Get The Best Value Home Network (Part 2)

1/22/2013 9:11:57 AM

Wireless Routers and Access Points

Wireless access points are the hubs that allow a wireless network to be established between several wireless capable devices. While it is possible to buy a stand-alone access point, it’s normally better value to buy a router with access point capabilities routers share an internet connection between the devices on a network, and it’s a safe bet that any home user who needs a wireless access point will also require a router to go with it.

Wireless access points are the hubs that allow a wireless network to be established between several wireless capable devices

Wireless access points are the hubs that allow a wireless network to be established between several wireless capable devices

For that reason, buying a combined router/access point is a money saver in itself, but as discussed earlier, you can further save money by buying a wireless G access point instead of a wireless N One. If you’re really trying to scrimp, it’s possible to run any wireless capable Windows PC as a wireless access point and router, but that does mean the system in question needs to be switched on for other networked devices to use the internet, which is often an inconvenience.

Be careful of spending too little on a router, however. Cheap and unbranded access points have a tendency to be unreliable and are often difficult to configure, which is something that can grind quickly. More pertinently, they underperform in terms of speed and range as well. Low quality components can result in an inconsistent wireless signal, and that means slow communication and shorter range.

TP-Link TD-W8961ND

TP-Link TD-W8961ND

It is possible to buy functioning wireless routers as cheap as $17, but it’s questionable whether you’d actually want to. If you’re after a good one, be prepared to spend $48 at the absolute minimum.

Network Alternatives

Although it’s by far the most popular form of networking, we accept that wireless networking isn’t to everyone’s tastes. If you’re more comfortable with physical networks, there are a couple of alternatives you could explore.

The obvious one is wired Ethernet, in either its 100 Mbit or gigabit standards. Wired routers tend to be a substantial amount cheaper than wireless ones, and Ethernet-based adaptors are already present in most modern systems (tablets and ultra-thin laptops are the notable exceptions to this rule).

However, wired Ethernet arguably presents a false economy, in that it requires you to buy and install fixed network cables to set up a permanent network to every computer you want to connect, no less. These extra costs mean that you save very little money when the process is compared to setting a wireless network, and what the resulting connections gain in speed and security, they lack in convenience and portability.

HomePlug networking is a viable alternative to wireless

HomePlug networking is a viable alternative to wireless

If you’re not keen on Ethernet, a reasonable alternative to both wireless and traditional wired Ethernet might be HomePlug networking. For the uninitiated, HomePlug is a network technology which uses the existing electrical wiring in your house to transmit data between any Ethernet-capable devices, using simple pass through filters that combine and separate a signal in a similar manner similar, to an ADSL filter separating audio and data signals on a phone line.

The HomePlug name encompasses several specifications. The most recent are capable of speeds comparable to a high speed wireless network, while others are targeted at specifically low-power or low throughput use. With no drilling or professional installation required, HomePlug networking can offer all of the benefits of a wired network without the inconveniences or expenses of installing network cables.

The most recent version of the technology, HomePlug AV2, operates at speeds up to a maximum of 500 Mbit/s (on typical powerlines) or 700Mbps (on coax wiring) and is fully compatible with the earlier HomePlug AV standard. If you want even faster speeds, it is possible to buy HomePlug gigabit devices, but these are proprietary and not necessarily compatible with other devices.

It’s worth noting that HomePlug networking is far from perfect. Speeds are often vastly lower than those quoted due to multiple factors, both physical interference, aging, potentially poor materials or installation and logical (strong security causes lower speeds when tested using actual data). However, the technology is reliable and the security is stronger than wireless by any assessment. If all goes well, it’s even easier to set up, an almost literal ‘plug and play’ situation. It is these factors, rather than speeds, which tends to attract people.

HomePlug Networking Mini-guide

Best Budget HomePlug Networking - TP-Link TL-PA211 ($45)

TP-Link’s 2-socket adaptor kit is the cheapest on the market right now, and while that’s visible in its standard - it supports 200Mbps HomePlug AV, rather than the substantially faster HomePlug AV2 - it’s by far the best budget entry into the world of HomePlug networking.

The HomePlug AV standard is designed to be fast enough for video streaming, and the support for 300 metre line length means there should be no problems running it at home. Built-in AES encryption ensures a secure connection. All you need to get it up and running is two Ethernet devices and this kit, which includes two Powerline Ethernet adaptors and two short lengths of RJ45 cable to connect the adaptor to your system. Couldn’t be simpler.

Best Value - TRENDnet TPL-401E2K ($104)

It’s a bit of a leap price-wise, but if you want HomePlug AV2, your wallet simply has to take the hit. This is the cheapest HomePlug AV2 system available. Luckily, the TRENDnet TPL-401E2K delivers some of the fastest speeds of any HomePlug networking system, so you will get your money’s worth even if it’s typically well short of the 500Mbps advertised for the AV2 standard.

It’s still a fairly budget adaptor, with only a single Ethernet port and no pass-through socket, but there’s nothing lacking when compared to all except the most expensive HomePlug systems. Encryption, a software based configuration application and hardware reset button/security activation give it a full range of features. At this price, it’s hard to recommend HomePlug against the much cheaper wireless/wired Ethernet solutions, but if neither of those work for you, this is the one we’d go for.


Video tutorials
- How To Install Windows 8

- How To Install Windows Server 2012

- How To Install Windows Server 2012 On VirtualBox

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Install Windows Store Apps From Windows 8 Classic Desktop

- How To Disable Windows Update in Windows 8

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Add Widgets To Windows 8 Lock Screen

- How to create your first Swimlane Diagram or Cross-Functional Flowchart Diagram by using Microsoft Visio 2010
programming4us programming4us
Top 10
Free Mobile And Desktop Apps For Accessing Restricted Websites
TOYOTA CAMRY 2; 2.5 : Camry now more comely
KIA SORENTO 2.2CRDi : Fuel-sipping slugger
How To Setup, Password Protect & Encrypt Wireless Internet Connection
Emulate And Run iPad Apps On Windows, Mac OS X & Linux With iPadian
Backup & Restore Game Progress From Any Game With SaveGameProgress
Generate A Facebook Timeline Cover Using A Free App
New App for Women ‘Remix’ Offers Fashion Advice & Style Tips
SG50 Ferrari F12berlinetta : Prancing Horse for Lion City's 50th
Popular Tags
Video Tutorail Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Exchange Server Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 Adobe Flash Professional Dreamweaver Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop CorelDRAW X5 CorelDraw 10 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8 Iphone