Want to extend your home network without running Ethernet cable all over the place? A plug-and-play kit like this one gets it done in about two minutes flat.
This is an update of a deal I wrote about many moons ago.
Having trouble getting a Wi-Fi signal to go where you need it to go? It's a fairly common problem: I've been in houses where the signal won't reach beyond one room, let alone between floors. So what do you do?
One option is to run Ethernet cable through walls, floors, and ceilings. It's effective, but also a major pain in the tuchus.
A much easier option is to use a power-line networking kit, which takes advantage of your home's existing electrical wiring. It's a simple, plug-and-play solution.
And usually an expensive one. But today, Buy.com has the Zyxel PLA-407 HomePlug AV power-line networking kit for $72.99 shipped. That's after claiming a $20 mail-in rebate (PDF).
I know, I know: you hate rebates. But $72.99 is the lowest price I've seen on one of these kits, which just haven't come down much (despite having been around for years). It's not uncommon to find them selling for $150.
The adapters work like this: you plug one into an electrical outlet near your router, then connect it to your router with an included Ethernet cable. Then you plug the other into an outlet near the computer that needs network access, and run its cable into the computer's Ethernet port. That's it, you're done!
You can buy additional adapters if you need connectivity in additional rooms.
The PLA-407 promises data transfer rates of up to 200Mbps--good enough for streaming HD video. It also has filters designed to reduce electrical interface and push-button encryption in case you need it. (I don't imagine many home users will.) I particularly like the adapters' pass-through outlets, which let you plug in a lamp or whatever.
I haven't found any meaningful reviews of the PLA-407, but Buy.com has a couple dozen user reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars. This is definitely a fast and easy alternative to running Ethernet cable all over the place. The rebate offer is good until Feb. 28.
Bonus deal: Like racing games? From now until Feb. 10, the Games for Windows Marketplace has Blur (PC) for $14.99. That's half off the list price. It's the download version, so you don't pay for shipping. Find out why GameSpot called Blur a "fast and exciting racer."