Ethernet are all functioning, making it easy to troubleshoot if anything is not working. By buying additional Netgear Powerline adapters, you can easily expand your home Ethernet work throughout the house.
Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit : This is another powerline networking kit that has been very well-reviewed on amazon.com. It is also plug-and-play, so all you need to do is to plug one adaptor in at one end, the other on at the other end, and you’re good to go! The Western Digital WD Powerline adapter offers blazing speeds, up to 200 megabits per second, although of course most people won’t be able to benefit from these speeds as home internet speed is typically much lower. However these speeds are great for streaming media or other large files around your home. Each of the devices in your Western Digital kit has 4 ethernet ports, allowing you to connect multiple devices on each end. It is a bit more expensive than the Netgear 85 Mbps (at $95), but still very reasonably priced, and shelling out the extra $30 could be well worth it if you stream a lot of large files around your home.
Some of the other well-reviewed and reasonably priced powerline adapters include:
The Actiontec MegaPlug 85 Mbps Ethernet Adapter Twin-Pack
ZyXEL PLA401v3 HomePlug AV 200 Mbps Powerline Wall-plug Adapter