Wireless networking has made its way in to most homes, and provides a quick and easy way to get the majority of your devices connected to the network / Internet. While the throughput of Wi-Fi is just fine for many applications, there are just some things that are better handled by a hard wired connection. High definition multimedia is a prime candidate for a hard wired connection, especially if multiple streams are present simultaneously, as it offers much higher throughput to greatly reduce the potential for image degradation, dropped frames, or other issues that may occur with a wireless connection.
The main problem with getting all of your devices online via a hard wired connection is that most homes, especially those more than just a few years old, do not have wiring run to each room to provide a typical RJ45 network port. What most homes do have though, is coaxial wiring for cable television. There are "ethernet over coax adapters" that can connect to your existing network and transmit data over your home's coaxial cable wiring to another adapter that will then convert it back for use by your more remotely located networked devices. In the case of the item to be reviewed, the Actiontec
WCB3000NK01, it will not only provide a pair of RJ45 wired connections at the other end of your coaxial cable run, but it also provides a dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHZ) wireless extender.
My home was a perfect candidate for a kit like Actiontec's WCB3000NK01. The home does not have hard wired networking installed through the walls, but it does have coaxial cable available in most common rooms and all bedrooms. We use Windows Media Center computers to handle all functions on our televisions, including: live HDTV, streaming music/videos from the Internet, and streaming our collection of DVDs / Blu-rays which are stored on a server in the basement. Connecting to the TVs in our play room and living room was easy, as they are on the first floor of the home and I could snake CAT6 cabling up to boxes that had previously only offered coaxial cable connections. Reaching my bedroom on the second story was a different issue, and I had tried a handful of other approaches to get a connection up there.
Wireless N was rarely acceptable, as it would drop out and in the case of watching one show while recording another, you had little chance of success. We then tried a powerline adapter which sends your data over your AC electrical wiring. While this worked much better, we still occasionally had issues that seemed to occur at the worst times (as in, during the wife's recordings). With this experience, I was very interested in checking out the Actiontec WCB3000NK01!
The Actiontec WCB3000NK01 kit includes one ECB2500C and one WCB3000N. The ECB2500C is a small box that connects to your coaxial cable connection, as well as your wired network - preferably directly to your router. You could use other ECB2500C boxes (purchased separately) to provide hard wired network connections at your remote coaxial cable outlets. The included WCB3000N is also to be installed on a remote coaxial cable connection, but it provides you with two wired connections as well as dual band wireless connections.
More information on the kit can be found on Actiontec's official product page
or at the listing on Amazon.com
, where it sells for just over $150 (US).