Everybody likes the idea of a wireless network in their home, but you may not know that you can easily set up a reliable and speedy wired home network using the electrical sockets in your walls. These are referred to as HomePlug networks, and because they piggyback on your home's existing power lines, they let you create a reliable network without dealing with the hassle of running new wires or setting up complicated wireless bridges. Once it's set up, the HomePlug network lets you log onto the Internet or stream music and other digital content from room to room.
A couple of different types of power-line adapters are available, but we're going to show you how to set up a HomePlug network using power-line Ethernet adapters. To set up a HomePlug network, you'll need to buy at least two power-line Ethernet adapters. You can add more adapters based on the number of rooms you want to network, and you can mix and match HomePlug adapters from various manufacturers.
The first thing you have to do is plug one of the Ethernet adapters into a wall socket near your router. It's important to note that you'll have to plug the adapter into the actual wall socket, not a power strip, unless you've bought a special surge protector with a built-in HomePlug outlet.
Once you plug the adapter into a wall socket, connect the adapter to your router using the supplied Ethernet cable. If you use only a cable or DSL modem to connect to the Internet, you will need to buy a router, whether it's wired or wireless. Now you're ready to connect the second Ethernet adapter into a wall socket in another room of your house.
After you've connected the second adapter, wait for the LED lights to illuminate, indicating you've tapped into the network and have an Internet connection. Now you're ready to connect a computer or another device, such as an Xbox, to the power-line adapter using the supplied Ethernet cable. You can connect both Macs and Windows-based computers to the network, as well as any other networkable device, such as a digital audio receiver or a networked DVD player.
To check whether you have an Internet connection, launch your browser. If your start page comes up, your job is done; you've successfully set up a power-line network.
Again, to add rooms to your network, simply purchase another Ethernet adapter. You can also move adapters from room to room if you decide to move your computer.