You’ve always heard that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. What should people who live in metal houses not throw? Magnets maybe? Or wireless Internet signals? I live in a house that’s got a lot of metal in it – the frame, the roof, the furniture in my office and the spare suit of armor in my closet. I’ve also got a pretty fast Internet in the home office, although government-grade, fiber-optic, warp factor 9 speed still isn’t fast enough for Vickie. She likes instantaneous (or faster) downloads that end before they begin. Having grown up in the days of 26k bps modems, I’m happy just getting (and staying) connected. In the home office we’re both happy because we sit within a sight-line of the speedometer on our router and can tell how fast we’re cruising on the information superhighway. It’s the one time Vickie doesn’t tell me to slow down.
I was sitting pretty, and like many Certified Legal Nurse Consultants in the audience, had no problems until I tried to add a wireless connection. You and I both know that something every guy dreams of is sitting by the pool or backyard barbeque surfing the Web for grilling times, looking for a new remote-controlled submarine on Amazon or just trying to learn to balance my pH (remember there’s no “P” in “ool” and I like to keep it that way).
I started this endeavor back before the arguments over which 802.11n standard was the best so my only choice was to go with an 802.11a/g wireless access point (WAP) that coincidently matched our computers’ wireless cards and also threw a signal just into the hallway outside the home office. After aborted attempts at moving the wireless access point up, down, sideways and even hanging it out the window, I ended up putting it at the highest point I could find – atop a large metal piece of furniture.
Well, my CLNC® amigos, you can imagine how that’s working for me. It throws the signal into the guest bedroom (25 ft) but not downstairs to the kitchen, not to the pool and definitely not to our bedroom (I think Vickie lined the walls with tin foil to keep the signal out of there). So, if I want to write my legal nurse consulting tech tips from the cozy comfort of my man-cave (garage) or while tanning out by the pool, I need to call on a higher technical power, a friend who eats, sleeps and breathes tech.
His recommendation is one I had recommended in my Tech Talks at the NACLNC® Annual Conferences – but for other reasons. I’ve always added up 2+2 and gotten nothing other than 4. He added 2+2 and got 5 and showed me the sum of the parts is greater than the whole! Here’s his solution and it’s elegant in its simplicity:
- Keep my home office wired network intact.
- Keep my wimpy 802.11a/g wireless home network intact (until I’m ready to buy new wireless cards and upgrade to 801.11n).
- Here’s the genius part – buy a PowerLine network adapter kit and plug the first one into the wall (directly into the wall – not into a powerstrip) anywhere near my current wired router.
- Then jump an Ethernet cable from my existing hub or wired router into the PowerLine adapter. Next go anywhere else in the house (even outside by the pool) that I want fast Internet, and
- Plug the other (they come in pairs) PowerLine adapter into the wall and jack my computer into it with an Ethernet cable, or I could extend my wireless network with another WAP!
Think about the ease of setting up a network without rewiring the house. You can have fast Internet in any room or rooms in your house (kid’s room, legal nurse consulting office, kitchen, guest room and even the man-cave) simply by moving the second adapter around or by purchasing multiple adapters.
This is a simple, elegant and ugly (due to the black PowerLine wall warts) solution for extending a network. You can even add security to this network just in case you’re in a building (like a condo or apartment) that may share electrical systems with your freeloading, music-downloading neighbors.
Just for fun or maybe for your kids, if you have a home media center, you can add a multiple-port adapter down by your flat screen TV or media console and wire in a gaming console, TiVo or media server. My Internet reading tells me there may be some issues with different household wiring/breaker set-ups (my techie friend pooh-poohs this) but PowerLine networking is definitely worth a try.
Now you can keep on techin’ from the backyard or any room in the house (except the bedroom)! So, like I tell my best friend’s dogs, “Gopher it!”