Believe it or not, Wi-Fi isn’t a suitable networking option for every business or home office. Fortunately, Powerline networking can save the day. PracticallyNetworked.com takes a full-on look at Belkin’s Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit.
Since few of us live in homes that are pre-wired for Ethernet, it’s fortunate that the existence of Wi-Fi obviates the need for Ethernet in most home networking situations. But there are times when wirelessly networking a device isn’t feasible, usually owing to excessive distance and/or interference. In such cases, Powerline networking can come to the rescue by allowing you to bring an Ethernet-based data connection to any room in your home via the same copper wires that deliver electricity.
Powerline networking’s been around about as long as Wi-Fi, and like Wi-Fi has evolved over the years to deliver improved performance. Belkin’s Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit (Model # F5D4076) represents the latest and greatest iteration of the technology—based on a new chipset from Gigle Networks which is exclusive to Belkin as of this writing, the $149.99 kit includes a pair of adapters that boast the same 1000 Mbps theoretical data rate as Gigabit Ethernet, well in excess of the 200 Mbps of existing Powerline devices or the 300 Mbps quoted by current 802.11n products.
Belkin’s wall-wart powerline adapters are clad in glossy black plastic with a trio of indicator lights on the front panel. They’re a bit on the chunky side, measuring 4 ½ x 3 ½ x 1 ½ (HWD), but since the bulk is all south of the AC plug, when you use a bottom outlet the top one won’t get blocked. It’s worth mentioning that the adapters run extremely warm—hot, actually, since in some spots they become almost too toasty to comfortably touch.
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