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Networking IT Hardware

5 Powerline Networking Devices Reviewed 153

Posted by timothy
from the floor-to-floor dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Most people who can't or won't hardwire for broadband have an obvious alternative: Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there can be architectural anomalies between floors or even between rooms that can interfere with Wi-Fi signals, resulting in spotty, or even dead, signals. So what do you do? Well, you can try using a powerline device. Computerworld reviewer Bill O'Brien tests powerline units from Belkin, D-Link, Linksys, Netgear and Zyxel, and compares their performance to that of his wired and wireless setups."
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5 Powerline Networking Devices Reviewed

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  • I remember these... (Score:4, Informative)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:37PM (#26908791)
    They used to be kind of squirrely, and WiFi was just so much better. But with the explosion of interference, it might be time to look again.
    • by telchine (719345)

      I hate WiFi, I find it unreliable and worry about security.

      I'd like to hear about the reliability and security of these devices. I'd be worried that my neighbours would be able to listen in over their power lines.

      • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:11PM (#26909309) Journal

        I'd be worried that my neighbours would be able to listen in over their power lines.

        If your using cable and your cable provider doesn't bother to use BPI (Time Warner doesn't, in my area anyway) then they have a much more direct way to listen to your communications -- the downstream portion anyway.

      • by TheCabal (215908)

        I use some Netgear adapters at home. They've been rock solid for almost two years, after abandoning wireless for these due to my neighbors flooding the airwaves. The ones I have will encrypt the signal. Since they're older units, I believe they do DES, possibly TripleDES. The newer units are claiming to do 128-bit AES.

  • by corsec67 (627446) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:39PM (#26908827) Homepage Journal

    What about packet loss, ping, ping jitter and resistance to interference?

    Bulk transfer is useful, but may not be important to gamers or people who want responsive.

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:47PM (#26908963) Journal

      How about they try turning on a toaster, microwave, dish washer, space heater or some other high consumption device as well? I played around with these back in the day and somebody turning on a toaster in the different room on a completely different circuit was enough to murder my connection.

      There are still a few hitches. Here in the U.S., we tend to run split-phase wiring. The electrical service enters our homes as 240 volts made up of two 120V lines (or legs). Our 120V outlets are derived from tapping off one or the other of those 120V legs. As a result, you may not be able to network devices that are plugged into outlets on different legs.

      Good catch on the different legs of split phase. Always wondered about that. Guess they can't use the ground wiring for some reason?

      • by XanC (644172)

        Just make sure that a 240V device, like an oven or dryer, is on when you want to use the network.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Shakrai (717556)

          Just make sure that a 240V device, like an oven or dryer

          Shit, I have a gas oven and dryer. Guess I'm stuck with this crappy Cat5e infrastructure instead ;)

          • I have both and can use these without problems,

          • Just stick a 1 ohm 240W resistor between phases

            • Damn - make that 57600W.

              (Getting late)

              • by ncc74656 (45571) *

                Damn - make that 57600W.

                ...and watch your power meter spin like a frisbee. Assuming that you don't just trip your main breaker first (200A service (what I have for a 2-bedroom condo with all-electric appliances) only delivers 48 kW).

                There may be a higher-value resistor you could place across the two legs of split-phase 240V service that would bridge a powerline-netwoking signal while not burning obscene amounts of power. Then again, if you could break out a 240V circuit somewhere (behind the dryer, maybe?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MadnessASAP (1052274)

        Guess they can't use the ground wiring for some reason?

        Nope, because it's ground and is therefore tied to either your household plumbing or a large copper stake driven into the ground. You can't pick any signal off of it because of course anything attempting to transmit on it will simply be swallowed up.

        • by unitron (5733) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:23PM (#26911029) Homepage Journal

          Since the "ground", the third wire, the bare or green wire, properly known as the "grounding" conductor, is, at radio frequencies, somewhat separated from the "neutral", the white wire, properly known in a 120 Volt circuit as the "grounded" wire (it and the "grounding" wire are tied together at the meter base only)(it's only the "neutral" in a 240 volt circuit where you have 2 "hot" wires 240 volts apart and each 120 volts away from the neutral), you should be able to insert a radio frequency signal between the "ground" and the "neutral" and have the "neutral" act as antenna, which would solve the "are you on the same leg or not" problem, since the "neutral" is common to both 120 Volt sides.

