Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit review: Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit

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MSRP: $139.99

The Good The Western Digital Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit offers excellent performance and comes with a total of eight network ports. The kit is easy to use and has detachable power cables that won't obstruct the adjacent power sockets.

The Bad The WD Livewire kit is a little bulky.

The Bottom Line The WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit is arguably the best powerline adapter kit for homes to date. It's fast, comparatively affordable, and offers plenty of network ports.

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8.5 Overall
  • Setup 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Support 7

The Western Digital Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit is very similar to the well-thought-out five-port Linksys PLK300 kit. However, it's much faster and offers three more network ports.

If you are looking to extend your network to the far corner of your basement at home, at around $110, the WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit is possibly the best deal among existing powerline adapter kits on the market.

Design, setup, and features
The Livewire kit comes with two identical powerline adapters, and each has four network ports. This means at the far end one adapter can host up to four Ethernet-ready network devices out of the box. At the end where the other adapter is connected to the router, instead of losing one network port for it, you now gain three more, as the adapter can also work as a hub.

This is a great design, as you can use the two adapters interchangeably and don't have to worry about getting an extra hub to support the powerline connection in case you have already used up the router's ports. In the case of the Linksys PLK300 kit, the two adapters are different and can only be used at a specific end of the powerline connection.

The WD Livewire adapters themselves are rather bulky, about the size of a small squarish four-port hub. They have an on/off power switch and a sync button. Pressing on these buttons within 2 minutes of each other will create a private connection between the two adapters, preventing other HomePlug AV powerline adapters from connecting to them. This is a quick security feature to keep those living in the same apartment building from tapping into your local network or the Internet connection by using another powerline adapter.

The WD Livewire comes with a software application that helps manages the powerline connection.

When you want to disable this security feature to make the WD Livewire adapters work with other HomePlug AV adapters, you just need to reset them by sticking a pin into the tiny reset hole on the bottom.

Like all HomePlug AV adapters, the WD Livewire kit is not designed to work with power strips or surge protectors and needs to be plugged into the wall directly. We tried the adapters with a few power strips anyway, and they actually worked with some. However, they indeed didn't work with any surge protectors.

Each of the WD Livewire adapters comes with a standard detachable, relatively slim power cable, which allows you to place the adapter away from the power socket. The adapters automatically support the voltage ranging from 100V to 240V, meaning they can be used anywhere in the world.

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