August 2013

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We recently moved into a new house. I hooked up the cable modem and Airport Extreme router, which, in our previous houses, had been an adequate system in terms of being able to provide a decent wireless signal, and connect a few AppleTVs (on the wireless network), which streamed movies without inordinately frustrating load/buffer time.

Our new house is bigger and has some some brick walls. This led to shoddy service in various rooms, and made streaming movies via AppleTV impossible (“Your movie will be ready to watch in 14 hours”).

I scattered an array of Airport Expresses around the house in order to extend the network. This helped a bit, but not a lot.

I had heard about powerline network adapters, but had never used them. In short, you connect an ethernet chord from your modem into a connector on a box that you plug into a wall outlet. Doing so shoots internet signal through your electrical circuits. You then plug a second powerline network adapter into another outlet (in a room that doesn’t have good wireless), and – via ethernet – plug in whatever device you want to provide internet (an AppleTV, for instance) or another wireless router…or both.

I did just this.

The cable modem is upstairs on one side of the house. I plugged an ethernet chord from it into the Linksys Powerline Network Adapter, plugged it in the wall socket, and then plugged a second powerline adapter into a downstairs room on the other end of the house. This adapter has four ethernet ports on it. I plugged one into an AppleTV, one into an AirportExtreme router, and one into a Sonos Bridge.

The AppleTV now streams instantly; no buffer/load at all. I created an entirely new wireless network from the AirportExtreme, and now there are no dead zones. The Sonos works flawlessly (but they always work flawlessly).

This approach is absolutely the way to go for fast connectivity in challenging environments. It’s vastly superior to extending a network via a bunch of Apple Airport Expresses.

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