So, I had this problem. My wife loves to watch movies on the TV. Recently we were fortunate enough to come into a big screen, flat panel TV that has taken her movie watching into a whole new dimension of entertainment. I am a member of NetFlix, but since my taste in movies tends to run to anything where people land on Mars or where things blow up, and her taste runs to Jane Austen, my choices from NetFlix were inevitably wrong.
One day I saw that the Wii console we bought for our grandsons to use could also be used to get movies on demand from NetFlix if I just got a special DVD from them to put into the Wii. The only catch was that the Wii had to have Internet access.
I wasn’t too concerned as I have two wireless networks in my house. One, on my over 15 year old PacBell DSL line (I still have a static IP address!), and the other on our Comcast cable system. I just “knew” that one of those networks could reach the family room from our home office. Wrong! The Wii could “see” both of them, but neither signal was strong enough to allow it to connect.
So, I went in search of ways to get a strong and reliable wireless signal into the family room. Although I could have crawled under the house and strung a network cable, I am way too lazy for that. Then I remembered reading about something called HomePlug™ networking. This is a networking standard that uses the wiring in your house to move the Internet connection around.
Click on the picture or go to http://budurl.com/WGXB102 to go to the page on Amazon that will show you the product that I bought. Be sure to click on the “Watch” button under the picture to watch a short Flash video that explains how it works. It won’t take long and it explains the process better than I can.
So, I bought the kit and shortly there after, I have a strong wireless signal in the family room that the Wii can connect to, AND that I can also use with any of my WiFi devices like the iPhone, Netbook, Laptop and my grandson’s Nintendo DSi XL game systems.
You don’t have to use this with a Wii. It could be very useful if you wanted to have a strong WiFi signal anywhere in your house. Just plug the second unit in anywhere you want. The first unit stays near the Router in your house. (Watch the video for details).
Once you have this set up, it’s truly plug it in and forget it. If you have a power failure, the network comes back up right after power is restored. It consumes very little power and comes in a variety of configurations. For instance, you can get models that have ethernet plugs at both ends if you didn’t want wireless. And some models are “green” in that they stop consuming power if there is no activity after a certain period of time.
From where I sit, this is an elegant solution to the issue of how to have the Internet available wherever I happen to want to use it. What do you think?