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Devolo dLAN Wireless Extender

Spread wireless goodness with powerline

The Extender is itself an 85Mb/s unit, so that puts it a step above Netgear's aging WGXB102 set, which only runs at 14Mbps and as we found when we tested it for our Wi-Fi special report earlier in 2007, that's just not enough for busy networking - downloading a file on one machine while streaming music on another, for example.

Devolo Wireless Extender

Full WPA/WPA 2 security in access point mode...

Unlike Netgear, Devolo supplies its products not only with Windows software but also with code for Linux and Mac OS X, so the company scores extra points for that. That said, we had problems getting the Mac configuration software to recognise the Extender, even when the Devolo hardware was directly connected to the computer's Ethernet port. Devolo admitted there are issues with the Mac software, but as yet there's no sign of an update. The Mac version of Devolo's regular dLAN Setup Assistant software was able to see the Extender without difficultly, so setting up new passwords to encrypt the data travelling between powerline units was no trouble at all.

We tried the Windows version of the WLAN set-up software next and had no trouble accessing the Extender's settings. While the box has a web-based control interface, the unit's IP address can change, so the set-up app's pretty much de rigueur if you want to alter the settings later. Simply keying in the unit's apparent IP address into a browser isn't certain to work.

Devolo dLAN Wireless Extender

...but only WEP in client mode

To try the Extender out, we connected the starter kit's 85Mb/s powerline adaptor to our router upstairs and plugged the Extender in two floors down. Out of the box, the WE is set to host its own WLAN, and we connected an iPhoe to that with no problem. Connecting with an Ethernet cable plugged into the WE's LAN port was just as good - better, in fact, because of the higher speed of the link.

Next page: Verdict

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