Tag: networking

As home networks become larger and larger, new technology will be required to get gadgets connected that are sprinkled around the house. D-Link, along with other manufacturers, has recognized that many electronics now require internet connectivity, but are either not wireless, or located next to an ethernet plug.

A possible solution to this problem is network adapters that work over existing electrical wires embedded in walls. There are multiple technologies in the market now, and many do not work together, but most work in the same way. An adapter is plugged into the wall socket, with an ethernet cable connected to a device, then another adapter is plugged into a socket and wired router. Now the device is connected to the network, and can enjoy (theoretical) speeds of 200 Mbps.

Setup

In terms of installation, I don’t think I’ve used a network product with an easier setup. With an adapter connected to my router, and another connected to my Playstation 3, I had internet within seconds. The adapters are small enough to fit in convenient places, and the LEDs provide feedback about device status and network connectivity.

Performance

I bought a set of these adapters to connect my PS3 to my network and enjoy media shared on my computer. After the setup and a quick connectivity test, I was excited to try a movie. Sadly, this was where the set fell short.

D-Link says that under ideal conditions, these adapters can provide up to 200 Mbps throughput (which is about 25 MB/s). In my house, I achieved about 3 MB/s. This was found by using my MacBook to transfer files over ethernet. Disappointed but not defeated, I moved the second adapter through my house to test the transfer speeds. Speeds ranged from 768 KB/s on the opposite side of the house to 6 MB/s in the same room as the router. This was about the same as my previous solution, so I decided to return the adapters.

Conclusions

I can’t say I’m all that surprised about the performance, as wiring varies from house to house. My house was especially tough because the router room is on a different subsystem than the living room. This product would probably work best in a fairly new house, with sockets in basically the same area.

If you’re planning on purchasing a set of PowerLine adapters, be sure to check your supplier’s return policy. Test them immediately in a variety of locations and configurations, and look at alternative solutions if they don’t perform close to the manufacturer’s estimation.

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If you run a home server, use file sharing on your network or use BitTorrent, you’ll know how inconvenient a dynamic IP address can be. Rather than memorizing a single address for each computer, you need to constantly look up each system. The solution is to set up your router to use static IP addresses. The problem — if you use an Apple Airport base station — is that the setting is often hidden among the advanced features, and even then it can be hard to identify.

I found the solution while browsing around the Airport Utility after my Internet went down. The setting is hidden in the Internet tab, under DHCP. There you’ll find a list that says IP Reservations, which is Apple’s way of saying these computers will each get a dedicated address.

To set up a computer, click the + icon and start the assistant. The key to successfully setting up the entire system is knowing a computer’s MAC address, which can be found from the Airport Utility under logs and statistics (like the picture below). This code of letters and numbers uniquely identifies each computer on your network, so you’ll need to make a note of it and enter it into the Reserved IP assistant.

With the assistant complete, you need to update the settings on the Airport and wait for the computer’s IP lease to reset. Once that is done, you’ll be able to use the reserved IP whenever you access the computer.

[tags]Airport, Apple, OS X, networking[/tags]

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If you’re like me, you wait for a while whenever new technology arrives. We didn’t get a DVD player until they had been on the scene for a few months, and we didn’t have high speed internet until the price dropped way down. In fact, there’s probably a Betamax player somewhere in the basement.

I waited until Revision 2 to pick up an Airport Extreme base station. The gigabit feature was the reason I waited. I probably didn’t notice much difference since there are only 2 wired computers on the network, and only 1 has Gigabit ethernet, but waiting for Product 2.0 is generally a good way to go. The router I was replacing is an Airport Express base station that has been my entire wireless setup since 2004, and it has been an excellent solution. With the Airport Extreme, I played around with the settings, and learned that I had better reception for my iPod touch if I used Wireless G with both routers instead of a single Wireless N base station.

With that in mind, here is a tutorial for using two Airport base stations to create a single distributed network.

Steps

  1. Configure Main base station
  2. Configure Remote base station

Read More »

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