Why choose HomePlug

HomePlug or PowerLine is computer network technology, which uses special network adapter plug which implements a filter to transfer a network signal over your home’s existing electrical infrastructure. Although this technology has been available since 2001, it hasn’t garnered much main stream support, many home owners preferring either Wireless Networking or Ethernet for their computer networking infrastructure, but interest over the past few years has been steadily growing in HomePlug networks as an additional third way to provide networking through the home. Particularly to the harder to reach areas of the home.

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Wireless networking is a great and relatively hassle free way of networking your home, and particularly when many broadband providers provide this facility as standard feature of the routers they supply. In addition most of the broadband routers provide Ethernet, for those who are seeking for faster and stable network connectivity.

So many people would question why would they need this additional networking capacity? Well the answer is,, there are certain use cases where even Wireless and Cabling have limitations. For Instance, if you’re looking to extend your broadband access to your garden office, or building your Multi media “man cave” paradise in the loft, or you simply want an internet connection to the garage. You may experience some short comings from the other two options. i.e. Inconsistent signal strength or cabling issues.

These issues are usually due to the way broadband providers, traditionally phone company’s install broadband access, i.e. In the entrance hallway, or kitchen area, or some other convenient location you had asked for the Phone socket to be installed, which is probably not the most convenient place for you to install your new Smart TV, or a place to work on your new home based business, or a gaming location for your teenage offspring.

Wireless networking does have it’s limitations, in that it is not always possible to consistent signal throughout the house, especially in areas where there are a lot of internal walls and other signalling obstacles which limit can limit wave propogation, or something that is called the “Farraday effect”, which diffuses a wireless signal before it ever gets near a wireless device, resulting in poor wireless access.

Cable network, although much faster and more reliable than wireless networking, does have limitations too. Firstly, the maximum cable length is 328 ft ( 100m) for Ethernet, which point to point may be ample, but when it comes to trunking it around the house to the desired location soon runs out. You are also faced with having to lift carpets and rugs to and trunking cables through the house, or have some professional installer come along and chase walls etc. to insert Ethernet ports wherever you may need access. This can become costly possibly rather unsightly.

Solwise NET PL 500 AV

It’s when you face these situations that having a reliable third networking choice is a huge advantage. Powerline networking simply uses your home’s existing electrical wires as a transmission medium to connect your network devices. Which literally equates too, wherever you have a plug socket you can have a network access point. So all you need is a plug socket and a HomePlug network adapter. You’ll need a minimum of two HomePlug adapters, one which will be plugged in near and connected to your broadband router, and the other wherever you need your network access point.

PowerLine network adapters standards are based on the same standards as wireless networking adapters, IEEE 1901. The latest release of the standard is called HomePlug AV2, and it promises theoretical speeds of between 500Mbps or even topping out at Gigabit speeds. However, in practice one should only expect speeds averaging out at about 1/3 of the rated speed. Which to be honest is probably more than enough for most home networks. These speeds are more than ample enough to handle streaming HD movies, internet gaming and internet browsing all at the same time.

I have personally been using HomePlug adapters, most notably the ones from Solwise for about 5 years now, and I have not experienced any issues. My home is configured with all three network options, in that I have wireless access in the lounge and kitchen areas, Ethernet connection in the study and Powerline throughout the house. I even have Powerline extending WiFi access to the conservatory. I use powerline technology to get network access to my garden office, where I connect it up to wireless router to connect to my Netgear Wireless + VPN router to connect to my business network. I haven’t had any issues, and really don’t experience any sort of latency.

In short HomePlug networking is a very cost effective, reliable and adaptable way of extending your home network with a lot less hassle and virtually zero complications. If you can plug an electical plug into a socket, you can set up a HomePlug network, it is quite literally Plug & Play..

if you have any further queries regarding HomePlug networking, just get in touch contact with us via contact us or leave a comment in the space below or any of our social media contacts.

What is a HomePlug Network

Following on my my previous blog post , The Ultimate “Do – It -Yourself” networking technology,  where I discussed how simple it was to setup a HomePlug a.k.a Powerline Network.  I thought I would provide a little more in depth detail about what exactly is a  HomePlug network.

What is a Homeplug network ?

HomePlug networking technologies (sometimes referred to as Powerline networks or Ethernet over Powerline) is a technology that enables high-speed networking over domestic powerlines. It allows home owners to set up a home-network without the need of rewiring the whole house with Ethernet Cat5 cables.

homeplug-networkHomePlug is not really a new technology, in fact the first initial release of the HomePlug 1.0 standard was released in 2001 by the HomePlug Alliance. The first standard enabled  communication at 14Mbps at the physical layer. However, the standard has evolved and there have been subsequent releases, HomePlug AV (200Mbps) and  HomePlug AV2 (500Mbps).

