No WiFi or Ethernet? No Problem! Networking Alternatives Revealed

June 29th, 2011

Spend time researching IOGEAR and you'll quickly learn we are pushing the envelope when it comes to implementing wireless PC to TV streaming and WiFi network adapters as a means of accessing and sharing content. But despite our love for the elimination of cable clutter, sometimes getting a device to connect via WiFi just isn't an option. Maybe it's your apartment building with thick brick walls or a country estate where the fifth bathroom can't get a signal. Whatever the reason, it's worth considering affordable options like a Universal WiFi N Adapter (GWU627) that give Ethernet enabled devices hope for accessing a home's WiFi network with data rates up to 150Mbps and a range of 320 feet. If WiFi adapters aren't in the digital mix, or WiFi is not an option at all, other networking options need consideration, and for that we turn to Arstechnica.com and an article appropriately titled, When WiFi doesn't work: a guide to home networking alternatives. Describing the marketplace for networking options, writer Glen Fleishman comments: "There used to be four alternatives to WiFi, which have gradually faded and specialized as wireless issues were solved. HomePNA (once just phone wiring), MoCA (multimedia over coaxial cable), and powerline (electrical) networking were in contention as supplements or backbones for a home. The fourth, of course, is Ethernet." Ethernet is the usually the clear choice, but running Cat5e cables to a third floor bathroom isn't always a structurally feasible or cost-effective solution. Describing the other options, Arstechnica offers:
"All three of the other approaches rely on existing in-home wiring to bypass WiFi's relative slowness and Ethernet's expense in installation. HomePNA looked originally to the phone wires that used to be installed in every room in a house, and in newer homes may be less available. MoCA works via coax, the wire type used for terrestrial cable television, and many homes were and still are wired for this flavor, too. (Some offices have coax installed as well.) Powerline networking has the most ubiquitous potential footprint, in that every electrical outlet in the same panel is a potential network drop."
The article goes on to focus on powerline as the most realistic, non-WiFi option, offering advantages and flaws, but clearly choosing a home's powerlines over the limited MoCA and HomePNA protocols. Ethernet will always be standard, but we'll be watching how other network solutions evolve and adjusting our R&D accordingly. Have you had experience with any of non-ethernet network solutions? If so, how has the experience been and would you recommend to others? Let us know in the comments or via Facebook or Twitter.



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IOGEAR enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic getaways. While not traveling, IOGEAR enjoys a great game of shuffle board whilst playing the banjo.