Computer Corner #16
By Bob Habas
Formally of computer
Power-line networking is one of several
ways to connect the computers in your home. It uses the electrical wiring in
your house to create a network. Like HomePNA (Home Phoneline Networking
Alliance - networking over existing phone wires), power-line networking is
based on the concept of "no new wires." The convenience is even
more obvious in this case because while not every room has a phone jack, you
will always have an electrical outlet near a computer. In power-line
networking, you connect your computers to one another through the same
outlet. Because it requires no new wiring, and the network adds no cost to
your electric bill, power-line networking is the cheapest method of
connecting computers in different rooms.
Pros and Cons
There are two competing power-line
technologies. The original technology is called Passport, by a company named
Intelogis. A newer technology called PowerPacket, developed by Intellon, has
been chosen by the HomePlug Alliance as the standard for power-line
Here are the advantages of a
It uses existing electrical wiring.
Every room of a typical house has several electrical outlets.
It's easy to install.
There are some disadvantages to connecting through power-lines
The connection is rather slow -- 50 Kbps to 350 Kbps.
The performance can be impacted by home power usage.
It only works with Windows-based computers.
It can only use 110-V standard lines.
Older wiring can affect performance.
Connection speeds for different networking technologies:
PowerLine AV = 15 Megabits per second (Mbps)
802.11g (Wireless) = 54 Megabits per second (Mbps)
802.11n (Wireless) = 65 Megabits per second (Mbps)
Ethernet CAT5 (Wired) = 100 Megabits per second (Mbps)
Do It Yourself! Watch how to set up a power-line
Beyond allowing your network to extend where it isnít otherwise able to
go, PowerLine technology offers interesting capabilities for households and
small office/home office environments. Itís great for extending the reach
of home media, especially for the growing number of small networks with
streaming media servers or to bring media extenders or gaming consoles into
the mix. PowerLine technology is also a boon for those who want to connect
computers to the network in rooms where in-wall or other wired outlets may
be absent or where interference or distance makes wireless unworkable. This
can be especially helpful in condos or apartment buildings with rooms
adjacent to elevators, large transformers, or other heavy electrical
equipment. Given that electrical wiring already goes everywhere, why not use
it to let your network do likewise? On average, youíll pay about $55 to
$65 per PowerLine AV adapter, which puts it on par with 802.11n USB adapters
and about $10-$15 more than 802.11g adapters
Netgear XAV101 - $70
COMPUTER CORNER #15 (Go