Review: 5 power-line devices that take you online where Ethernet or Wi-Fi can't

February 18, 2009 (Computerworld) When your router/modem is “here” and you have one or more computers either upstairs or downstairs from that location – or both! – life begins to get complex. Hardwiring your network is fast and efficient, but it’s often not a practical answer, especially for homes and small offices. Renters may have difficulty convincing their landlords to let them rewire a home or apartment that they don’t own themselves. Even wiring your own place may not be fiscally feasible.



Nice to finally see some reviews of the 200Mbps models. :slight_smile:

I recently bought the Belkin 200Mbps AV model for linking up the network between upstairs and downstairs in my house, which use to be done by Wi-Fi.

It is very surprising how picky these are about the wiring, especially when the sockets are wired to separate fuses or circuit breakers. After trying several combinations of sockets in both rooms and testing throughput, I had to use the socket at the opposite wall to the PC/network in either room to get the best speed! So a 10 metre (~33 foot) I used many years ago finally came in handy again to use the socket at the opposite wall in one room. :stuck_out_tongue: These devices will not work through surge protectors or UPS’s with surge protection, so they will need to be plugged directly into the main wall socket or connected with a 2/3-way adapter.

In my set up, I was geting ~3.5MB/s constant, quick enough to stream BBC HD from satellite between the two rooms, which I couldn’t do before with Wi-Fi. With Wi-Fi between the same two rooms, I was getting ~2.5MB/s with a DGL-4300 gaming router upstairs and a 108Mbps D-Link PCI Wi-Fi card downstairs with a 6dBi directional antenna. The DGL-4300 router recently died (now works intermittently), so I replaced it with a basic Wi-Fi access point (for laptops) and a wired router I had handy.

Streaming quality from my experience is a lot better than with the Wi-Fi connection. For example, while streaming TV between the two rooms, I use to get the occasional picture break-up on Wi-Fi, but not with the HomePlug connection. VoIP calls are also fine and the same with streaming on my HDX1000 network media player.

One other advantage I find with using HomePlug is that as it works independent of Wi-Fi, so when I send large files between my PCs and media player upstairs - downstairs, it doesn’t affect the Wi-Fi performance when using the Internet from a laptop. :wink: