Nothing beats the freedom of wireless. But, personally, when it comes internet connectivity, I prefer being wired. Because nothing beats a wired connection when it comes to speed and reliability. You won’t encounter any lag spikes while playing Left 4 Dead online and downloads are much faster. Unfortunately, after moving into a new dig, where the rooms have no ethernet jacks and the only cable jack –where I can hook my modem/router into– is on the other site of the house, the opposite end of my room, I have no choice but to go wireless.
To make matters worse, my wireless connection was also blocked by 3 walls and a huge bathroom mirror. So by the time I received the signal, I’m only getting a speed of 24 mbps. For years, I researched various techs, like routers with extended range and wireless repeaters, that would increase my speed. But, sadly, I just don’t understand wireless technology enough to invest on such doohickeys.
Then, a couple months ago, I stumbled upon an article about powerline ethernet adapters. To the uninitiated, these devices basically turns your home’s existing electrical wiring into ethernet lines. Convinced that this will solve my poor connection problems, I decided to invest on one.
The Netgear XAVB2501. My Connection Salvation.
At first, my mind was set on getting an Actiontec MegaPlug. But, after further research, I found out that they’re actually outlet hogs. So I bought the Netgear XAVB2501 instead. They cost twice the price of the MegaPlug, however. Although they include extra outlets and have a theoretical speed of 200 Mbps (more than twice the speed of the MegaPlug).
Using these adapters are really easy. Just plug and play. Pick an outlet, plug the first adapter in and connect it to your router. Then pick another outlet, plug the second adapter and connect it to your computer. That’s it. Instant ethernet connection as the adapters turns your electrical lines into a network. The speed is also impressive as I stay glued at 80 Mbps, which is three times faster than my previous wireless connection.
To test my speed, I pre-loaded Fallout: New Vegas –a 7 GB file– from Steam to my PC. My download speed immediately shot up at 2.9 Mbps and stayed there for the most part (it dropped to 2.6 Mbps at one point). I finished downloading the 7 GB file within 39 minutes. Before, when I was using wireless connection, my average download speed on Steam was at 900 Kbps. Also, I got an awesome score from ping test (see here) and speed test (see here).
So, yes, these things are working perfectly, and it really solved my problem. But, a little caveat, I’ve read some complaints in forums that these devices won’t sometimes work in older houses. They also interfere with radio waves. So if you have unshielded speakers or still uses a ham radio, you might not want to get these. Then there’s also the price. It’s just not practical to get it unless you have connection problems and play a lot of online games (like I do), or download gigabytes worth of porn. Other than that, these things are awesome.