Getting started with power-line networking

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Back in 2001, when I first moved to Asheville, NC I had a 3,500 square foot house and my wife and I both had offices on different floors. Wi-Fi just wasn't cutting it, and while I used 10Base2 (a.k.a. thinnet) to connect routers and switches between floors there was no way to make it look good. So I started experimenting with power-line networking, and I haven't looked back.

The reason for that is that power-line networking makes use of your electrical lines to give you a de facto wired network. It gives you the range of a wired network without any of the mess or the need to run cable behind the walls.

Another useful feature, which I've used in every place I've ever deployed, is that you can use it as the backbone for your Wi-Fi network. So, for example, in my current small office/home office (SOHO), I use it to connect my three Wi-Fi access points (APs) to my master switch. With this I have both direct wired access from my main office to my server room and strong Wi-Fi over my entire property.

Power-line networking pros and cons in the real world

Why should you use power-line? Well, first and foremost, it's easy. There's usually no software setup; you just plug one unit into the wall socket, plug its Ethernet cable into your router or switch, plug the other adapter in near your remote PC, another router, or a Wi-Fi AP (access point), hook them up together, and ta-da, instant network.

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