powerline network extension

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Over the years, since 1999 or so, I had a bunch of different Apple airport wireless routers and recently I upgraded to the latest Dual Airport Extreme, which has multiple antennas for 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Every computer and printer around the house is wireless (the ones without built-in wireless have an airport express) and coverage in the far corners, especially with the ipad has been somewhat sporadic for movie streaming, web access was generally pretty good. The newer computers (MacBook Pro, iMac) are able to receive the stronger 5GHz signal, which is set-up as its own network and get great reception all over, except in the farthest room.

My recent move into a bigger place has the cable modem Airport Extreme combo at the opposite end and ipad web access has been abysmal at the far end. Wireless extension with another Airport Express was a little better, but still not satisfactory for streaming. I considered running CAT5 cable, but that’s a major PITA in a rental and I looked into networking over the existing coax cable, but the adapters are way expensive.

Then I remembered that some time ago, I received an email from buy.com advertising powerline networking adapters, but disregarded them due to cost etc. at the time, web access/streaming was good enough anyways. powerline adapters basically turn the power lines into Ethernet wires, how awesome of a concept is that!?

I did a little research and came across the TP-Link powerline starter kit TL-PA211 and got the pair from B&H photo for $49. I installed one by the router, into its own wall socket and another one at the far end, hooked up to an Airport Express. installation is plug-and-play and takes 30 seconds only, not including walking from one end to the other. Download on the ipad tops out at the speedtest limit of 20MB/sec and upload is a little over 7MB/sec (something is off here, as my plan offers 5 MBit uplink), the laptop gets 30 down/5up wirelessly on a 50 MBit wideband connection, I think that’s pretty rad for an impromptu solution.

purchase the kit on amazon

or a $49 special until June 9th at B&H photo

Simply the best piece of technology I bought in the past few years.

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