Computers have been around long enough that even modest households have more than one machine in residence. In most cases, these extra systems are hand me downs which really show their age when it comes to gaming but are fine for casual Internet use and word processing. Of course, without an Internet connection these machines are close to useless - yes we really are that dependant on the Web these days.
For most home users, laying down metres of CAT5 cable is not the most practical method of sharing an Internet connection, especially if you live in rented property or you have a habit of moving properties on a regular basis. Also, unless you are doing lots of file transfers across the network, it’s a little overkill.
Increasingly, the most common solution to this problem is wireless networking. In theory, it’s a no-nonsense, no mess solution. Unlike our friends in America however, European homes can date back hundreds of years which often means hugely thick walls and a general structure that just doesn’t lend itself to wireless particularly easily at all.
Thanks to Devolo, there is now another solution! The MicroLink dLAN networking system uses the pre-existing electrical wiring in your house to piggy-back an Ethernet signal, much in the same way X10 works. The upchuck of this, is that anywhere there is a mains outlet, there is the option of plugging in a MicroLink adapter and connecting to your network. If used in conjunction with a router, an Internet connection can also be shared across your power lines.
This is the second generation of the dLAN kit, rated at a theoretical 85Mbit/sec which is a major improvement over the 14Mbit/sec previous generation products. This means performance should lie somewhere in between that of a 54Mbit/sec wireless solution and a 100Mbit/sec LAN. Experience dictates there is often a large difference between theory and practice though.