Western Digital releases powerline adapter debut

Western Digital announces its first powerline adapter kit, the WD Livewire Powerline AV, that offers support to up to seven devices at a time.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
2 min read
WD's first powerline adapter kit comes in a nice design.
Western Digital's first powerline adapter kit can support four devices at the far end of the connection. Western Digital

After years of making network storage devices, such as the Western Digital My Book World Edition (2TB) and WD TV Live HD Media Player, Western Digital now turns to making an adapter kit that will connect them.

The giant hard-drive maker announced Tuesday its first powerline adapter kit, the WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit. The kit includes two identical HomePlug AV-based powerline adapters, designed to turn the existing electrical wiring of your home into network cables.

Each of these adapter has four network ports; WD says these ports allow you to connect up to seven devices and one router together.

With this multiple-port design, the WD Livewire kit is similar to the Linksys Powerline AV Bridge Kit PLK300, with one exception: the Linksys' adapter that connects to the router has only one port, limiting its total support to only four devices.

Like the Linksys, the WD Livewire doesn't have a snap-in design as seen in most other powerline adapters, such as the Plaster Networks PLN3 Powerline AV Ethernet Adapter and the Netgear Powerline AV 200 Adapter XAV2001. These adapters have two built-in prongs that snap onto a power receptacle. Instead, each of the WD Livewire's adapters has a power cable that helps keep the power outlet area clear and avoids blocking the adjacent sockets.

According to WD, the Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit provides users with data transfer speeds up to 200Mbps, and is capable of delivering glitch-free playback of full-HD 1080p video streams on up to seven connected devices. It also works with any other HomePlug AV powerline adapter.

The Livewire Powerline AV kit is a great alternative to wireless networking. It's available now and costs $140, which is a comparatively good deal.