This Magic Box Transforms Your Electrical Outlets Into Internet Connections

Over the course of several years I've painstakingly migrated all of my gaming and electronics equipment into a single area, an impassable tangle of wires and blinking lights, all in the name of making sure I had a stable, wired connection at all times. Once I got everything just right, Diamond Multimedia sent me the Powerline Internet AV Kit, a pair of devices that turn any power outlet into a wired network connection.

If I had had a set of these two years ago I might still know what the back of my entertainment centre looked like.

I'd heard of devices similar to the Powerline Internet AV Kit, but I never paid them much heed. Their function was exactly why I invested in all of this fancy-shmancy wireless technology after all. Why spend the extra cash when my wireless connection is as reliable as any wired gadget?

Why, because that last statement is a complete lie.

I live in a relatively tiny apartment (in Japan they call it a palace), so wireless should work perfectly throughout the entire floor plan. Should is the operative term here, however. Between walls filled with humming electric wires, ancient Roman plumbing, and a wide spectrum of signals constantly being emitted by equipment specifically designed to raise my power bill higher every month are constantly doing battle with my wireless.

For example, the Blu-ray player in the bedroom sometimes plays Netflix. I can connect my Nintendo 3DS to the eShop while sitting on the toilet only when I hold it out towards the general direction of the bathroom door. Hell, my PlayStation 3, seated exactly 10 inches away from the wireless router, often forgets that said router exists. I think they're having some sort of lover's tiff.

So yes, the Powerline Internet AV Kit is one hell of a useful device. The only real problems I had with it were fighting my way through the cable jungle to find a free power outlet and finding the will to move a gaming console into the bedroom to test the signal strength.

The first device I attempted to use the Powerline kit with was a complete failure, but only because I still haven't acquainted myself with my recently-purchased Macbook Air to where the fact that it has no ethernet port instantly registers in my head.

That ethernet port is important.

The second attempt went much smoother. I plugged one of the units behind my cable model, an ether net cable connecting the two. The other unit went in my bedroom on the other side of the apartment, connected via ethernet to that pesky Blu-ray player.

Voila, instant wired connection. It was just that easy.

It transforms your home's power grid magically into a network connection.

Not only could I watch Netflix on a regular basis in a normally network-impaired room, I was watching it in high definition, something I'd never been able to do before in that room.

Subsequent tests with a PC-based laptop and finally my Xbox 360 (I found extra wires in a drawer so I didn't have to disturb the delicate ecosystem behind the TV) yielded similarly positive results. The device is capable of transferring 200Mbps, and as far as I could tell that made for a signal much faster than my wireless but not quite as speedy as a direct connection to the router. The stability completely makes up for the lower speed, however, unless you plug one of the devices into a power outlet that works on a light switch your significant other enjoys flicking randomly for no reason.

The only real problem I had with the Powerline Internet AV Kit was the sheer size of the wall units. Jutting two inches from the wall and not leaving much room for another plug to share the socket, making sure you've got the extra room before dropping $US80 on a set.

Also it doesn't taste particularly good.

The Powerline Internet AV Kit combines the convenience of wireless networking with the stability of a wired connection. Better yet, it does so without requiring any complicated setup or indeed any real networking know-how. It just transforms your home's power grid magically into a network connection. How? Do I sound like an electrician? It could be powered by fairy dust for all I care, as long as it performs as advertised, and it certainly does. Good for Diamond Multimedia.

The Diamond Multimedia Powerline Internet AV Kit is available now for $US79.99.


Comments

    If this actually works then I'm grabbing 36 of em :-P

      Though ill quickly warn you, you can get units with multiple ports, however dont buy multiple single port units as 99% will interfere with each other if on the same electrical cirtcuit.... there are a few that allow you to select network "channels", so just make sure if your using multiple units you buy the right one.

      also dont cheapen out on them if you're streaming hd media or have a high speed NBN type connection, as some are horribly slow!

    Ethernet connections, not bloody internet connections. It's just a type of home network (it's been around for ages,) I've got a d-link version, but I'd have to recommend not using this type of networking solution if they electrical system is rather old.

      Agree, this news is so old.

      Plus it lacks in other simple information I have found out in my research on powerpoint networking from a year or so ago.

      1) People who have used these kinds of networks have noticed significantly higher energy costs.

      2) They tend to burn out after a years use.

        I've been using netcomm powerline for 4 years, and I haven't noticed much change in my power bill.

        One of my devices did stop working, but that was after moving house, and I think it actually got damaged during the move.

    Im getting the the Western Digital set this weekend.
    http://reviews.cnet.com/bridges/western-digital-wd-livewire/4505-3304_7-34161837.html

      And it doesnt plug directly into your power point, so its not a power point hog.
      And each unit has four ports.

    $US79.99.? Pfft, You get get a cheap ethernet cable from those Chinese computer shops, who cares if someone trips over it :D

    I just upgraded my powerline network to the 500Mbps ones, and they are awesome, great for streaming to the console\TV

    "Also it doesn’t taste particularly good."

    That made me chuckle.

    However if it doesn't taste good then I think I'll pass.

    It's a good idea though, especially for people renting like myself who can't get lines installed into house for this purpose.

    But if you have to plug it directly into the wall, doesn't that present some major problems? For example, my house has just one plug in every room. My router is, unfortunately and not by choice, in my bedroom, so a powerboard is plugged into that room's plug and it powers the router and a few other things. If I have to plug this thing directly into the wall, what will I plug my router into.

    I've been using Ethernet over Power setups for years.

    For anyone considering it:

    - Check your phase settings. If you have a big house that runs on two or more phases/"power networks", you can find a plug won't talk to another plug on the other side of the house.
    - Don't mix and match gear. Different brands tend not to talk well, even if they are pulling the same standard.
    - Noise is an issue. If you stick these in a power board at either terminus, expect significantly slower speeds.
    - Check standards. There's three standards for EoP comms, make sure you read up on them and pick the plug set that's right for your house.
    - You don't need one "feed in" per output, to be honest. You can have a three or five plug setup, where the net is only feeding into one plug, and the other four are "pulling", although they'll split the speed.
    - If your wiring is old, crap, or you have "noisy" things pulling power in the same phase, expect slowdowns. Realistically, if it's not a direct ethernet cable, there will be interference and speed issues.

    I hope this is useful, it's a shame the writer didn't include it in their initial post as it would have made it read less like a paid advertisement.

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