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Powerline: last refuge of the inept networker

I've seen the future, and it's shaped like a big fat silver plug.

Anyone who has ever dabbled with wireless internet will recognise my pain. Four hours of a precious free Saturday afternoon spent in a fiesta of cat-kicking, 'inventive' wordplay and truly indiscriminate recrimination. ('But how can it be my mother's fault?')

The modem worked, the router worked and my wireless internet connection… well, let's just say it was only marginally happier than me.

Either tangled up with one of the two other networks in our 1970s high-rise (how the world has changed), claiming to have somehow encrypted itself, or simply finding my laptop's ports too flaky for its particular, high-class brand of web connection. Solve one problem and another arrives, or spend a couple of hours enduring an expensive conversation with your ISP, equipment manufacturer or both - you decide.

So, at the behest of a (now-sainted) colleague I slapped a couple of Powerline ethernet bridges in, and immediately asked myself why I hadn't tried this first. Instant portable internet anywhere in the house where there's a plug socket - with enough bandwidth to stream telly, no less.

Obviously you have to put up with bulbous, silver, flashing kit in your plug sockets, and Mrs Matt isn't ecstatic that we still have the odd wire about the place, but it's difficult to complain when your leccy wires are functioning as a ready-made network. (And the idea of surfing in the garden has never really been that tempting on the seventh floor in east London, balcony notwithstanding).

No. The only genuine downside is that networking with Powerline is so very easy, it almost feels like cheating. I think I'll hand sand one of the doors tonight, make me feel like a proper man…

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