Solwise HomePlug Ethernet PL-85PE review

We have featured HomePlugs before on Pocket-lint, but it is worth revisiting this technology every once in a while as it is just so practical. But can it solve your home networking problems?

This Solwise HomePlug unit is available in a double pack, which you need to get yourself started, or as a single, for extending an existing setup. The double pack, of course, is sold as an out of the box plug and play networking solution. If you are not familiar with the concept, it is worth reading our ZyXEL PowerLine HomePlug review for a more background information.

The PL-85PE offer 85Mbps as the name suggests, but Solwise also do slower, 14Mbps, and faster 200Mbps units at appropriate price points. Talking prices brings us to the real crux of this system. You can, for example, connect your Xbox 360 to the Internet via your wireless network using the dedicated Wi-Fi adapter, which will cost you in the region of £60. Or, you could take this wired route, which will cost you less, and will have a use beyond just the console.

In the box you get your two plugs, two Ethernet cables, a brief userguide and a CD of diagnostic tools. These tools allow you to alter some of the settings of your HomePlugs, such as setting up a private network, something you might want to do if you have unscrupulous housemates or live in a flat with shared wiring. It also tells you the actual speed you are getting through the units. We achieved 80Mbps, a slight loss, due perhaps to it being plugged into a four-gang extension at both ends. In fact, it was a four-gang, in a four-gang. The Manufacturers recommend that you don’t do this and plug straight into the wall to avoid any loss in performance. The guidance details that they work over about a 200m run of mains cable.

Verdict

HomePlugs provide a simple solution to networking headaches, avoiding the need to run cable all over your house or fight with more wireless adaptors. It is a clean easy solution and, as in this example here, can be used beyond boring home networks. If you have your Xbox 360 in your bedroom and want to play online, for example, then this is a really simple approach. With the integration of media sharing in a growing range of devices, this is a really simple way to expand your network.

As this pack comes with two plugs in the box, it is all you need.