Enjoy no-fuss networking over your home’s electrical wiring
Adapters that use a home’s mains electricity wiring to make a computer network have been around for several years, but until recently one mains-plug adapter has been required for each device you want to connect.
D-Link’s DHP-343/B is one of the first models to allow several devices to be plugged into a single adapter, making it an ideal way to hook up a collection of awkwardly-located peripherals.
The DHP-343 uses the Universal Powerline Alliance (UPA) standard. This is a rival to - and incompatible with - that of the Homeplug Powerline Alliance, so if you already have a power-line network check which standard it uses before you buy this kit.
Everything required to get started is in the box. There is a white single-port adapter with a built-in mains plug, and a small white box called a switch, with four network sockets and a separate mains cable.
Plug the single adapter into the mains (extension leads can cause interference so wall sockets give the best results) and connect one of the supplied network cables to your router. Then plug the switch into a socket near the equipment you want to connect, plug in the network cables and that’s it - there are no settings to fiddle with.
Green lights on the adapters let you know that the connection is working. There is a light on the switch for each of the four ports plus three status lights.
One of these changes colour to amber or red if the connection speed drops. This can be caused by electrical interference or poor-quality mains wiring. When not in use, the adapters automatically go into a power-saving mode.
No software is needed, but it does come with an easy-to-use program to change the security settings (this can be done with a button on each adapter, but it’s easier using the software).
The DHP-343 worked well in our tests, and although it’s a lot more expensive than a network cable, it means you don’t have to disrupt your home to get cables to inaccessible places. It’s also a great alternative if wireless networks don’t work well in your home.
Read more reviews
An excellent alternative to standard networks and a kit that works well Good points Simple to install; good-looking; easy-to-use the software Bad points Power cable is too short; status lights can’t be switched off
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