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Router Integration: Fiscal Salvation

-February 25, 2009

Three weeks back, I documented in detail my inability to reliably stream high-definition video through either a HomePlug AV-only or 802.11n-only LAN topology. My cobbled-together ultimate solution comprised three separate devices at the WAN-to-LAN node:

  • An Apple 802.11n router, running in 802.11n-only mode at 5.8 GHz with wide channel broadcast enabled, and using WPA-AES encryption
  • Connected to the router, a Belking 802.11g access point with WEP encryption, for backwards compatibility with legacy 802.11b and 802.11g LAN clients, and
  • Also connected to the router, a HomePlug AV bridge adapter.

If your bandwidth needs are more moderate than mine and you’d like to dispense with the need for a separate HomePlug AV device, consider Zyxel’s model NBG-318S 802.11g router, which integrates a HomePlug AV transceiver. Right now, it’s on sale for $32.99 plus shipping. Just don’t, ahem, plug it into a surge protector or uninterruptable power supply. If you need higher wireless transfer speed, Google searching has informed me that an 802.11n router with HomePlug AV support is also available in the form of Aztech’s HL109RN…although my inability to find a pricetag on it is disturbing.

Conversely, if powerline networking doesn’t rock your boat but you’d like to broadcast wireless at both 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz from a single device, check out the Linksys-by-Cisco WRT600N dual-band router (recently replaced by the WRT610N, with minimal functional differences but an obvious cosmetic evolution). Reviews on this one are universally quite good, and today only it’s also on sale for $139.99 (which may sound like a lot until you consider that Newegg normally sells it for $60 more) with free shipping.

Happy stimulus shopping, folks.

p.s…and if you need one or a few powerline networking adapters, I’ve been noticing some good sales on these at Dealnews lately, too. Just make sure you know what you’re getting; I’ve seen a mix of HomePlug 1.0-, HomePlug 1.0 Turbo-, HomePlug AV- and UPA (i.e. DS2)-based products…with HD-PLC as well, in the distant past.

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