          Don't know how Underwriters Lab and the National Electrical Code folks would feel about it, though, or whether it might "confuse" Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters.

          Anyway, I hope it works better than those NICs that used (or tried to) the telephone wiring--Home Phone Network Alliance, or something like that.

      • Guess they can't use the ground wiring for some reason?

        I'm not an EE but I don't think a grounded medium will transfer electromagnetic waves. Even a "grounded antenna" isn't directly grounded, but has a ground wire running near it, but with an insulator separating them.

      • by RMH101 (636144)
        Honestly, you won't have a problem with these things. They're like a transparent connection. No lag, jitter, interference etc. I've got cheap Comtrend 200meg ones in the house and once you've set them up, you can forget them - it's just like a wired (obviously non gigabit!) connection.
    • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:54PM (#26909051) Homepage Journal

      I have a Linksys PLK200 set connecting my living room to my basement router and over that I:

      Stream HD movies from Netflix
      Stream tons of other content from my media server
      Play online games over Xbox Live
      Surf the internets

      All without a problem. But then again I also use a wireless mouse and an LCD monitor to play first person shooters...

      I've also noticed no problems due to microwaves or the dishwasher.

      • by Aardpig (622459)
        I have old wiring plus a ham radio operator next door. So, to be on the safe side, I had my electrician put Cat 6 into every room. Now I have mythtv frontends all round the house, with the server in the basement...
    • Definitely important parameters. For what it's worth, I have a pair of 85Mbit Devolo plugs (a popular brand in the UK at least) that the diagnostics state are giving me a 51Mbit link. The plugs link my downstairs office area to the ADSL router and server upstairs.

      As well as a PC and network print server, I have a Snom 360 VoIP phone on the desk, with accounts registered on the upstairs server and also at Head Office. I've had no no problems with the phone using both the the G.729 and uLaw CODECs, implying

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Similar experience here - I have the 200MBit Devolo plugs in the UK. It's a 10y/o house (so modern circuit breakers etc which no doubt help).

        Powerline has provided a far more reliable connection for me than wireless, and I can happily transfer HD video to my media box, and access the internet simultaneously on it (which is basically all it needs to do).

        Setup-wise, I'd definitely recommend them to non-tech-savvy friends too - no messing with settings, literal plug and play.

        Obviously UK and US electrical syst

    • and security? (Score:3, Interesting)

      Some people might think these are attractive because the signal can't be intercepted as easily as wifi. However Powerlinecommunications hacking seems to be moving on nicely http://events.ccc.de/congress/2008/Fahrplan/events/2901.en.html [events.ccc.de] . My understanding is that it's sometimes possible to pick up signal leaking from other users in the building.
      • by xeoron (639412)
        Secure? Not a problem if you turn on subnetwork encryption channels that some of these devises use. And if that is not enough, you can always create a ssh tunnel between the two machines that are at either end of the powerline connection.
        • Sure, but some people like the idea of physical security as well. Particularly as wifi security has suffered so many problems.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:18PM (#26909405)

      >What about packet loss, ping, ping jitter and resistance to interference?

      Heck, how about reporting in standard units? Time it takes to transfer his porn collection in a zip archive, i mean 8.05gigs of data? What the heck is that? How about just running iperf and reporting standard mbps.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        And talking about adding video streams, how were they being streamed, what bitrate were they etc?
        For that matter, what protocol was used for the file transfer, different protocols are suited to different network conditions so obviously you need to test multiple methods of network transfer if you're testing physical networking devices.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      I have a pair of trendnet TPL-202E's [newegg.com], and they run flawless. Never wavering connections, or anything. I've hit above 1MB/s in transfers on comcast which is pretty decent.

      No matter what is added, they run constant. In addition I tested the maximum throughput (since I run them on an extension cable) with a heater on the other side of the extension cable and it didn't affect speed at all. I have not bothered with the encryption but I could, I guess.

