With fast PowerLine transfer speeds and a stable, if not particularly quick, wireless signal, Solwise's latest adaptor is a great way of getting wireless to inconvenient parts of your home.
PowerLine networking is a great way of connecting devices anywhere in your home to your router, as it uses your house’s electrical wiring to carry the data. This is great if you want to extend your network over a wide area, as wireless networking has a limited range and is subject to interference. However, by combining PowerLine and wireless you could hugely extend your network’s range.
Most PowerLine adaptors only have an Ethernet port, so you’ll need a separate wireless access point to use Wi-Fi. Solwise’s NET-PL-200AV-PEW is far neater thanks to a built-in wireless extender, as well as a 10/100 port. However, it only supports 802.11b/g wireless, with a theoretical maximum speed of just 54Mbit/s; that’s much slower than modern N (up to 300Mbit/s) and N-Lite (up to 150Mbit/s) kit can manage – though it won’t bother those with only older devices.
At a distance of 1m from the unit, we saw speeds of 15.6Mbit/s; enough for almost anything short of HD video streaming. At 10m, we got 10.7Mbit/s –good enough for small to medium sized file transfers. At 20m, our connection remained stable but slowed to just 1.92Mbit/s – fine for browsing the net, but little else. The adaptor’s PowerLine throughput is much faster – 63Mbit/s when we tested it with one of Solwise’s compatible NET-PL-200AV-PIGGY adaptors.
A simple web interface allows you to manage the device’s wireless settings. You can change its IP address to avoid conflicts with other routers or access points, change its wireless channel, enable MAC address filtering and set up WEP, WPA or WPA2 wireless encryption. The HomePlug side of the network can be secured by simply pressing a button on the base of the adaptor.
Solwise’s adaptors are among the fastest you can get using the 200Mbit/s HomePlug AV standard. You can get a quicker connection, though, by using the PowerLine Network Alliance standard used by the quicker D-Link DHP-303 adaptors. We’ll be reviewing PowerLine adaptors with N-compatible wireless soon, but until then, the NET-PL-200AV-PEW is a neat and reasonably option for combined PowerLine and wireless neworking.
|Powerline networking standard||HomePlug AV|
|Homeplug stated speed||200Mbit/s|
|Warranty||one year RTB|