Devolo dLAN 200 AV Starter Kit

Wireless is great isn't it? There are no wires for starters and to top it off it means you can sit anywhere you like within the signal, be it the stairs, the sofa or in your bed.

Trouble is, wireless routers and British homes don't always go hand in hand and if you want to get a signal to your office at the end of your garden you might be stuck.

In steps the latest addition to the HomePlug range from Devolo. It promises to achieve transfer rates of up to 200Mbps over not the air, but your electrical wiring around your home.

The incredibly easy to install system involves you having to plug a plug into a power socket and connect the cable to your home router. At the other end, be it the shed, the bedroom or wherever you need a connection, you plug in the second plug, wait a few seconds, and that's it - you're done.

Of course this kind of system isn't new, we reviewed the first HomePlug from Devolo back in November 2004 and Netgear has been selling a similar product for the same amount of time. But technology moves on, and so with the increased popularity of HD quality footage and bigger files that need to be transfered at a higher speed.

For the home entertainment enthusiast in particular fast transfer speeds are important. A 1080i HD stream filling about 20 megabits (Mb) of network capacity every second, combine that with the fact that you can't yet do this via a wireless network and the Devolo becomes an attractive proposition.

Better still, because it uses the wiring already in your house you don't have deal with yet more cabling.

So does it work? In short, yes. The system as we've mentioned is incredibly easy to setup and this ease of use extends to the software interface if you want to change certain settings.

The main setting you are likely to want to get involved in, is the ability to prioritise data transfer. Why would you want to do this? Well it allows you to give preference over internet access or VoIP or more importantly here video streaming. That way that application gets priority over anything else.

Another nifty feature is that not only can you have multiple HomePlugs connected around the house, but you can then connect a wireless router on the end of any one of them meaning you can use it has a bridge if you need to transverse a long distance.

Verdict

Devolo dLAN 200 AV Starter Kit is a great piece of kit whether you are just trying to get internet to the far reaches of your house, or if you are using it for its true purpose - streaming video from your computer to your television.

In all ours tests we had not one problem with the unit. Technology always promises to make things easier, and for once, this does just that.