      For me for gaming it is dead on perfect, no problems of pack

  • I suppose if all else failed, you could do this. I however, would look into wireless just a little bit harder. There are all types of antennae mods you can get for range extending, and not to mention wireless repeaters. The problem is your average joe 6pack consumer wants results and wants them now. For your average slash dotter like myself, we're more prone to get the wireless running and tweaking every aspect of the router from angle, transmit power, etc. to milk every last bit of performance.
  • Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:43PM (#26908901) Journal
    A little slow; but at least they are flaky and expensive, so I give them a thumbs up.
  • Heat (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jon.Laslow (809215) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:48PM (#26908969) Homepage Journal
    Flipped through the article, but what I'd like to know is if they've improved heat dissipation on these things. I tried a few different makes years ago (back when the best you could hope for out of them was ~10Mbps), but after about a month they'd cook themselves to death unless you modded them with vents and fans.
    • Re:Heat (Score:4, Informative)

      by athakur999 (44340) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:56PM (#26909083) Journal

      I have a pair of cheap Airlink adapters from Frys that have been running well for several months now, despite them both being enclosed in areas with poor airflow. I use them to connect the Xbox (running XBMC) in my bedroom with my router in the living room.

      The connection is fast enough to play back downloaded videos with zero issues. I tried some tests using computers at opposite ends of the house and was able to get around 3 or 4 MB/s transfer between them. My 802.11n wireless network usually peaks at around 6-8 MB/s, so while it is slower, it's not noticable for most tasks and still enough to max out my FIOS connection.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Shakrai (717556)

        tried some tests using computers at opposite ends of the house and was able to get around 3 or 4 MB/s transfer between them. My 802.11n wireless network usually peaks at around 6-8 MB/s

        You should translate those hard to understand units into something more intuitive like "minutes to transfer 8.06GB of data" ;)

  • There are still a few hitches. Here in the U.S., we tend to run split-phase wiring. The electrical service enters our homes as 240 volts made up of two 120V lines (or legs). Our 120V outlets are derived from tapping off one or the other of those 120V legs. As a result, you may not be able to network devices that are plugged into outlets on different legs. In addition, older wiring and long wire runs can slow down power-line transmission speeds.

    Which, I if remember my breaker right, the breaker divides the t

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shakrai (717556)

      Then again, I think you put your heavy draw devices on one buss and the room outlets on the other, meaning it would prolly work. Then again, I'm not an electrician.

      I'm not an electrician either but that's most defiantly not the standard practice in any application that I've ever seen. Most of your heavy draw devices are going to be 240V and will hit both legs by default -- the other circuits are usually divided as equally as possible between the two legs. Open up your circuit box sometime -- you'll see how it's arranged internally.

      • by Seakip18 (1106315)

        Just re-read it and yeah, it didn't make sense. Good thing I don't make a living as an electrician. Though if I did, I suppose I'd know already....

  • Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:56PM (#26909091) Homepage

    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.

    What kind of small office wouldn't be able to run a piece of CAT5? If you can't afford to do that (and I'm including the done by hand up through the ceiling by the CEO method) then your company has bigger problems.

    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.

    $20 of CAT5, $10 of jacks, and a $20 fish-tape isn't fiscally feasible, but these gizmos are?

    In testing the power-line devices, I started with a room-to-room test where I plugged one of the modules into a [...] electrical outlet downstairs and the other module into [an older] electrical outlet upstairs.

    These real world speeds are pretty bad. The D-Link didn't even finish the test. It looks like they came out at about 2.4 MBps. His WiFi was 4x faster. Ethernet was 10x faster.

    I also set up the power-line equipment using a 90-foot extension cord into which one of the modules was connected downstairs; that extension cord was then plugged into the same outlet upstairs as the second module.

    Oh, yeah, that's a common test. Why is it you can't let the Ethernet cable hang through the hall again?

    Basically, this represented a connection through a length of electrical wire in which there were no phase leg, aging or wire condition problems. In a new home, or if you had an electrician run two outlets from your breaker box, you would probably find transmission times similar to these.

    Wanna bet? I've seen new houses where it was dumb luck (and incredible fault tolerance) that let the phone jacks work. When you try to go from one end of a new house to the other, or across floors, I doubt this will be representative of anything.

    (This was the setup I used when testing the power-line devices with video streams.)

    So these things can't stream video under real world conditions. Excellent.

    Finally, I plugged the two modules into the same outlet. In theory, with little to no electrical wire between them, this would be the fastest they could communicate with each other under any network load condition, offering performance under what would pass for ideal conditions.

