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Cisco Powerline adapters get a makeover

Cisco releases new Linksys by Cisco Powerline product portfolio.

The 4-port HomePlug AV PLS300 adapter. Cisco

It doesn't matter how powerful your home wireless router is, there might still be some corner in the basement the signal can't reach. This is when you need an alternative solution, such as a pair of Powerline adapters. Powerline adapters basically extend the length of the network cable by using the existing electrical wiring--this means you can bring your network port anywhere in the house where there's a power outlet.

The Home AV PLK300 PowerLine adapter kit. Cisco

For that reason, it's pretty exciting that Cisco on Monday will announce its third release of Linksys by Cisco Powerline adapters. The new lineup includes both the HomePlug Turbo and the HomePlug AV specifications. The former caps at 85Mbps and is suitable for regular traffic such as Internet browsing or sending and receiving e-mail. The latter caps at 189Mbps and is optimized for applications that require more bandwidth, such as high-definition video streaming or gaming.

Improvements over the previous generation include a better, more compact design and more ports. They won't obstruct the wall sockets anymore and now you can use them to connect up to four devices right out of the box without buying an additional switch.

The new Powerline products from Cisco are delivered with a preconfigured password that can be changed by running the installation wizard. The products work straight out of the box and are compatible with any other HomePlug-certified Powerline adapters.

Both the new Powerline Turbo and Powerline AV will be available in November, costing $150 and $180 per kit, respectively. A kit includes one Powerline 4-port Ethernet adapter and one 1-port Ethernet adapter. You can also buy a single adapter but you need at least two to cover the two ends of a network connection.