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WD's Livewire Uses AC Outlets for Networking

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 33 comments

WD's Livewire kit is ideal for creating network access outside a wireless router's reach.

Tuesday hard drive manufacturer Western Digital (WD) revealed the WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit, a setup that establishes a home network using electrical outlets, and could eliminate the need to string Ethernet cables throughout the home or office. This solution could also boost network reliability in areas outside a wireless router's range.

According to the company, the kit provides two 4-port HomePlug AV adapters and data transfer speeds of up to 200Mbps. One adapter plugs into the user's (required) Ethernet router and an electrical outlet. The other adapter is plugged into another electrical outlet elsewhere in the office or home. WD said that users should expect to see "glitch-free playback of Full-HD 1080p video streams" on up to seven connected devices.

"Wireless networks, while popular, don't always deliver the reliable high-speed connections needed to sustain HD video streaming," said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing for WD's branded products group. "Meanwhile, drilling holes for new Ethernet cables is complicated, expensive and messy. With the WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit, it's truly easy to enjoy all the HD streaming and broadband Internet capabilities of these great new devices anywhere there is an electrical outlet."

In addition to the two adapters, the kit also includes two Ethernet cables, two power cables, software and a 1-year limited warranty. The kit is HomePlug AV certified, IEEE 802.3 and IEEE 802.3u compliant, and is available now online and offline for $139.99 USD.

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  • 8 Hide
    christiangordon , August 24, 2010 9:20 PM
    These have been around for a while and work pretty well.
  • 6 Hide
    2real , August 24, 2010 9:20 PM
    doesn't this tech already exist? and how can you transfer your network signal over your electrical outlets?
  • 6 Hide
    angryfingertips , August 24, 2010 9:25 PM
    christiangordonThese have been around for a while and work pretty well.


    Wait till apple unveils theirs.
  • 2 Hide
    masterasia , August 24, 2010 9:25 PM
    I think you can get the Linksys version for half the price.
    And yes, this technology has been out for a while now. When they first came out they were only like 10-15 Mbs. 200 Mbs seems to be where everyone's at these days with powerline.
  • 1 Hide
    tokenz , August 24, 2010 9:26 PM
    I dont think it has been anywhere near this fast. Last time I checked it was at like 42mbit per second. So if you get 200mbps thats a really good speed. Also setting up multiples was difficult as well. I decided to run cat 6 instead. Still a little expensive though.
  • 1 Hide
    nforce4max , August 24, 2010 9:28 PM
    This reminds me of dialup home networks ware the phone line in the house is used in this way. Also some service providers use this method of networking except they use the power line as a medium but that is dead commercially in most areas while the concept is being kept alive such as this.
  • 2 Hide
    christiangordon , August 24, 2010 9:30 PM
    angryfingertipsWait till apple unveils theirs.

    As long as I can use all Operating Systems on it I would be fine with it.
    Price must also be decent.
  • 1 Hide
    mavroxur , August 24, 2010 9:32 PM
    This has been around for almost 10 years that I know of at speeds close to this. It was around back in the 90's too but it was much slower.
  • 1 Hide
    dman3k , August 24, 2010 9:43 PM
    They need to make a coax one for people who don't use their coax in the house like people with RJ45s (like U-Verse) or fiber (like FiOS).
  • 1 Hide
    jrnyfan , August 24, 2010 9:49 PM
    This tech exists already and there is a reason why it died out: It doesn't work. It's going to die out again and I pity the fools that get suckered into this again
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 24, 2010 9:50 PM
    @2real
    "and how can you transfer your network signal over your electrical outlets?"
    The frequency of the AC-current is used as a carrier wave and the information is modulated upon it, much like how FM-radio works.
  • 2 Hide
    Darkerson , August 24, 2010 9:55 PM
    christiangordonAs long as I can use all Operating Systems on it I would be fine with it.Price must also be decent.


    Apple and decent price do not go hand in hand :p 
  • 0 Hide
    borisof007 , August 24, 2010 9:57 PM
    angryfingertipsWait till apple unveils theirs.


    You mean the price tag? Yeah that'll be a real headline: Apple unveils DC Power Networking, $4,000 per computer.
  • 1 Hide
    Fetal , August 24, 2010 9:59 PM
    Why do thee isheeps babble about apple everytime in every thread. suks to be you!
  • 0 Hide
    dark_lord69 , August 24, 2010 10:00 PM
    These things have always been overpriced...
  • 0 Hide
    Major7up , August 24, 2010 10:05 PM
    if your home has an underment (raised foundation) rather than a slab foundation then running ethernet is not that difficult. I have done more than several installations now none of which took more than a one full day to complete. Granted that is still more time and more expensive than the product discussed here, it can't beat running 550 MHz cat6 through your house. Especially if you plan you run HDMI over ethernet (yes it's possible).
  • 1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , August 24, 2010 10:11 PM
    Am I the only one who saw 'Livewire' and thought of the orange Mt Dew?

    Yummy...
  • 0 Hide
    angryfingertips , August 24, 2010 10:24 PM
    christiangordonAs long as I can use all Operating Systems on it I would be fine with it.Price must also be decent.



    I'm sure that only apple stuff will work on it.

    BTW my first post was sarcasm.
  • 0 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , August 24, 2010 10:46 PM
    these things are expensive rubbish, and if they are anything like the old ones, they are also much slower than rated speeds. Id like to see a review of acutal speed achievable. And I also want to know if this puts out any electrical interference for other appliances??
  • 0 Hide
    derek2006 , August 25, 2010 1:05 AM
    ElectricFM@2real"and how can you transfer your network signal over your electrical outlets?"The frequency of the AC-current is used as a carrier wave and the information is modulated upon it, much like how FM-radio works.



    Because 50-60 hertz is totally going to transfer 200mb/s of data through two pins.
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