Lan through mains network

Well I can't believe I've never heard of this before, but a couple of friends today were explaining how it's possible to connect to your router through a mains socket, so I was just wondering, firstly, is this superior to using a wireless network? And how would I go about setting this up? I've searched both Toms and the internet, but I don't know the name of this technology, so its quite difficult to find anything.
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More about mains network
  1. Sometimes known as Homeplug. When it works it's great. When it doesn't it's horrid.

    I've been experimenting with a pair that were once issued with BT's broadband kit and have since been condemned by the UK Wireless Society for causing interference to radio bands for considerable distances from the user's home.

    I found them a little confusing to set up and once apparently working very slow. Audible interference even on the weedy speakers built into my flatscreen monitor.

    Apparently non connectivity issues are common due to how the house mains circuit is laid out.

    As I say, some people are happily using these systems -- I suspect you should only buy them on the understanding that the retailer will refund if there are problems.
  2. There are some devices you can get to use your in-house electrical for networking.

    Essentially, you can plug one of these into a free wall socket, then plug that into your router/switch. All it is, is a dump device and just broadcasts any data from the network side into your electrical system.

    It's like a hub, so you can get "collisions" on this type of network, but is quite fast up until near its limit. Also, any devices like vacuum/power-saw/etc will mess with it since they produce a lot of electrical noise.

    Also, if you have a 220 coming into your house, all the devices must be on the same 110, since the two 110s coming off the 220 will have different wires and don't connect.
  3. OK thanks for your help. Last question, are there any brands you would recommend?
  4. I wouldn't recommend Netgear as they are expensive, but they do have a pretty good support forum.

    Try Googling "mains networking" or similar variants and see if you can find reviews.

    But problems are often special to the premises -- so one person's experience may not be helpful.
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