    Nice to know the top speed, but obviously you'll never run into this case except in the same room. And if both boxes are in the same room... run the Ethernet cable hanging from the ceiling.

    If you really want to these kind of gizmos for your little office, how well do they work with 3 computers? How about 5? What happens if your 2.4 MBps goes to 0.3 when you add the 3rd computer? He mentioned that at least one has some kind of security. How good is it? Does it compare with WPA2? What are the chances the next office over is close enough (though the power lines) they could be on my network?

    Pull a wire. We fussed with WiFi for years, and it is often problematic. If you are in a house or office, pull the wire. It's no that hard (for the simple cases he is listing, like two rooms above one another). Get the land lord's permission if you don't own the place. It's not worth all the fussing you may end up having to do with WiFi (thanks to neighbor access points, cheap $30 APs, etc).

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Linker3000 (626634) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:12PM (#26909313) Journal

      What kind of small office wouldn't be able to run a piece of CAT5?

      One in an historic ('listed' in the UK) building where any form of drilling through walls or fixing cables to the structure is not permitted - at least not without a craplaod of inspections and paperwork.

      Like my parents' 18th Century cottage.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TooMuchToDo (882796)
        Argh. Is there anything you can do in the UK without a permit and inspections?
      • If you have ductwork you can always fish plenum-rated cabling through the ducts.

        • by MBCook (132727)

          Right. We wanted to run an Ethernet cable from the basement up to a room on the 2nd floor. I poked around for quite a while with fish-tape and wasn't able to find a way to get the cable down easily without drilling more holes. So we ran it down through the air return duct. One end sneaks out the register cover, the other is pulled out of the heating ducts through a small hole (which was resealed with duct-tape) near the furnace and it runs over to the equipment.

          You don't always have to make new holes. Ther

          • by pnutjam (523990)
            Hope you used Plenum [wikipedia.org], standard cable has a PVC [wikipedia.org] jacket that emits a toxic gas when burned. You can't use it in any sort of space that acts as an airflow.
      • It doesn't have to be a listed building. There are a lot of offices around this area in buildings that are about 100 years old and were built as town houses, with nice, thick, stone walls. Running ethernet cable around these is tricky. Plugging single WiFi powerline Ethernet adaptor in in each room is a lot cheaper. Even the expensive ones are much less than the cost of getting an electrician to wire up a room.
        • by Khyber (864651)

          "with nice, thick, stone walls"

          These do not mix well with wireless signals of any sort.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)
            Exactly. You use WiFi in each room and connect the rooms together with ethernet over powerline. You can get good speeds over the WiFi because the walls naturally insulate the access points from each other. All you need to do to wire up the building is plug an adaptor in in each room.
            • by Khyber (864651)

              The interference generated across the circuit would be unmanageable and leave you with practically nil bandwidth.

              I've tried it. You can only have TWO on each individual circuit or else it's nigh-useless, and for every device you have plugged into that circuit, your bandwidth drops. Dremel motortool? Don't even THINK about getting a signal on that line until you're done with the tool and unplugged it.

              It would be far simpler to just run the ethernet.

      • 4 years living in a 1729 vicarage in the middle of the UK, rented, Grade 2* listed. One netgear ADSL/wifi box covered the house just fine, bounced its signals 'through' the 2 foot thick solid stone walls to different rooms, and for people who really wanted a cable, we just ran ethernet cable discretely round the edges of the hall, up the stair and into people's rooms. Lift the carpets gently and run the cable underneath and along the skirting boards.

        Not sure what listing status your parents' house is, I don

    • by tepples (727027)

      Get the land lord's permission if you don't own the place.

      In some buildings, that's far easier said than done. Or did you mean "move out"?

    • In modern office buildings, indeed, CAT5 or more is the best solution. Pity not everyone leaves in a modern building, and not every office is in a welldesigned building either.

      At home, I'm getting ever shittier Wifi. Last time I tried it, my card saw 15+ networks (17th century building facing... another such building), and Wifi keeps hanging during transfers, I cannot even play a movie remotely without freezes. Too many networks, probably many interferences too. My walls a quite thin, made of some kind of r

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Cisco Kid (31490)

      You missed:

      " ... if you had an electrician run two outlets from your breaker box, ... "

      If you could afford to pay an electrician to install outlets into the rooms, you can afford to pay to have network cable installed.

