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
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 Xbox 360 connected to its three-port hub, and we plugged various TV, HD-disc players and amplifiers into the six-way power adaptor.media streamer and an
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.
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.
Compatibility can be an issue with HomePlug products. Although, in theory, all HomePlug AV-certified products should work well with each other, we have had problems getting them to talk to each other in the past.