The D-Link Wi-Fi or messy cabling.powerline kit is simpler than Prince Harry’s wordsearch collection. It contains two little white boxes that plug into your mains electrical sockets. You connect one to your broadband router, and the other to a device somewhere in your house that wants to talk to the Internet. And that’s it. The Internets then stream all over your home mains system without the need to mess about with dreadful
D-Link‘s hardware is very smart. The pure white that has recently been eluding Apple is used for these adaptors, and looks good as well as helping them fit, stylistically, with your mains sockets. There’s a simple button on the side that initiates the encryption between two of these adaptors. You shouldn’t even need to use this, as they should work together out of the box. There’s also an Ethernet jack on the side, which is fine, but we’d prefer it on the bottom.
All of which sounds perfect, until you encounter some of the problems powerline networks typically have. Firstly, you have to be careful which manufacturer’s products you buy. There are a couple of competing systems that simply don’t work with each other. Even within the same standards, there are different devices that don’t work with each other.
There’s also an issue with your home wiring setup too. Powerline systems can’t work on sockets that have any filtering built in and they aren’t at their best on extension leads either. You’ll also run into problems if your home wiring is old — this will reduce the throughput speed you’ll see.
Make no mistake: despite its problems, power lines is a great way to network devices that would otherwise be difficult to get online. It is also for things that do not require an unprecedented particularly high speed. If you are in a newly built house, or at home has new electrical wiring, you’ll see a fairly decent speed anyway.
Expect to spend about 85 of those little adapter. Almost all you need is in the box and can manage in a few minutes. You can use other types of cards if you know what is useful if you have many devices around your house want to add, should the Internet.