      Also, I concur with your comment about the extension cord.

      I have only two uses for wifi right now:

      1. iphone (no wired option)
      2. between two buildings 800 feet apart with no right-of-way to run any sort of cable.

      I can't imagine any situation where I would want to run networking over the powerli

    • by Chabo (880571)

      Pull a wire. We fussed with WiFi for years, and it is often problematic. If you are in a house or office, pull the wire. It's no that hard (for the simple cases he is listing, like two rooms above one another). Get the land lord's permission if you don't own the place. It's not worth all the fussing you may end up having to do with WiFi (thanks to neighbor access points, cheap $30 APs, etc).

      I'd love to wire up my apartment, but I really don't see how it would even be feasible. If you can give me a good solution, I'd love to hear it:

      My apartment [photobucket.com]

      Basically, I want cable running from the TV, where I have the cable modem set up, to both desks. I live on the second floor of three, so I don't think I can go through the floor or ceiling.

      Is there a good solution?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Change (101897)

        Plastic raceway.
        http://cableorganizer.com/surface-raceways/latching.html [cableorganizer.com]
        I use something similar to run speaker wire to my rear speakers. I have it run up the side and across the top of a doorframe to the corner of the room, then it goes up to the ceiling, and along the ceiling/wall edge to the speakers. It blends in fairly well.

        You can also pull up the edge of your carpeting and stuff cable under it (along the walls works well, but I wouldn't do that across a hallway or doorway), or remove your baseboards

        • by unitron (5733)

          Rather than breach the drywall, which, intact, helps slow the spread of fire from one room to the next (each 4' x 8' sheet has about 8 gallons of water in it), why not remove the baseboard and use a woodworking router to put a CAT5 sized groove in the backside of it?

          If you aren't the owner of the property, please negotiate this with your landlord.

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:29PM (#26909549)
      $20 of CAT5, $10 of jacks, and a $20 fish-tape isn't fiscally feasible, but these gizmos are?

      not everyone is a twenty-something DIY geek eager to cut into the sheetrock.

      Why is it you can't let the Ethernet cable hang through the hall again?

      because your wife said no way in hell.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tciny (783938)
      I use one of these at home and while it's not the best pick for moving large amounts of data between machines, it's a good solution for sharing an internet connection without having to run wires all the way around the flat. I tried WiFi, but it's an old victorian house in central London and something seems to cause massive interference. Not persistently, but every odd minute I'd lose the connection to the router. The bottom line being: I don't think anyone is trying to argue that these things are going to
    • by Belial6 (794905)

      $20 of CAT5, $10 of jacks, and a $20 fish-tape isn't fiscally feasible, but these gizmos are?

      That fish tape doesn't work well in my granny unit where the walls are made of cinder block, and a rug to throw over the cables definitely costs more than $20. A rug is probably going to cost you at least $40. That's at $20 difference. $20 dollars! I can understand someone being willing to spend $50 on networking, but $70? Are you insane?!?!?! More seriously, these devices seem to have the speed of the modem, the reliability of wifi, and the cost of an expensive gigabit Ethernet. It's like someone ch

    • by speedtux (1307149)

      $20 of CAT5, $10 of jacks, and a $20 fish-tape isn't fiscally feasible, but these gizmos are?

      Not everybody lives in flimsy wooden boxes. I live in a large building with thick brick walls.

  • if your power goes out, that your Internet connection goes with it?

    Wait, no, even if the power goes out, you'd still lose your Internet connection.

    Well, not precisely. Think about it. What if all your equipment is hooked up to a UPS? Then, as long as your cable, telephone, or whatnot, stays up, you'd stay up.

    Good point. Good point.

    I guess it's time to stop arguing with myself.

  • Ugh (Score:3, Funny)

    by The Cisco Kid (31490) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:17PM (#26909385)

    I think I'd just scotch-tape cat5 to the walls before trying to use the electrical wiring.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guysmiley777 (880063)
      Hell, at my old apartment we just ran cat5 along the baseboards.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      That's probably the most expensive time consuming way of doing it. If you're going for the divorce you may as well spend the money on hookers.

