Solwise NET-PL-200AV-PIGGY Homeplug adapter networking device - Review

Solwise NET-PL-200AV-PIGGY Homeplug adapter networking device - Review

Plug your network in

Pros: Good performance. Easy to set up.

Cons: Physically large. Not pretty.

Bottomline: A very easy way to create a secure home network without wires or PC adapters.

Price: £55 each

Manufacturer: Solwise

Solwise’s Homeplug adapters do away with both network cables and the hassle of setting up wireless networks, because they use your home's mains electrical wiring instead.

Each computer or device to be added to the network will usually require both a network connection and a mains power connection. Where most Homeplug adapters use up a mains socket for themselves, the Solwise Piggy units are fitted with a mains socket of their own. This means a single mains socket is all you need to provide both power and network connectivity to the PC.

Although the adapters are a little large and bulky, they’re well constructed and just slim enough to avoid interfering with adjacent sockets, while a trio of indicator lights show you when the network is correctly set up. With most Homeplug adapters you can simply plug them in and start using the network right away.

However, networks set up like this are not secure: anyone on the same physical mains system could plug in their own adapter and gain access to it. However, like wireless networks, Homeplug networks can be protected. Most Homeplugs require software for this, but Solwise’s SimpleConnect technology does you away with all that by using a simple push-button.

Pushing the buttons on the adapters within two minutes of each other creates a secure network without the need to run any software. The technically-minded can still set things up the old way using the utility CD provided.

Unfortunately, the software is not as easy to use as we’d have liked, although it does offer some extra options such as the ability to give priority to certain types of data (if you want to make sure your Skype calls can always get through, for instance). The Homeplug standard has become widely adopted and comes in three speeds.

The Piggy uses the fastest version, called Homeplug AV, which delivers enough speed for high-definition video, fast internet and voice communication at once. If you want to stream such video from PC to living-room TV, a pair of Piggies will provide a quick and easy connection without the need to set up a wireless network.