by Greg King on February 6, 2008 in Networking
Looking for an alternative solution to a wireless LAN or drilling holes in the walls for a clean wired connection? The Actiontec AV200 might be of interest, with the ability to create a network using the power sockets already in your house. As it turns out, it’s effective, and incredibly easy to set up.
What can be said about a networking kit that is out of the box and functional in about 15 minutes? A lot actually. In our testing, we found that a powerline adapter such as the Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 is a very solid alternative to expanding your home network into rooms where the wireless range of your router might not reach.
With speeds double of that of a standard wireless g network, it not only is an easy alternative to additional access points but is an overall faster performing alternative at that. That said, this technology will not compete, not even remotely, with a wired connection and as unfair of a comment as that may be, it’s true. If you’re going for tops in performance, by all means, get out your drywall saw and snake them wires baby, just don’t call me. It’s not fun.
Therein lays the entire point of this technology. This isn’t intended to rival wired performance, though it would be great if it did, but rather it’s intended to extend a network that might be crippled by their wireless range. In doing this, the Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 succeeds.
It is important to note that the 200Mbps rating is a little ambitious, however. That’s the theoretical number found in their labs, without ethernet cables, which would in turn be what a power line could handle. Their labs have found the actual cap through Ethernet to be 90Mbps, so 200Mbps speeds can’t be expected.
Before we get to your final score, we should point out that this kit isn’t without its faults. First off, you cannot use it with a surge protector as the protector performs line conditioning that will all but ruin your data signal. You can however use the kit with extension cords and while completely functional, this is a horribly ugly way of doing things. The unit is also large and for most outlets, this will almost eliminate the usage of the second plug. However, if you have a plug that lacks a third ground prong on it, it will quite possibly fit above or below your AV 200 adapter.
All in all, the Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 is a refreshing example of “as advertised”. Although it will never hit 200Mbps as the name would suggest, the speed seen is almost double that of wireless G. The installation was mind-numbingly easy as well. If my dog had thumb and the mental capacity to mechanics of plugging something in, I am certain that he could setup this device. It’s that simple.
The Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 earns a solid 9 out of 10. It’s not for everyone, but those that need it, won’t find anything else as simple as this. Because of this ease of use, it also earns an Editor’s Choice award. For those interested, you can find this kit online in the neighborhood or $140 (US).
- Ridiculously easy setup
- Available file encryption
- Great performance compared to wireless
- Quality build
- Cannot use surge protector
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