Western Digital’s Livewire kit has an unusual design that proves to be much more versatile than most conventional HomePlug devices. See all Wi-Fi and networking reviews.

This is because most HomePlug adaptors are fat plugs that are inserted directly into a mains power socket. However, the two Livewire adaptors each come with a separate, removable power cable for plugging it into the mains. That gives you a lot more freedom in terms of positioning the adaptor in a convenient location. Visit Devolo dLAN 200 AV Wireless N review.

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Even better is the fact that each adaptor has four separate Ethernet ports on it, allowing you to connect a total of seven devices to your network (with the eighth Ethernet port being used for your router, of course). You could have one in your living room and have a couple of computers, a games console and a set-top box all connected to your network with just a single Livewire kit. See also D-Link W307AV PowerLine Homeplug AV Wireless N Starter Kit review.

Setup is also simple, with a ‘sync’ button that allows the adaptors to automatically create a secure connection and a clear, helpful manual included on CD.

The Livewire nominally operates at 200Mbps and took 135 seconds to back up our 1GB test file. That’s 60.7Mbps - a little below average for 200Mbps kit - but still perfectly adequate for most people.

It’s a shame that Western Digital doesn’t yet make a 500Mbps version, and neither does it sell individual adaptors on their own, so the only way to extend your network to other rooms is to buy another complete kit containing two adaptors.

Western Digital Livewire: Specs

  • Standard: HomePlug AV
  • Speed: 200Mbps
  • Number of adaptors: 2
  • Number of Ethernet Ports: 4/4
  • Push Button Security: Y
  • Mains Pass-through: N
  • Wi-Fi extender: N
  • Dimensions (mm): 32x119x86mm
  • Standard: HomePlug AV
  • Speed: 200Mbps
  • Number of adaptors: 2
  • Number of Ethernet Ports: 4/4
  • Push Button Security: Y
  • Mains Pass-through: N
  • Wi-Fi extender: N
  • Dimensions (mm): 32x119x86mm

OUR VERDICT

The clever design and multiple Ethernet ports provided by the Livewire make it one of the most versatile options for setting up a small Powerline network at home or in an office. And, with a recent price cut to just £59.99, it’s good value too.

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