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back to article WD Livewire four-port powerline Ethernet adaptor

As more and more set-top boxes, TVs and Blu-ray players gain the ability to reach out to the internet for content, your average one-port powerline Ethernet adaptor just won't cut it any longer. WD Livewire WD's Livewire: power cable in at one end... Case in point: I have an internet TV and an Apple TV box in my living room, …

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These should be banned

Along with all other powerline adaptors, these things should be banned because they are illegal transmitters. It has been proven that PLAs are able to pass data between two completely seperate power networks with no physical connection between them. They are operating against the wireless telegraphy act and are technically illegal to use.

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Pint

Right ...

Who would that help?

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Grenade

Two completely separate power networks?

Really? As opposed to, say, connecting via the local substation? Sounds like a useful feature rather than a reason to ban them, to me.

GJC

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Flame

Banned?

I am getting fed up with the "these should be banned" fraternity. The original BT Vision equipment was noisier than standard Homeplug. However, Ofcom have investigated this and have not ruled them illegal.

Firstly, they only radiate when they are transferring data. Secondly, I don't have any radio hams living nearby. Thirdly, if I did then I'm sure they'd have some kind of equipment to be able to work out it was me. Fourthly, if they complained I would cease and desist. Or maybe I wouldn't, depending on how unsightly their bloomin' great aerial happened to be.

I personally don't like the fact that my semi-detached neighbour has a DECT phone and a Wi-fi router bombarding me with unwanted RF 24 hours a day, but I'm afraid I have to put up with it.

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Anonymous Coward

These should be compulsory

After all the years of interference I've suffered at the hands of Radio Amateurs, what I really want to know is: Which are the noisiest and where can I buy some?

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FAIL

Re: Right ...

It would help those of us who listen to short wave radio transmissions from other countries, and those who use low power short wave radios for communications purposes. Just like the playground bully, this power line technology is bad at what it does, and destroys a great deal of good while achieving its fail.

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FAIL

Re: Banned?

You might be getting fed up with the "these should be banned fraternity". I am very fed up with the inconsiderate behaviour of these devices, their owners, and their proponents. Live and let live would be possible if these devices kept to a frequency band allocated for the purpose. But the only way that they can work is by being a wideband device. Therefore, as an absolutely essential part of their operation, they interfere with other devices that are well behaved and are keeping within their allocated frequency bands. As I noted in a comment above, they behave like the playground bully: they are not very good at what they do, but they cause a lot of collateral damage while they are achieving their fail.

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Interferance

To be honest the interference that you get is probably down you your inadiquate screening of Electronic devices. This made worse by the influx of poorly screened electronics from the china etc. Ham operators are required as part of their licence to address such issues, so it is probably work mentioning your issues to any operators in your immediate area.

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Anonymous Coward

Bad at what it does?

Really?? I've got two of these in my house, connecting the upstairs and downstairs kit. Get 110Mb solid, it works a treat, and is pretty much fit-and-forget. Pees all over wi-fi that's for sure!

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How about powerline integrated into a routed

Here's an idea. Why don't the manufacturers of routers put this functionality into one of their devices? OK - they may have to do something rather different so that they don't have a separate power brick, but it would save yet another box and cable if we could have one box that acted provided wired LAN, Wireless and PowerLine.

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Zyxel did...

...it was the P-660HWP-D1.

Recently discontinued.

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Anonymous Coward

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

Maybe I'm missing the point but if you are using cat 5 cable to your equipment and router why not just buy a cheap gigabit switch (for much less) and use that?

Seems to me you'll get better transfer rates cheaper and avoid all the unwanted noise from powerline kit.

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Anonymous Coward

Switch

I think the point is that some devices are in a different part of the house to where the router is, and you don't want to pull a long CAT5.

Having said that: if you have multiple devices in the same room, you can just plug them into a 5-port 10/100 switch (for about a tenner) and uplink that into a standard homeplug adapter. So you're paying a premium here just for avoiding a bit of clutter.

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Pint

You are missing the point

Your router etc are in a different room. You don't have cat5 between the rooms. You don't fancy fitting cat5 in your walls / under your floorboards, or leaving cables trailed between rooms.

Eg, my wireless router and nas are in the cellar. Wireless signal to one of the bedrooms on the first floor isn't great. I could plug one of these adapters into a power socket in the bedroom, another in the cellar and cable the one in the cellar into my router.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Switch

Except said switch takes up an extra power socket that some may not have, me included.

So, switch+powerline is good, switch and separate powerline is bad.

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Not always bad...

You could get one of these and, clearance allowing, plug something else into the same socket.

http://www.solwise.co.uk/net-powerline-av-push-piggy.htm

I am not a Solwise employee so this isn't a plug. I have a couple and they work OK but the speed isn't exactly spectacular. I hear they're non standard too but I don't know if that's really the case.

