Slinglink Turbo £60
20th Apr 2008 | 10:57
Networking via the Mains
The traditional routes to home networking - and all of its multimedia benefits - are wi-fi and Ethernet.
The problem with wi-fi is that its domestic range is somewhat restricted. If your wireless router is too distant from the device that you want to connect, it either won't, or performance is erratic.
And although you don't get this problem with Ethernet, plumbing in CAT-5 cable isn't everybody's idea of fun. An ingenious alternative is 'powerline Ethernet', which uses your existing mains wiring as the communications medium.
Network around your home
SlingLink's Turbo lets you do this. It's supplied in identical pairs. Each has a mains connection, Ethernet port and status LEDs. Although intended for use with the company's innovative Slingbox, they'll work with just about any Ethernettable device.
I successfully tried them with a networked media player and a Slingbox Solo, but you could easily harness their potential to provide 'net radio to you back garden, for example.
Very easy to setup. Truly 'plug and play', and doesn't require any software or drivers.
Small, unobtrusive, and power consumption is under 5W.
Claimed to deliver throughputs of up to 85Mbps, bringing it theoretically close to wired Fast (100BaseTX) Ethernet.
The quality of the mains supply and wiring will affect transfer speeds.
With 200Mbps units becoming common, these models are looking slow.
My experiences with HD video were disappointing, but standard-def video and audio was fine.