Powerline Technology Just Totally Blows My Mind

August 9, 2010

electrical, smart fixes

I’ve been in the slow process of creating an entire Ethernet Internet network control panel (I’m still wiring the cables while we have the walls open right now). But after seeing some technology called “powerline switches,” I wonder if I should even bother with the Cat5/Cat6 wiring. This stuff just TOTALLY blows my mind!!

Basically, a powerline switch allows you to extend your Internet connection using your home’s electrical system. I had heard of this technology last year, and I figured it would be a while before it was really stable enough for me to consider. But there’s been a lot of progress in a year’s time. A tech dude from Netgear went to the Buy.com headquarters and made a very informative video about the Netgear XAV2001 Powerline Switch. It looks so amazing!!

OK, OK, I know some of you are totally uninterested in technology– but before your eyes glaze over, I want you to remember back when there was dialup and you had to learn about that, and then there was cable and DSL, and you had to learn about that…. so let me give a few gory details about this gadget. This just may be how we connect the Internet in the days to come.

  • There are two powerline switches per box. One plugs into an electrical outlet and connects to your router. The outher powerline switch plugs into your electrical outlet somewhere else in the home (like the upstairs game room). The switch has a small port for an Ethernet cable. You connect your computer (or HDTV or Playstation or Xbox or Wii or print server or storage server!) into the powerline switch using the Ethernet cable. Voila, instant Internet.
  • The powerline switch is geared to lessen the load on wireless. If you have a lot of people on wireless connection at once, you know how slow things get. The powerline uses the internal electrical system of your home to connect to the Internet router. The powerline switch is also terrific for providing Internet access to rooms that have spotty wireless coverage (or no coverage).
  • Buy.com has the best price (of course!). I have seen this Netgear powerline switch for $100 or more everywhere else. Buy.com has a sale for $70 and free shipping.
  • Netgear’s switch has a security feature– press a button on both switches, and it instantly encrypts all data streaming through the network.
  • Data are fast– rates up to 85 Mbps, which is faster than 802.11g wireless.
  • The powerline 4-port switch will connect up to 4 devices at a time.
  • The switch works on standard 240volt electrical service. No special electrical receptacles required.

So I wonder, am I wasting my time and money, wiring all this Ethernet cabling?! Technology sometimes develops too quickly. I haven’t even gotten the NEW stuff in yet, and already there’s something newer. Whew, it just blows my mind.

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