Home Networking Question

I’m a software guy, so here’s a couple of home networking questions I’m hoping one of you readers can answer. My internet connection (cable) comes in upstairs in the loft (aka where all my computer stuff lives). My TV and Xbox are in the living room on the opposite side of the house, downstairs. Between the distance and general house interference, the network perf in my living room stinks, with both my laptop and Xbox.

I’d basically resigned myself to running Cat 5 cable from my living room to the loft, which is a pain because it would have to run thru the crawlspace and up the side of the house to the loft and punch in thru the outside wall. Frankly, I haven’t been able to make the time commitment to do that yet.

I was checking out the Linksys site and right there on the homepage is a promotion for their Powerline products. Now that would be MUCH easier than running Cat 5. But how good is it, really? They claim “Data rates up to 200Mbps”, which is plenty fast if they really reach that throughput. Anyone out there had any experience with this Powerline stuff? For around $200 and getting to skip running cable under the house, it’s probably worth it for me to take a shot. Worse that happens is that I have to take it back.

Regardless if I use powerline or run Cat 5, that solves the Xbox problem but I still want a stronger wireless signal on that side of the house. So for my second question, what’s the word on multiple access points? Should I set up multiple wireless APs or should I set up a repeater somewhere in between to boost the signal. I’m actually looking at getting a new wireless router/AP anyway, so maybe I could just get one of the ones with some type of range boost. I currently have a now-discontinued MN-700 (what do you want, I’m a company man) so it’s a good time to get a new AP anyway.

Another option to the wireless strength question is the AuraGrid, which tunnels your wireless antenna signal over the coax cable in your home to give you multiple antennas all over the house. So I could easily add a wireless antenna wherever there’s a cable jack. Anyone have any experience with that product?

Anyone who wants to give me free advice, feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line. Thanks in advance.


Jeff Duntemann gave a thumbs-up to Powerline connectors: http://jeff-duntemann.livejournal.com/103259.html But I've heard (I think on Amazon reviews) that achieved throughput is marginal for HDTV.