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Only a few years ago, it was still the norm for most households to have just one PC that the whole family would share. However, the proliferation of broadband Internet and increasing interest in notebooks has meant more and more families have at least two computers. It's no surprise then, that the trend to have some sort of home network has also mushroomed.
Now, the obvious candidate for the modern home network is some sort of wireless router, of which there are numerous high quality examples. However, if you live in a large brick house, like so many Britons do, you may find the wireless signal is too poor to use for anything but infrequent casual web browsing - online gaming, downloading, or remote working will be a complete no no. Also, with the continual debate over the healthiness of having all these radio waves bouncing round in close proximity to us still not known, you may be averse to having yet another radio signal to add to the list.
However, just because you can't or don't want to have wireless, it doesn't mean you have to start tearing up all your carpets to wire up your house with Ethernet cable. Instead there is a truly marvellous technology that you can use.
Generically known variably as, Ethernet over Power (EoP), Powerline Networking (PLN), and mains communication, said technology uses your building's existing mains power cables to transmit network data signals. So, as long as there's a plug socket, every room in your house can be connected to your network. Moreover, because the network is contained within your house, it is inherently more secure than even an encrypted wireless network.
Now, we've been fans of this technology for many years and have tracked the progress of products based on it from a bit slow and clunky to fast and easy to use and everything in between. However, along that journey we've always noted one consistent problem with every product we've seen - to use one of these network adapters you have to sacrifice a plug socket.
Most of the time this isn't a big problem as you'll probably find you need to use a multi-socket extension to power all the bits for your computer anyway. However, there must equally be many situations where a standard double socket would normally suffice were it not for the network adapter using one of the sockets up, so you end up having to use one of those ugly and cumbersome three-way plugs or a multi-way extension. Thankfully, Solwise has seen this obvious flaw and has recently bolstered its HomePlug line of PLN plugs with the HomePlug AV Simple Connect Mains Pass Through (HomePlug MPT).
As the name suggests, this latest addition incorporates a mains plug pass-through on the front as well as the PLN network connection hardware. You may also have noticed the Simple Connect part of the name which refers to another new easy setup method that has been added to this and Solwise's other new HomePlug devices. Before I talk too much about that, though, let's look at the device itself.