Powerline networking is a very viable alternative for people who prefer a wired connection but don’t want to run cables through their house. By using your household electrical wiring to carry the network signal it also avoids wi-fi interference issues with microwave ovens, wireless phones, and other 2.4 Ghz devices. It also minimizes a driveby hacker connecting wirelessly.
I had been running Slinglink Powerline networking to my Slingbox for years very successfully but thought it was time to upgrade to something beyond the 14 Mbps capability of version 1 units.
I decided the time had come when the Trendnet 85 Mbps units went on sale recently. So what did I do? Once the package arrived, I simply unplugged the Slinglink units and replaced them with the Trendnet units. Within about 5 seconds they were communicating perfectly. Not only did they communicate right away but there was a “snap” to the responsiveness that was not there with the old units. No question – they were sending data to each other much faster than what I was used to.
The range of the devices is supposed to max out at 300 feet. My 2 devices are about 45 feet apart. They pass through 3 rooms and they just work. Do they actually communicate at 85 Mbps? Probably not but I can tell you that data travels pretty fast between these units.
The next trick was to see if the new units would communicate with my old devices. After all they were different brands rated to work at different speeds. So I plugged a Slinglink back in, attached a laptop to the end it and bingo – no problem. The 85 Mbps units work fine with the old 14 Mbps standard. D-Link and others make a 200 Mbps units that sell for about double the price of these Trendnets.
I know people who have had problems getting them going and they are known not to be downward compatible. Some brands tend to get vey hot. Not these Trendnets. They only get very slightly warm.
For those who are security-conscious, each unit has a password printed on the back. If you install the security program that is included on CD, you can limit your network to just the units whose passwords coincide with what you enter in the program. Powerline networks can go up to 16 modes. Not bad.
In summary, if your wife doesn’t want you stringing ethernet cable in the house and you’re looking for an alternative to Wi-Fi, consider the Trendnet TPL-202E2K Adapter Kit. It’s cheap and it works incredibly well.