Devolo power-based internet: dreamy

We had a loft conversion built last summer. The signal from the Belkin wireless router two floors below was not sufficiently powerful to be reliable up there, so I introduced an interim LinkSys wireless router on the intervening floor. The idea was that when connecting from the top of the house, you’d use the wireless signal from the LinkSys, which in turn connected wirelessly to the Belkin which went straight out to the internet. Rob was hugely helpful in setting this up.

But while connection to the LinkSys was strong and reliable, it seems that the onward wireless link was unstable. In short, I think that relying on two wireless hops was asking too much.

I was directed by Steve (megastar) to use a power-based connection. The idea is that the copper wires that support your house’s electricity are used to transmit data. I’m not sure that this is what Edison had in mind when he discovered electricity, but by golly it’s a fabulous idea.

I went ahead and bout the Devolo dLAN 200 AV Wireless-N Starter Kit from Amazon fr £89.99. It arrived on Wednesday and I installed it on Saturday.

The device consists of what look like two regular electric plugs, each with a small transformer-sized pack on it. An Ethernet cable, an Ikea-esque word-free instruction page and a redundant CD complete the box’s contents.

It’s sublime. You plug in one of the plugs near your router and connect it using the Ethernet cable. You plug in the other plug in the troublesome area of the house. The second device emits a wireless signal, the password for which is on the back of the device. You connect to this wireless network and the electricity’s copper wiring connects that device to the other one, which connects on to the internet via the aforementioned Ethernet cable.

So far so good. The only issue that had me worried for a while was that the 16-character password didn’t seem to work for Apple devices—iPhone and iPad specifically. It turns out that the hyphens separating each quartet of numbers that were not required by Windows were required by iOS. Odd UX fail by Apple there.


2 Responses to “Devolo power-based internet: dreamy”

  1. Ewan on April 18th, 2011 09:45

    I’ve been using similar homeplug devices for a few years now, they’re a great way of hooking home servers + NAS boxes and stuff like that to the router.

    The one thing I’d say is keep your warranty details, in the few years I’ve used them, with varying different brands, none has last more than a year and generally when one of the pair has failed, the other has failed within a few weeks.

    I don’t know if it’s a usage thing, or heat, or something else (iffy power supply in my house maybe?), but I’ve ended up keeping a 3rd device as a spare for when they die.

  2. Simon on April 19th, 2011 14:38

    Instant fail for doing house rebuilding and not plumbing ethernet cables in whist you were at it…

Leave a Reply