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Anonymous Coward

Broader Picture

Dear Mr Smith, Could you please talk to the Radio Society of Great Britain, in particular to their Electromagnetic Compatibility specialists, to gain an understanding of the nuisance and harm caused by these devices. This is a technology that should have been strangled at birth because of the harm it does to users of the wireless spectrum.

In short the problem is that they do not keep the signal in the wires, which instead act as a transmitting antenna. If mains cable were just beefed up Cat 5e, then it might be less of a problem. But it isn't.

When you have spoken with the RSGB, and understood the issue, could you then please write a column explaining the problems to those who do not understand? Many thanks.

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Anonymous Coward

Not enough sockets?

Most people have a three-way socket adapter, or you can get one from a pound shop. Like I say, it's just about tidiness, nothing more.

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Two points

1) Solwise also have a three-port homeplug which has six 13A sockets as well!

http://www.solwise.co.uk/net-powerline-av-piggy6.htm

2) @Steven Jones: Solwise also have a wireless router with four ethernet ports and one HomePlug port

http://www.solwise.co.uk/net-powerline-pl-200av11nrt.htm

And, no, I don't work for them, I just buy their products...

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75% too high

The score of 75% for these is way too high, no more than 5% because of Windows -only setup software.

@AC 12:39 it is possible to couple signals between two separate networks using purely magnetic coupling, no wireless telegraphy involved.

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Don't need setup

Most Homeplug AV kit (this WD stuff included) has a button you press which syncs the device with existing devices on your network. You never need to set the encryption key. In any case, they all use the same Intellon chipset, and I'm pretty sure there's a Mac version of the software available.

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You're making an assumption

that the signal does not go beyond your house. If it does, a neighbour can join your network, or possibly you will end up with a single network spanning more than one house. Combined with uPnP, this could mean that all your media and Internet devices are visible and available. Shiver.

If you want to guarantee privacy, then you should set your own key, and to do that, you need the windows application. This is why it sucks.

There have been Linux (actually Posix compliant) tools, but I have only tested them on the older Homeplug and Homeplug Turbo devices.

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Headmaster

4port + WiFi

similar but with added WiFI is the Devolo AVeasy wireless 4 port adapter - can be part of a kit with a single port adapter to plug in near router. I use one successfully and am considering adding a second both for WiFi coverage and the increasing living room demands for ethernet connectivity of consoles/telly/decoder boxes etc. Bit dearer than quoted above.

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FAIL

Providing a little more information about these horrid little things

http://www.mikeandsniffy.co.uk/UKQRM/

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Black Helicopters

web

"http://www.mikeandsniffy.co.uk/UKQRM/"

It's probably just me... but why do so many protest websites of this nature look so bad and shoddy? Sure, it's not the appearance but the content that we should be taking into account, but I'm sorry - no matter how well researched and documented their objections might be, making it look and feel like so many other conspiracy websites 'proving' that moon landings were fake or UFOs built the pyramids has undermined their cause. Unless that is their target audience?

Is there some research that has shown that the legitimacy and quality of evidence is backed up by the number of different sizes and colours of font used on a given page? Bonus points for exclamation marks. (fortunately the javascript to play sounds for every button mouseover appears not to work) I don't expect everyone to be a web designer, but someone has clearly taken the time and effort to make the pages look like that rather than just use plain, businesslike style. Avoiding sensationalist words and phrases too would help.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a great fan of the powerline stuff, more because it is fairly flaky than because it is 'the worst thing to happen to Shortwave radio ever!'. I am using it in one library out of necessity, where I can't run new cable as it is a listed building (which in this environment would have required spending a number of months getting approval from various internal and external committees). I do know of someone (anonymous in case she's involved in that website) who was very vocal against the first generation 11mbps stuff who had personally run various tests to demonstrate the problem (don't know about the subsequent versions). But that site just makes me laugh at how bad it is and devalues anything it might legitimately have to say. Which might be a shame.

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Badgers

Haha, that website is so awesome!

All its missing are some blink tags.

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FAIL

Wow!

Geocities called, they want their website back!

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PoE

I've asked this before without getting a suitable answer, so I'll ask it again.

Does anyone know of a powerline ethernet device that also delivers Power Over Ethernet to a connected device? this would be perfect for installing IP cameras in the home when you don't want to sling Cat5e all over the place or risk drop-outs with wirelessly connected cameras...

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I've seen one

I was looking for the same thing, but the only one I found was about the size of this unit, which is a bit too big for my liking.

