Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter - HotHardware

Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter

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Although the QuickStart Guide doesn't mention it, there is software that comes with the kit.   Most users won't use the software, but it's included on a CD that comes in the box.  The CD also contains Acrobat Reader and the full manual, in PDF form.

The only Actiontec software on the CD is the Actiontec Megaplug AV Configuration Utility.  This utility is used to change the encryption key that's used on the Megaplug network.  Of course, the kit comes pre-configured (or it wouldn't work out of the box), but if you want to change it to something more customized for your use, this is where you would do it.

Once you insert the CD, it will prompt the install the utility (compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista).  It takes almost no time to run and once installed, launches immediately.  You then see the configuration screen above.  It's very simple, as you can see.  You enter a new encryption key, and hit "Save Key".  You have to do this for both Adapters, which means you have to connect them both, one at a time, to the Ethernet port on a PC and then run the utility.  As we said, all of this is probably not necessary for many home users.  However, it's a nice feature, should you have more stringent security concerns and the encryption algorithm utilized is a robust 128-bit AES link-level implementation.

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So the automatic configuration process seems kinda cool -- is it something that is complicated if one were to use say 4 total adapters (one "uplink"  and 3 hosts)?

Also I do not quite understand how it stays local to your house....obviously the electricity comes from an outside source; would Billy Joe from 10 blocks down from my house be able to get an adapter and attempt to access my internet (if I didn't encrypt we'll say)?

Interesting read though..

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I don't think there would be any complications at all configuring more adapters on the line. They would all need to share the same key of course but they would just work. Think of this system as what it is; an "adapter" from power lines to Ethernet. Basically, any machine plugged into an adapter would get provisioned an IP as if it was plugged into a standard RJ45 jack going to your router.

And no, Billy Joe couldn't tap in because there is a finite range with these systems. It's longer than WiFi but your house is on it's own circuit and isolated from others houses as well. That way, if your house blows a fuse, your neighbor doesn't blow one as well, right? So, no, the standard AC circuit setup wouldn't allow cross-talk to other power circuits in a neighboring house. Billy Joe could probably rip out a mad Green Day song though, on his own power. ;)

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Thanks Davo....makes sense when ya explain it like that.

Last question, how vulnerable are these things to line noise etc...? For ex: Crappier circuits when say, you turn on a vaccuum, the other rooms tv becomes semi-scrambled yes? So if this was on an older/more stressed circuit would this cause a severe drop in your internet connectivity if you turn on a vaccuum or microwave or blender....?

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