WiFi is great for a lot of things, but there are instances where it isn’t the best solution for home networking. Perhaps you live in a palatial mansion that outstrips the range of ordinary WiFi technology, or maybe you live in a drafty Scottish castle with five foot thick walls that completely blocks all your signals. Or maybe every other sod in the near vicinity already has a WiFi router clogging up the airwaves. Whatever. There’s a way around it that works really well called HomePlug AV, which uses your mains sockets to carry your network. The trouble so far has been that you always have to buy a costly set of HomePlug AV adapters – one for each of the devices you want to plug in and one to plug into your router / hub.
Finally, one company – ZyXEL – has thought outside (or perhaps that should be inside) the box and taken the step of including the PowerPlug technology in something other than a plain old HomePlug adapter. ZyXEL has picked a digital media adapter – the DMA1100P – as its debut HomePlug enabled device, which we’re guessing is some kind of set-top box for accessing networked media, although without further descriptions or even a picture we can’t be sure. Good to know someone’s trying though.
Although I can’t see myself every buying something like this, it’s nice to see a manufacturer stepping up the presence of HomePlug different network devices and hopefully if it successful other companies will consider using it in their hardware. There’s a boatload of Ethernet equipped HDTVs coming out this year for example and although the likes of Sharp are talking about producing their own HomePlug adapters, it would be better if this technology was just chucked in anyway. The main obstacle is that different HomePlug devices and different HomePlug standards don’t really play well together. Sort it out chaps.
CES 2008 Special
Read all our coverage from the show in our CES 2008 category