The Piggy6 aims to add a new dimension to your HomePlug AV network by combining a heap of power sockets and three Ethernet ports into a single unit. Traditionally, connecting multiple HomePlug devices to a power strip - and particularly anti-surge equipped ones with EMI/RFI filters - is frowned on as these can affect operations. The Piggy6 neatly overcomes these issues as it filters power itself and also provides anti-surge protection as well.
At their foundation, all HomePlug products aim to provide a discrete way of networking your PCs and that is their key selling point. Essentially, they hitch a ride on your premises' existing electrical cabling to create an Ethernet network - no fuss and virtually no wires.
They compete strongly with wireless networks and can be a better choice in environments where building structures interfere with reception. Security is also a key feature of HomePlug products as they automatically implement 128-bit AES encryption on all traffic passing between each unit.
The Piggy6 is a porky little unit but it brings home the bacon in the power department as this hexagonal slab of plastic offers six power outlets around its upper surface. Hidden underneath on one edge are three Fast Ethernet ports whilst next door is a bank of status LEDs showing link status for each network port, power and whether a HomePlug network is active.
The LEDs are flanked on either side by reset and security buttons where the latter is used to negotiate encrypted links with other HomePlug compliant devices. If you do need to use the security button make sure you have a paper clip or similarly slim poking implement as the hole is tiny. The network ports are active as long as the Piggy6 is plugged in, and it has a large button on top that controls power to the sockets.
Naturally, to create a HomePlug network you'll need another compliant device so Solwise provided us with one of its NET-PL-200AV-PUSH adapters (above) which cost less than £40. We mirrored a common scenario where we connected the network port in the single adapter to our Internet router and pushed the Piggy6 out to a separate office where all our systems were.