Most everyone has a wireless network in their home. They are cheap, easy to set up and use, but they have their limitations. For many users, like those surfing the web, these limitations are insignificant. But as more and more homes are looking at cutting the cord or already have, the limitations become ever present. For streaming applications Wi-Fi networks are often too slow to keep up with the high bandwidth required throughout the home. For transmitting HD video a wired connection is always best, but is often impractical.
So what options do you have if your home isn't hard wired?
Wireless repeaters or extenders. While these can increase the range of your network, they have a fundamental flaw. They are typically placed in an area that has moderate signal strength so you can push your range a little further. The problem is this moderate signal means a reduced bandwidth capacity. So even if your device shows a fast link speed to the repeater your bandwidth to the router is often too slow to support streaming.
Powerline adapters. If you are like me, you may have played with powerline adapters before. I tried one several years ago and honestly I didn't see the point. The bandwidth was low and the unit wasn't very stable. But the standards have changed and these now theoretically support Gigabit speeds, making them ideal candidates to transfer high bandwidth throughout your home. After all, everyone has wiring throughout the home and this is a plug and play solution. In this review we are looking at the Actiontec
PWR51WK01, a kit that provides two powerline adapters. What makes this unit interesting is that it adds Wi-Fi as well as two wired connections at your remote location.
For me the Actiontec PWR51WK01 feature set could be very useful. Not just for streaming movies and shows from the Internet and NAS, but also to extend my wireless network to places I don't have coverage, like by the pool - all with a convenient plug and play set up. The Actiontec PWR51WK01 kit includes a PWR500 powerline adapter and a WPB3000 powerline/wireless N adapter.
Actiontec doesn't have a product page for this kit, so we'll turn to Amazon.com
for a summary of the key details on what you get with the PWR51WK01 kit...
The PWR51WK01 Kit features a high-performance Powerline Network Adapter and Wireless Network Extender, designed to deliver exceptional network performance and reliability to wired- and wireless-connected devices throughout your entire home. The kit allows you to extend your networking in two ways: through the electrical wires already installed in your home, and through wireless networking. It's the ultimate network extender, and gives you added flexibility when connecting today's Internet-dependent devices, including notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and mobile gaming consoles.
Features and Specifications:
» Model: PWR51WK01 Kit
» Two 10/100 BaseT Ethernet LAN ports total
» Wireless network 802.11n
» Data Rate:
» HomePlug AV PHY rate up to 500Mbps over standard home power line
» Ethernet rate up to 100Mbps
» Wireless rate 300Mbps
» Operating Range: Up to 300 meters (984 feet) in wall power lines
» Power Input: 100 to 240V @ 50/60 Hz
» Compatibility: Coexists with HomePlug 1.0 (14/85 Mbps) and interoperates with HomePlug AV (200/500 Mbps)