What I'd really like is something the size of a typical single HomePlug unit with PoE - for me, it would be ideal for VoIP, effectively allowing any phone socket to be used for telephony.

I keep nagging the people at Solwise about the idea.

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several

1st link on Google was http://www.voiplink.com/D_Link_DES_1008PA_p/d-link-des-1008pa.htm There are lots of basic 100mbit PoE switches in 8 port configuration. They're quite a bit pircier than basic switches, and you have to cross check the PoE requirements of your devices. Most will run phones and Wireless G base stations, and most indoor IP cameras, but if you need PTZ or heater units outdoors, or many Wireless N stations, the 7.4 or 15w max output may not be sufficient.

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@Several

Thanks, but that's a standard PoE switch and I've got dozens of those in stock at work. What I would like is a single unit Home Plug adaptor that will provide network connectivity and power to a camera.

FYI cameras with heaters & PTZ cameras usually need 802.3at devices that can kick out up to 30w. The Axis Q6032e camera comes with a mid-span that is rated at 60w @ 55v which is very impressive but does mean the cat 5 cable gets a bit warm at times...

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Not quite

That's a standard PoE switch; what I'm referring to (and presumably the person above) is a PoE unit with HomePlug built in - something like the units available from GigaFast http://www.gigafast.com/OEM/products/ethernet_power_supply_av.html but in a plug-top form factor, rather than the wall or desk mount options they provide.

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@Ground Rush

The ethernet cable to the AV equipment only has to go a metre or two, from the plugged in adaptor. The backhaul is going over the house power circuitry.

Personally I get better speed with 802.11n, so I can't really see the appeal of kit like this.

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Anonymous Coward

@Steve 13

I'm sure this type of kit has its uses in certain circumstances but from the way the article was written it wasn't really apparent what if any advantage this thing would have over a cheaper quicker and less noisy one.

Given that (mostly) AV equipment is grouped fairly closely together it seems logical that a local high speed switch would give better transfer rates.

I use a local router to connect a couple of PCs and other AV kit together to get fast copy rates and backhaul the internet connection to a (WiFi) antenna on top of the roof. In my case it was trivial to run the Cat5 to the top floors but if that wasn't the case a powerline adapter would have been an option.

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RF noise?

It's been suggested before. Could El Reg include a rating of how much RF noise these things kick out? Not sure what the appropriate unit would be.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: RF noise?

Appropriate unit? How about 'Archers Drop-outs'?

So, this box has 0 ADs if the transistor radio in my living room is anything to go by.

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*Sigh*

Once again, I'll reiterate the point that these devices WILL NOT AFFECT FM radio transmissions, although it appears that they have widened the spectrum that these devices operate and this includes the DAB spectrum.

So, the real appropriate unit should be B6D's (BBC 6 Music drop-outs) ;-)

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Unhappy

RF noise - SW noise

It would be nice if you could check with a short-wave radio e.g. about 6 Mhz (Deutsche Welle), while the unit is transferring data. My neighbours had one of the earlier units and it completely wiped out 2.5 - 20 MHz, 24 hours a day but did not affect LW, MW or FM. Fortunately they moved before I had to get Ofcom in. I don't think SW users are unreasonable in detesting these things - remember that SW radio is the only long distance communication method (unreliable as it is) that does not require an intervening government controlled infrastructure (cf Internet radio, satellites etc), and the laws of physics mean we can't simply use other frequencies for that purpose. By contrast there are many different ways of connecting 2 boxes in a house. I'd prefer the powers that be to release more spectrum for WiFi, using devices designed not to interfere with other users. Powerline Ethernet is an ugly and inconsiderate solution, the fly-tipping of the radio spectrum.

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Anonymous Coward

All the more reason to encourage the use of these damned devices

"SW radio is the only long distance communication method ... that does not require an intervening government controlled infrastructure"

It also does not require the listener to announce the fact that they are listening. In many states, listening to the wrong radio station is an offence. Much easier to identify the offenders if you have to ask the server for permission to receive the audio stream.

Will the proponents of power line devices please stop being quite so selfish about their theft of the shortwave spectrum?

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MJI
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FAIL

I prefer cabling

I had a couple from BT, thought they were a horrible idea and never used them.

The ethernet cable I used instead cost less than the power the adaptors would use in one year, and I got a good price for them on Ebay.

They are horrible things and I am glad I was able to not use them.

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Dont forget Dlink!

D-link also do a similar one, and considerably cheaper. <£60, so about the same price as the single socket versions + a cheapo separate switch, and a lot neater. I've had the D-link one going for a few weeks now, and it works a dream in a situation where I couldn't string cable.

As for previous post mentioning that these take more power and cost more than a bit of ethernet cable- I guess many people may not have realised that....

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