So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Belkin Powerline AV+ Starter Kit F5D4075
The Belkin Powerline AV+ networking kit lets you extend your home network over your electrical wiring
- Interchangeable wall plug and extension cord, three Ethernet ports on remote adapter
- No set-up utility
If you have more than one device that you would like to network, or if you want the convenience of desktop mounting, the Belkin Powerline AV+ may be your best option among powerline kits.
Price$ 269.95 (AUD)
HomePlug AV powerline kits tend to be similar in most respects, but the Belkin Powerline AV+ has two compelling features that set it apart from the rest, at little or no added cost.
First, no other HomePlug AV kit we've looked at has interchangeable wall and desk mounts. Like most powerline adaptors, the Belkin Powerline AV+ can remain happily plugged into a wall outlet. But the Belkin kit also includes a cord that permits you to park the adaptor on your desk, saving space in a crowded power outlet and making it easier to connect and disconnect devices.
Second, the Belkin Powerline AV+ includes multiple Ethernet ports in the remote adaptor — an extremely useful feature for home-theatre applications.
You can take advantage of the Belkin Powerline AV+'s three ports to keep your game console, DVR, and Slingbox (for example) connected simultaneously. The overall powerline throughput (about 60mbps in our tests) will get split up among those three ports, but you're unlikely to use more than one or two of them at once, and it can easily handle two high-definition streams.
Otherwise, the Belkin Powerline AV+ kit performs on a par with the other HomePlug AV kits we tested, producing glitch-free high-def video streaming and very good throughput.
The Belkin ships without a software utility, so you can't do things like change the quality of service prioritisation on your network. But it does include a colour-coded powerline LED that indicates whether your connection is bad, so you'll know whether you should choose a different outlet.
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