      Either way you get the divorce, but in the second case, who cares if the net works, you've got hookers.

      • Either way you get the divorce, but in the second case, who cares if the net works, you've got herpes.

        Fixed that for you.

  • by nsayer (86181) * <nsayer@COFFEEkfu.com minus caffeine> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:57PM (#26909949) Homepage

    I bought a set of 3 of these for my parent's house and they worked really well for what we needed them to do - namely, to hook up the TiVos to the home network (these were the newer TiVos that only support the TiVo branded WiFi adapter, unfortunately). As I don't live in their town and was only there for the weekend to help, this was the quickest thing Fry's could arrange.

    It worked so well, that when I got home I was inspired to feed a phone line to our tv satellite receiver over a powerline box. That way, all 4 pair in the one cat5 run going to that spot could be used for Gigabit and the phone could go elsewhere. So I bought a set of the RCA phone line over power gizmos. The resulting phone line was so shitty-noisy that I wouldn't want to make a phone call over it myself, much less ask the DirecTV receiver to attempt it.

    I wound up buying a set of RTX DualJacks to solve the problem. They use 2.4 GHz to move the phone line and work perfectly, but they're nearly impossible to find anymore. I had to get them used on eBay.

    I'm a little annoyed that nobody has made a similar box to transport a phone line over Ethernet. Yes, there are VoIP solutions, but they're way too expensive and over-engineered for what I want. Just two boxes that talk to each other with raw Ethernet frames to move a phone line from here to there oughtn't to be too much to ask, but apparently is.

    • by mi (197448)

      I'm a little annoyed that nobody has made a similar box to transport a phone line over Ethernet. Yes, there are VoIP solutions, but they're way too expensive and over-engineered for what I want. Just two boxes that talk to each other with raw Ethernet frames to move a phone line from here to there oughtn't to be too much to ask, but apparently is.

      Ethernet cable consists of 8 wires (4 of them unused, unless you use GB). A phone line needs 2 wires. With the right splitter, you can run 4 phone lines over a sin

      • That's what we did in a house I rented for a while. We did a deal with the landlord where we paid for parts and he paid for labour and the conduits. We got a drum of cat-5 and had a network socket and a phone jack run into each room. In my current house, I put in Cat-5e to every room, but tend to just use the WiFi.

        Even WiFi seems to be slowly going away. A few people I know have switched to using HSPDA providers for their Internet - if you use less than 10GB/month here it's cheaper than cable Interne

      • by nsayer (86181) *

        Um, did you miss the part where I said I was running gigabit over that line?

        I'm well aware that you can combine 100bt with two phone lines. Our master bedroom is wired that way, but that line doesn't require gigabit, so I can get away with piggybacking the phone lines.

        • by mi (197448)

          Our master bedroom is wired that way, but that line doesn't require gigabit

          What do you mean? If any room requires bandwidth, it is the Master Bedroom, of course!

  • by 2phar (137027) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:59PM (#26909997)

    From personal experience, I have to say the Belkin Powerline AV+ unit is by far the best of the bunch here. Rock solid performance all the way. Look no further!

    Sincerely,
    Mark Bayard [slashdot.org]

  • by DrVomact (726065) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @07:02PM (#26910037) Journal

    I tried using Netgear powerline devices to connect my outside security cameras to my router about a year ago. It kinda worked--as long as I didn't expect too much in the way of throughput—like streaming video instead of occasional JPEGs. I also had a couple of computers connected via Wi-Fi at the time, and was so (unreasonably) encouraged by this less than stellar success that I switched them over to powerline "warts" too. They worked pretty well.

    Then I moved my router to another room, and I haven't gotten these things to work ever again. Apparently, if your house wiring is just so, the powerline warts are fine; if the wiring—or the wiring between the points you are trying to connect—is not what the warts want, you won't get a signal.

    Somebody told me I should try one of those "bridges" that the X-10 people use to connect different parts of their home wiring so their X10 devices work, but messing with these things was giving me a worse chronic eyelid twitch than wireless. Luckily, I discovered that my youngest daughter has all the necessary qualifications for an excellent cable monkey—mainly, she's petite enough to worm her way through tight, dark spaces, and isn't afraid of spiders. So I just tied some CAT5 to her ankle and sent her into the attic. No more problems now, everything's connected. Wire is good.

