AC Networking

Home networking has experienced a massive growth just recently as it is becomes much more common for households to own more than one computer.For those that own several machines the advantages of connecting them together in the form of a network are obvious; you can share yours files, printer and Internet connection with others in the house quickly and easily.

Ideally two computers in two different rooms would be connected by Ethernet networking cable but this isn’t ideal for those who don’t want the hassle of laying new cabling around their house.Until just recently the only option available was to set up a wireless network but these can be slightly limiting.A wireless network, for example, can be drastically affected by the presence of solid obstacles; if you put a couple of hefty walls or floors in the way of the wireless signal you may find that the speed drops or the connection disappears entirely.

Over the last couple of years a technology known as AC networking has come along in leaps and bounds and is now in a position to offer a viable alternative to both conventional network cabling and wireless routers.The premise of an AC network is simple; a network is created by utilising existing household mains cabling and a special adaptor to transmit a signal along the existing household mains cabling.

One of the better known companies offering AC networking products is known as ‘Devolo’ and I have today been doing a little research on their latest product, the dLAN 200 starter kit.This kit offers connection speeds of up to 200Mbps which puts it between the slower wireless networks (usually 54Mbps) and traditional cabled networks (usually 100Mbps) in terms of speed.

The kit comes supplied with two adaptors although if you have more machines in your house you can purchase additional adaptors separately.Installation really couldn’t be any easier; to set up a two computer network it is literally a case of connecting one adaptor next to each of the PC’s that will make up your network using normal network cable and then plug the adaptors straight in to the mains supply.

The two computers should immediately be able to communicate however you may wish to take a minute to change your network key.Although a network such as this is more secure than a wireless network which continuously advertising itself to anyone in range who owns a wireless laptop, there are still security implications.In most homes your will find that your next door neighbours are on the same electrical circuit and as these units have a maximum range of 200 meters it wouldn’t be difficult for a neighbour to hack your network if you leave your network key blank.

The technology does come at a price; for this latest release you’re looking at around £150 for the two adaptors although older, slower kits can be found substantially cheaper.To put this in to comparison, if you were to go for a traditional wired network the cost of the network cards and cabling combined would come to less than £20.Personally, I believe the benefit of not having to drill through walls or rip up carpet justifies this difference in cost.If you don’t want to lay cables and wireless networking isn’t an option for you, then AC networking probably represents the ideal solution.



About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.