A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the BearExtender PC Wi-Fi USB receiver, which extends the range of your wireless network. I was very impressed with its performance, but it requires you to plug the receiver into a USB port of your laptop or netbook. This week, I take a look at the Innoband HomePlug AV Wireless N Starter K, which allows you to extend your home network and Wi-Fi coverage using your power lines, eliminating the need for extra wires.
Out of the Box
Innoband’s HomePlug AV Wireless N Startup Kit comes with two units: the HomePlug AV 200p-I1 wall plug Ethernet adapter and the HomePlug AV Wireless N 210P-I1 Wi-Fi transceiver. In addition, you are provided with two Ethernet cables for connecting your router and/or PC to the HomePlug units. Also, there is a CD-ROM disc with documentation and drivers.
Setup was relatively straightforward. I plugged the AV 200-P-I1 Ethernet adapter into a wall power socket near my wireless router and then connected the unit and my wireless router, which I have in the basement of my condo, via an Ethernet cable. I then took the 210P-I1 Wireless N unit and plugged that into a wall socket in my upstairs bedroom. I synced the units by pressing their respective “Sync” buttons, and I was ready to connect.
Starting up my laptop, I found “Innoband” listed among the available wireless networks and entered in the security key that is printed on the back of the wireless adapter. In less than five minutes, I was connected to the Internet over my new Innoband network.
If you read my review of the BearExtender PC Wi-Fi USB receiver, you know of the spotty Wi-Fi coverage I have in my condo. Long ago I gave up trying to connect to my wireless network while upstairs, instead relying on my Verizon Wi-Fi hotspot. After setting up my Innoband network, I have full signal strength in my upstairs, and about 80% signal strength on my deck, thanks to the wireless access point built into the HomePlug AV Wireless N 210P-I1 unit. Performing a speed test using the SpeakEasy website, I registered download speeds of roughly 12-13Mbps through my wireless router in my downstairs office (my computer is less than five feet from the router). I was amazed to register download speeds in excess of 14Mbps when connected to the Innoband wireless network when sitting in my upstairs bedroom. Moving to my deck, which is off my bedroom, I was still getting 80% to 90% signal strength. Even when I went back downstairs, I was still able to stay connected to the Innoband network, although the strength fell off to about 40%.
The Innoband HomePlug AV Wireless N Starter Kit solved my Wi-Fi “dead spot” problem in my condo, giving me broadband connection speeds over a true wireless connection. It achieves this without having to run additional network cables or drilling holes. All it requires is two wall sockets plus and an Ethernet cable to connect the wired unit to your cable modem or wireless router. For me, the $140 price tag is well worth having wireless coverage throughout my home.
- Extends your wireless coverage though power lines
- No drop-off in connection speeds versus existing wireless router
Innoband HomePlug AV Wireless N Starter Kit
Price: Currently $140 on Amazon.com
Wayne A. Thorp, CFA, is the author of “Gadget Corner.” All reviews are based on firsthand experience of the product or service. No third-party compensation is received for opinions on products, services, websites or topics. However, sometimes the author is not required by the manufacturer or their PR firm to return the product under review. In such instances, it is our policy to convey this within the review. The views and opinions expressed in these reviews are strictly those of the author. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.