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£16 HomePlug AV adapter slashes cost of building powerline network

Broadband accessory farm Solwise has launched a range of HomePlug powerline network adapters for as little at £16.

Solwise NET PLV 200AV PE HomePlug AV2 adapterThe Value Solwise range stretches from 200Mbps HomePlug AV adapters up to 1Gbps Mediaxtream/HomePlug AV devices.

Costing just £16.04 including VAT, the NET-PLV-200AV-PE HomePlug Adapter has a single Ethernet socket – it goes on sale on May 15.

It uses the Homeplug AV standard, which has a top speed of 200Mbps and real-world performance around 85Mbps and includes 128-bit AES encryption.

Powerline networks can reach further and faster than WiFi by making connections between any mains power socket and piggy-backing data over your mains cables.

The NET-PLV-200AV-PEWN (£28.06) is a 200Mbps HomePlug AV adapter with built-in WiFi-n and two Ethernet ports that lets you create an extra 150Mbps wireless network if you’re out of range of your router.

For higher speeds, there’s the NET-PLV-500AV-PE, a single-port adapter which uses the HomePlug AV2 standard that goes up to 880Mbps, with real-world speeds around 200Mbps. It costs £21.96.

At the fastest end is the NET-PL-1000M for £26.40 (£48 a pair), which delivers up to 1Gbps using the MediaXtream protocol and over 500Mbps in practice, and can also talk to 200Mbps HomePlug AV adapters. They can also be ‘meshed’ together to daisy-chain over longer distances.

If you have a laptop, the NET-PL-200AV-12V-PSU is a replacement 12V/2A power supply with built-in HomepPlug AV. It has a range of power tips, costs £28.94, and comes out on May 5.

HomePlug AV (200Mbps) and HomePlug AV2 (500Mbps) will interoperate with each other on the same network at the lower speed. They can co-exist with older 85Mbps HomePlug 1.0 Turbo devices but they cannot talk to them.

MediaXtream devices can interoperate with HomePlug AV devices and coexist but cannot communicate or share powerlines with HomePlug AV2 devices.

Powerline ‘up to’ speeds refer to backbone capacity across the whole network – in practise it’s divided between the number of devices and the traffic going in each direction between them. It’s also affected by the quality of mains wiring and interference caused by devices such as fridges and washing machines.

You need at least two Powerline adapters – one at either end of the connection – to create a network.