Even the best Wi-Fi routers don't always cut it. Heck, I've been in houses where a Wi-Fi signal won't reach beyond one room. In cases like that, how can you extend your network to where it needs to go?
Old way: run Ethernet cable through walls, floors, and ceilings. It's effective, but also a major "PIA."
New way: use a powerline 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 powerline networking kit for $87.99 shipped. That's after claiming a $20 mail-in rebate (PDF).
I know, I know: rebates, ugh. And even $87.99 isn't exactly cheap. But although these powerline products have been around for years, they just haven't come down much in price. Most other kits I've seen sell for at least $100, and usually more like $150.
The adapters work like this: you plug one into an AC outlet near your router, then connect it to your router with an included Ethernet cable. Then you plug the other into an AC 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, individual 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 offers 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 Zyxel makes good stuff, and I've had good luck with the powerline kits I've tried in the past. Definitely a fast and easy alternative to running Ethernet cable all over the place. The rebate offer is good until July 31.
Bonus deal: Like Apple's Time Machine, Genie Timeline is a set-it-and-forget-it backup solution. Today only, Giveaway of the Day is offering Genie Timeline Home 2.1 (normally $39.95) absolutely free. If you don't already have a backup system in place (and you should), grab this!