Solwise PL-85PEW HomePlug Wireless G Ethernet Adaptor

The PL-85PEW is a companion to the HomePlug Ethernet Turbo. Like the PL-85PE, the HomePlug Wireless is an 85Mbps network adaptor with Ethernet connectibility. It even uses the same technology from InTellon to achieve this. However, this product also has built-in 801.11g wireless capability, enabling you to connect devices to the network via AirPort. In a typical scenario you might have an Ethernet HomePlug connected to a router or modem with the HomePlug Wireless adaptor in another part of the house, serving several compatible devices.

Despite the shared technology, the HomePlug Wireless is significantly different in appearance to its sibling. A larger, plastic, snap-together casing makes the unit feel a bit flimsy, and a screw-on wireless antenna protrudes from it, making it a lot less unobtrusive than the plug-styled PL-85PE. External LEDs let you know when the unit is powered on and connected to wireless or Ethernet networks.

Trivial reservations aside, the HomePlug Wireless works well. AirPort detected the unit shortly after it was turned on and connected to it quickly and effortlessly. There’s no wireless security enabled by default though, and that has to be configured through a browser-based interface if you want to lock down your wireless network. There’s a default IP address encoded in the unit, but this may not be available to it, which means digging through your preferences to retrieve the address.

An issue that the HomePlug Wireless shares with its Ethernet-only partner is that although both units are password protected, and the password is printed on a label attached to the devices, you can’t currently change the password on a Mac – both devices ship with a Windows-based utility to do that, but no Mac equivalent. It’s not a huge problem, though, as the utility isn’t essential to the correct operation of the devices.

OUR VERDICT

The HomePlug Wireless would be useful in any number of situations. As it uses the 801.11g protocol it should be compatible with all AirPort Extreme-enabled devices. This makes it ideal for streaming music over a network or as a simple wireless repeater to extend the range of your network over a wider space.

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