Gadgets

Wifi extension using Solwise power adaptors

I have a problem in my building of having many competing wifi networks, having tried upgrading my router and also scanning the networks to try and find the least used channels I decided that the only way to improve things was to try a wifi extender. My initial plan was to try a range extender but figuring that my problem was congested airspace I thought I might give powerline transmission a go instead since at least my electrical cabling ought to be mine alone.

I’ve been kind of aware of powerline transmission from former colleagues and the tech publications but I have to say that I don’t know how it works and it feels kind of magical right now. After looking at some recommendations on Amazon and BE forums I selected a package by Solwise and bought it direct from them but via Amazon Marketplace for convenience.

Setup wasn’t complicated but wasn’t exactly plug and play either. Contrary to what I had read it was perfectly possible to use the adaptors in gang plugs which was helpful in getting the pairing and initial connectivity to work. There is a helpful leaflet in the package that shows you how to pair the adaptors but I seemed to be struggling to get the individuals into pairing mode rather than resetting. In the end I think I put the extender into pairing mode first and then the adaptor that was going to connect to the router.

Once they were paired then getting access going was as simple as connecting a ethernet cable to the router. LEDs indicate whether the connection is being shared or not but I would recommend connecting to the default unprotected wifi network first to make sure everything is working.

Setting up the SSID and password was again a little more involved than I expected, there was another leaflet that explains the whole process and the easiest way to do the setup is by connecting a laptop directly via Ethernet cable. However at one stage I was modifying my laptop’s IP address to get it to connect to the in-built webserver which is fine for me but I wouldn’t want to be explaining that process over the phone on parent support.

With the setup up done then the whole thing works really well, the adaptors give a great signal and fast connections, transforming my previously flaky connections for the PS3 and AppleTV. The extending adaptor runs too hot for my liking but you can just choose to unplug it. A pretty cheap solution to my problem.

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