Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter - HotHardware

Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter

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The Actiontec MegaPlug AV comes with everything you need, more or less.  There are two wall adapters, two six-foot Ethernet cables, a quick start guide, a "How To Change The Encryption Key" guide, and a configuration CD.  The quick start guide is typically short, and for somewhat tech-savvy (but not advanced) users it would amount to no more than common sense.   As we described earlier, plug in an Ethernet cable to one wall adapter, plug the cable into the router and find an open socket.  Then repeat the process with the second wall adapter (except, of course, that you plug the Ethernet cable into the adapter on the PC) and the units will then auto-configure from there.

 

         
Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200



In most cases, that's it.  Once you do this you will see your PC acquiring an address from the router in the system tray of your operating system.  Of course, there are caveats.  As you can see from the picture the wall plug fits pretty tightly against anything in the upper socket.  In fact, it was rubbing against a neighboring cord, despite the fact that the orientation of the plug in the upper socket was horizontal.

Unfortunately, as with most devices that use your powerlines for anything, you can't use a powerstrip or surge protector so you are constrained to finding not just an open socket, but an open socket near your router.  In many houses, that is not that easy to do, as often there are quite a few other devices plugged into nearby sockets, including the router.  We did discover, however, that if you use a plain extension cord, without surge protection of any type, that the setup will work.

You'll note 3 LEDs on the adapter above.  One is for power, a second indicates Ethernet activity, and the third is "Link" which, when lit means, since the adapters are paired, that there is a second adapter "linked" to this one.

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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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