Solwise Piggy6 review: Solwise Piggy6

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Practical for home networking; good if you can't use Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

The Bad Not as good as wired Ethernet; can sometimes crash.

The Bottom Line If wireless networking just isn't quick enough for you, then you'll appreciate the speed boost afforded by powerline networking. The Solwise Piggy6 is a great product, providing surge protection for your electrical equipment, while giving you three ports to network various components together

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Although powerline networking -- sending your network signals via your home electrical wiring -- isn't a perfect solution, it meets a need in homes that either don't or can't use Wi-Fi. It might also appeal to those who don't want to rip up their carpets and bulldoze their walls to run Cat5 networking cables everywhere.

The ridiculously named Solwise NET-PLA-AV-3E-PIGGY6 HomePlug , or Piggy6 for short, costs around £80 and offers six filtered and surge-protected power sockets. For networking, there are three 100Mbps Ethernet ports, which should help those with a large amount of equipment to connect to their network. You'll need at least one other HomePlug on your network to make use of the Piggy6.

Powerline networking can be really useful for moving large amounts of data around your network at fairly respectable speeds. The suggestion that products like the Piggy6 can manage 200Mbps is slightly spurious, but such products still manage to cope quite comfortably with video of up to 720p resolution.

We opted to use the Piggy6 in our home-cinema system -- the intended purpose for this device. Ours had a Popcorn Hour A-110 media streamer and an Xbox 360 connected to its three-port hub, and we plugged various TV, HD-disc players and amplifiers into the six-way power adaptor.

Using the Piggy6
During testing, we didn't suffer any major outages. Our test environment -- a reasonably new flat outside Greater London -- has had a HomePlug network consisting of four other HomePlug AV adaptors for some time now. We swapped the Piggy6 with one of the existing plugs and, happily, everything worked well within seconds. HomePlug products pride themselves on being virtually configuration free, and, indeed, the Piggy6 is.

The Piggy6 boasts three Ethernet ports

Such simplicity is bound to appeal to technophobes, especially those who have tried in vain to make a wireless network work. You should be able to simply plug a pair of HomePlug adaptors in and wait for them to sync with each other.

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Where to Buy

Solwise Piggy6

Part Number: CNETSolwise Piggy6

Typical Price: £80.00

See manufacturer website for availability.