Powerline networking is a clever technology that hasn't really taken off against Wi-Fi equipment, but Linksys hopes to put a charge in it with its new line of Linksys by Cisco Powerline products.
For the uninitiated, powerline technology uses electrical outlets rather than wireless radios to transmit data. The obvious advantage to that approach is that signal interference isn't a problem as it is with Wi-Fi networks. Still, powerline equipment hasn't gained much traction, at least initially because the throughput couldn't compare to that delivered by wireless networks. That problem has been solved with the HomePlug Turbo standard, which provides for throughputs of up to 85Mbpsfaster than 802.11g though still well below the Draft N spec's maximum speeds. There's also the Powerline AV standard, which is designed to optimize bandwidth for high-definition video transmission; Powerline AV devices could be useful as an alternative to drilling a hole in your wall for an Ethernet port near your home theater setup.
Linksys' new HomePlug Turbo gear includes the $69.99 PLTE300 Ethernet bridge, the $89.99 PLTS300 four-port Ethernet bridge $89.99, and a $149.99 PLTK300 kit that bundles the two bridges. The company has a similar Powerline AV lineup, with the $89.99 PLE300 Ethernet bridge, the $99.99 PLS300 four-port Ethernet bridge, and the $179.99 PLK300 kit. All will be available in November.
Do you have a powerline network? Would you ever consider using the technology? Let us know in the Talkback section.