Powerline networking works really well in my home office

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Powerline networking works really well in my home office

If you're looking for an easy way to extend your home office network, a HomePlug solution is well worth considering.

There are some situations when running new network cables or wireless don’t work for augmenting your office network. For example, you might be renting premises where it's not possible to run cables, or the building materials make it hard to run cables or for a wireless signal to transmit reliably.

HomePlug (http://www.bit.com.au/News/323968,tech-101-homeplug-explained-in-60-seconds.aspx) is a neat way around this. I've been using a HomePlug kit for the last year.

I work from home in a rental property where the inbound Internet connection is at the furthest possible point from my workspace. The wireless works fairly well – I have a reliable but weak signal – for my notebook computer and tablet but other devices such as my NAS, which rely on a wired connection, are more problematic.

Fortunately, there's a spare power outlet near the cable modem and another in my workspace.

The HomePlug unit I have, the NetComm NP505, retails for around $120. There are lots of other options on the market that would work just as well. Just be aware that cheaper units offer lower speeds. The NP505 offers up to 500Mbps whereas some less expensive options work at 200Mbps.

I simply plugged one in near my modem and plugged an Ethernet cable from the modem to the unit. Although it takes up a power outlet, it allows you to piggyback another plug so I have the modem plugged into it for its power.

The second unit – the NP505 is sold as a kit of two adaptors – in in my workspace with an Ethernet cable leading out from it to a small hub so I can connect my NAS, printer and notebook computer. I connect the computer, as the wired connection is much faster than the wireless.

The entire set up process takes about two minutes and is far cheaper than running cables and, in my view, more reliable than a wireless connection.

After a year of operation, I've been pleasantly surprised. I had some doubts about whether they'd be reliable but they haven’t missed a beat. Being able to easily expand my network without having to run cables also offers flexibility. If I move things around all I need to do is move one of the HomePlug units to a different outlet.

In short, if you're looking for an easy way to extend the wired network in your home or office, a HomePlug solution is well worth considering.

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