Thursday, 21 July 2011

Western Digital LiveWire Powerline AV Network Kit

Powerline Ethernet adaptors (network devices that use your house's existing power cables) have been around for some time and the Western Digital LiveWire Powerline kit is one of the best on the market.

The WD LiveWire Powerline Kit Adaptors
The LiveWire kit offers 4 ports per adapter which is a significant boost from other powerline Ethernet adaptors. It is also faster than most and the price if the kit about R1,000.00 makes expanding your home or small office network quick, simple and relatively cheap.

LiveWire comes with two identical powerline adapters each with four network ports. At one end you plug your ADSL router into the adapter and at the other end of the house or office you plug in your pc / gaming console or other networked device and you have setup a powerline connection. It is as easy as that.

There are of course some drawbacks to the LiveWire kit as with other powerline kits. It is not designed to work with power strips or surge protectors and needs to be plugged into the wall directly. We tried the adapters with a few power strips anyway, and they actually worked with some. However, they did not work with surge protectors. Given the state of Eskom’s power supply this may be something to be concerned about.

Another drawback is that of, what if your neighbour plugs in a LiveWire kit, will they be able to snoop around on your network? If you press the Sync button within 2 minutes of each other a private 128bit encrypted connection is made between the adapters, preventing other powerline adapters from connecting to them. Should you wish to reset this there is a reset button underneath the adapter.

You can also manage the device and view the performance of the kit by using the LiveWire utility that comes with the kit on the CD. The CD also contains a well illustrated flash application to walk you through the setup of your LiveWire kit.

Performance wise you get varying speeds as you are dependent on the electrical wiring in your house and the plug connection.

The good:
  • Excellent performance and it comes with eight network ports.
  • Easy to use and setup
  • The adapters automatically support voltage ranging from 100V to 240V, meaning they can be used just about anywhere in the world
  • WD Livewire Kit isn't particularly expensive
  • Data transferred between adaptors is 128-bit encrypted
The Bad:
  • Speed depends on the electrical wiring so it is not consistent from building to building
  • The 'sync' button gives next to no indication whether it's been pressed or not
All said and done the LiveWire kit is a fantastic quick and easy way to setup  or even expand your home network. Western Digital offer other great media products that make is possible to network your house with a Media streaming without ever needing to lay a single ethernet cable or battle with intermitten wireless networks.

1 comment:

  1. It does work. Excellent :)
    Installed without issue.
    One in back of the house and one one up front.
    I also had a power board and it still worked on the unit at the front of the house.

    let us all know how you go so that products that work will be available to all who may need it.

    By the way I have a slow link so for us on a budget there is some hope. Good luck friends.

    Thanks Technoblegy Team