  • O'Reilly Wireless Hacks. Page 164, Hack #68 -- "Homebrew Power over Ethernet".

    • I think you are confused. Power over Ethernet and Ethernet over power lines are not the same thing.

      That said, it is possible to do this kind of thing yourself. I used to have a book of hardware projects for the BBC Micro that covered how to create a network that ran over the ring main. You probably can't get away with telling children to plug their electronics projects into the mains anymore...

  • I've got four of the DLink DHP-301 units running in my house and they're just terrific.

    They're great for anyone unwilling (or unable) to tear up their walls to run CAT5. In my case, I'd have to go through three floors and I'm not exactly a do-it-yourselfer. These units were affordable enough (compared to losing a weekend and having to get help from a friend to run CAT5), and just plain work. I took a risk being an early adopter and I'd do it again if I had the choice.

    I use them to connect my broadband conne

    • Comment on Speeds (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Seek_1 (639070)

      Someone else had posted comments about the speeds over these lines so I figured I'd offer my experiences.

      For doing large file transfers, yes they are a little slow. However, in terms of just about anything else they're completely sufficient.

      In my house we regularly have up to three clients playing movies off the file server without issue. (In addition to standard internet browsing and occasionally running bittorrent off a laptop..)

  • I have a pair of Netgear adapters because my ADSL modem is in my living room and the room I wanted to put my office in was at the other end of the house. Previously, I have drilled holes and run ethernet or bridged my wireless base stations and that worked OK but this time I just couldn't get a connection to hold up and I didn't want to mess with long wires. With network over mains I can now have two separate base stations running giving me much better coverage in the house. File transfers over the mains

  • What kind of units is "minutes per 8 gigabyte"?

  • I have a pair of these things installed as a stopgap measure to get the living room on the LAN. There's a PC, an HD TiVo, and an Xbox-360 in there (the Wii lives off the WiFi).

    I would prefer to have genuine Ethernet strung in there, but I rent the place, and I'd have to cut holes in things to get the cables and outlets in place (I know; I crawled around under the house and looked). So until I get the impetus to actually follow through on that, we're living with these HomePlug AV things.

    They're still u

  • by ztransform (929641) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:54PM (#26911323)
    Can't we wait till the interference issues with radio communication are sorted out? See The ARRL site on this issue [arrl.org].
    • by iammani (1392285)

      This is not Broadband Over Power Line(BPL). In BPL a public electricity utility company uses its cables to provide broadband. Since the cables are long (long as in 10s of kms) , and their modems pump in a lot of power, they interfere with HAM communications.

      This article, FYI, talks about low power networking devices for short home cables (short as in 10s of meters).

      • This is not Broadband Over Power Line(BPL)

        The effect is very similar; attempting to utilise unshielded (i.e. no ground cable twisted, or ground wire wrap) cables to multiplex a high frequency carrier with square(ish) waves modulated on top..

        There are problems all signalling systems face - indeed the evolution of Ethernet is almost a study in this; you have reflections, you have impulses losing shape as they travel, you have loss.

        And, indeed, there are videos on the internet of Amateur Radio operators proving without a doubt that home power netw

  • The article is about performance of 200mbps powerline vs. 5GHz draft-N, fair enough. In my experience home users just want an easy stable connection for cheap. They inevitably start with wireless-G, which they either can't setup, or get a useless 0-2 bars of signal with. We sell them a 85mbps powerline kit, requires no setup, and they quickly wonder what all this wireless nonsense is about. Lots of happy customers.
  • And they work great. Tivo and PS3 on the TV, media server in the basement, webserver in the guest bedroom, and the bridge to the router in the office. You forget they're there because they are so reliable.

  • I have a wireless LAN based on equipment supplied by Roadrunner. Works OK.

    BUT! I have a lot of metal in my house. Between heating ducts and the steel trusses holding up the second floor wifi doesn't work well between floors and doesn't always work room to room.

    I have 6 of the AirLink power line Ethernet boxes. I bought them on sale at Fry's for no more than $30 each. I didn't buy them all at once. I bought one pair and then bought another one and then another one over a period of several years

    I have one beh

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