Extended Reach: Solving home network problems with PowerLine
In addition to being super-simple to set up, PowerLine networking devices can help you solve a variety of networking problems you might encounter using traditional wired and wireless networking standards. Instead of Ethernet cables or wireless signals, PowerLine routes network traffic through your building’s electrical wiring, extending your network’s reach to any room with a power outlet. It’s an easy, affordable method that lets you mix and match a variety of devices — including PowerLine adapters, switches, routers, and extenders — to add connection points wherever you need them. From home entertainment equipment in the living room to the home office in your basement, PowerLine lets a variety of devices communicate with the Internet and one another.
Best of all, you don’t have to sacrifice speed to take advantage of PowerLine convenience. The latest generation of PowerLine products is fast enough to keep up with a busy household. The technology now comes in two speeds. Traditional PowerLine transfers data at 200Mbps (megabits per second). That’s suitable for moderate traffic, up to streaming a high-def video signal from a computer or media player to a networked HDTV. Lately, PowerLine devices have hit the market that operate at 500Mbps. This higher speed lets you stream movies, games, and music simultaneously and transfer more, and larger, files without bogging down performance. Moreover, it gives your network a high-performance backbone for high-bandwidth devices.
The only rule to remember when it comes to putting PowerLine to work is never to mix PowerLine devices that use different speeds. When you do, you essentially create two different PowerLine networks, one running at 200Mbps, the other at the higher speed. If you stick to PowerLine devices rated for the same speed, you save yourself a lot of confusion — not to mention networking hiccups.
Let’s take a look at how various PowerLine products can solve common networking challenges.
Problem: Devices out of range.
PowerLine extends your network to devices outside the range of an existing Wi-Fi signal or Ethernet wiring. PowerLine adapters, such as those in D-Link’s PowerLine Kits (DHP-307AV and DHP-501AV), solve this problem easily. Connect a router to the adapter via Ethernet and plug the adapter into an electrical outlet, and network traffic will flow through the building’s internal wiring. Now you can connect other devices to other adapters and plug them into electrical outlets anywhere in the building. Presto! Your network can reach devices throughout the building.
Problem: Several devices out of range.
If you need to connect several devices that are out of range, you might use a separate PowerLine adapter for each device. However, available electrical outlets would fill up quickly — and besides, there’s a simpler solution: a PowerLine switch such as the D-Link PowerLine AV 4-Port Switch, the DHP-346AV, and its 500Mbps counterpart the DHP-540. These devices are adapters that offer four Ethernet ports instead of just one. Plug the switch into an electrical outlet and you can connect up to four wired devices.
Problem: A large area out of wireless range.
What if you want to extend an existing wireless network to an area where the signal doesn’t reach — say, a patio or a basement? The solution is a PowerLine extender such as the D-Link PowerLine AV Wireless N Extender (DHP-W306AV). In this case, PowerLine carries network traffic to the wireless extender — it’s like having a second wireless router that echoes the first. Just plug the extender into the wall, enter the appropriate settings, and you’re done. Wireless devices within the extender’s range will join your network without fuss.
Problem: Need for an integrated solution.
Wireless, wired and PowerLine networking can work together to solve a variety of problems. That’s why all three are built into the D-Link Wireless N PowerLine Router (DHP-1320). The unit sends and receives a strong Wireless N signal — the latest, most robust version of Wi-Fi. Its rear panel offers four Ethernet ports. And a PowerLine adapter is built-in; the unit’s own power cord routes network traffic through the building’s electrical wiring. This way, you can solve a variety of network problems without having to assemble a hodgepodge of separate devices. Of course, you can still add adapters, switches, or extenders depending on the areas you need to cover and the devices you need to connect.
PowerLine is a powerful, flexible, cost-effective, and above all easy solution for all kinds of networking challenges. PowerLine adapters and extenders afford network access anywhere with an electrical outlet, switches let you share the DSL or cable modem connection in your home office with the wired devices in your living room, and PowerLine routers accommodate all sorts of network products. Each device is unique, but together they let you build the network you need, wherever you need it.