Do you want to create a network in your home or office without having to pull wires through the walls? Do you want to improve the coverage of your wireless network easily? Then you should know about Netgear’s Powerline Network Adapters.
Power line adapters let you create an network using the electrical wiring in the walls of your home or office. Yes, this may sound odd. I was skeptical at first, but this technology has been through several generations and works well now. You can read about the history and how this works in this Wikipedia article. Netgear is not the only company that makes such products. A bunch of companies make products that are, supposedly, interoperable and all comply with the HomePlug standards.
I use power line adapters most commonly in large homes where I need to extend the coverage of the wireless network. If the home has ethernet wiring in the walls then I can simply plug a wireless access point into one of the ethernet jacks in an appropriate part of the house. However, if the home does not have ethernet wiring, I’ll use a pair of power line adapters. One connected to the wireless router, the other to a wireless access point in an appropriate part of the house. Here’s a bit more detail.
To get started, you just need to buy a pair of power line adapters, like the ones found in this XAVB2501 kit. Take one of the adapters and connect it to your existing network router using the included ethernet cable. Then plug the adapter into a wall outlet — avoid plugging it into a power strip since this will greatly diminish performance. Plug the second adapter into an electrical outlet elsewhere in your home and then run an ethernet cable from it to your computer, printer or wireless access point. That’s it. The two adapters will find each other and set up communication. Various LEDs on the adapters will tell you if they are connected and at approximately what speed. These adapters can communicate at speeds up to 200 Mbps. You can set up more than two adapters if you’d like. You can read about the maximum number of adapters and other details at the Netgear FAQ page. Reviewing the Troubleshooting page could also be helpful. If you’d like to set up encryption or rename the adapters, use the Netgear Powerline Utility for Mac or PCs.