HomePlug 500Mbps is the latest powerline networking technology designed specifically to meet the needs of heavy content and bandwidth digital multimedia networks in the home. This is more than enough to handle the most demanding HDTV, VOIP telephony, Gaming (XBOX & Playstation and High Speed internet. Connected to a household electrical socket, it instantly transforms the household electrical wiring into a fast network for high data throughput. It does all of this with optimal transmission and maximum data security.

The exceptional range of 200 meters gives you plenty of flexibility. Modems, routers, set-top boxes and PCs all of these devices can be connected to the HomePlug 500Mbps adapters using the existing Ethernet interface. In theory you can have as many as 128 devices on the one HomePlug network, but you have to remember that in practice you will experience latency the more devices you add.

If I take my home as an example of an average multimedia home, We have 4 laptops, 1 game console, 1 Desktop, 2 tablets , 1 Server and 2 TV’s connected to a 500Mbps and experience virtually nill latency issues, even when all devices are consuming some sort of internet related media

What are the advantages of HomePlug ?

Easy plug and play networking of various devices through the electrical wiring in your home. If you are able to insert a plug into a plug socket, you’ll be able to network your home. It is literally that easy! No mess no fuss.  The HomePlug AV2 standard provides a high quality of service and low latency capabilities which are well suited for use with Rich Internet applications.

HomePlug AV2 technology enables gigabit class speeds to every electrical outlet in the home, making it ideal for Internet video, multiroom IPTV, online gaming, HD audio and other high demand home networking uses, particularly when using multiple HD devices simultaneously.homeplug-advert

What are the key differentiating features in HomePlug AV2 ?

There are a number of characteristics that differentiate HomePlug AV2 and provide for its higher bandwidth and coverage capabilities.

Additional Frequency Spectrum

HomePlug AV2 makes use of additional frequency spectrum (30 to 86 MHz) which is beyond the frequency used for HomePlug AV, which significantly increases HomePlug AV2 throughput for applications such as multiple HD streams. The additional spectrum enables improved peak data rates and performance which is essential for achieving high performance over powerline.

Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) capabilities with Beamforming

MIMO offers improved coverage throughout the home. This provides the benefit of improved coverage for previously hard to reach outlets i.e. Garden Office, Conservatory or Garage.  MIMO enables HomePlug AV2 devices to transmit on any two wire pairs within three wire configurations. HomePlug AV always transmits on the Line-Neutral pair, HomePlug AV2 can transmit on any two pairs formed by the Line, Neutral or Ground Wires. This allows for significantly improved data rates and performance. MIMO uses two independent transmittes and up to four receivers, with Beam forming required to maximize performance on the independent streams.

Power Save Modes

Improved energy efficiency when the device is in standby. HomePlug AV2 enables “sleep mode” for various intervals that are multiples of the beacon period in order to reduce power consumption.

Summary : Increased performance, coverage and whole home integration

The explosion in demand for robust home networking is driving the need for standards based solutions that can deliver high speed throughput with sustained performance for multi stream video and the ability to connect anywhere throughout the home.  Thes solutions need to be easy to install and capable or coexisting with other devices in the whole home networking environment.

With the capability to deliver gigbit-class bandwith over existing powerline wiring, HomePlug AV2 is the solution for taking whole-home networking to the next level of multimedia capabilites, while simultaneously providing interoperability with existing networks.

If you would like to find out more about HomePlug AV2 or have any further questions regarding HomePlug in general feel free contact us or leave a comment in the space below and we’ll attempt to answer as quickly as possible.

The ultimate “Do-it-yourself” networking technology

If you’re anything like me, you are not known for your Do-It-Yourself” capabilities. In fact the only tools that have ever crossed my hands are of the software persuasion.  On the very rare occasions that I have ever attempted any sort of DIY, has ended up in a complete mess, and has often resulted in having the hire very expensive help in first sorting out the mess created, then secondly to get the job done right.

So when I announced to my wife that I was going to build a computer network in the house, that she was filled with in-trepidation.  So much so she insisted on ensuring our house insurance was completely covered for the year before I started.
smart-networking

It turns out she didn’t have to worry. In fact the whole job was over before she even knew it started. There was no swearing, no injuries and more crucially there was no sign of mess. All thanks to HomePlug.

HomePlug or as it also refered to “powerline” networking just may be the easiest and most convenient way to extend an existing home network, because they utilize your existing electrical wiring.

Using your existing electrical circuitry enables HomePlug networking products to expand a  home or small business network anywhere where there is an available electrical wall outlet. It will ensure that no room in the house/Office  is beyond the reach of the network. Homeplug will enable you to share your Internet connection with devices in the garage, kitchen, the den, the basement, the garden or even your Warehouse.

The greatest advantages of HomePlug network adapters is their pure ease,  simplicity & speed of installation. Before HomePlug networking, wiring up a house for Internet access involved the costly and complicated task of running of Ethernet cables behind the walls and under the floors to every room. With HomePlug networking, all that is needed to connect one room to another are two or more HomePlug adapters. Connect one of the adapters up to your broadband router or gateway, and you’ll have Internet access in the room where the other adapter is plugged in with no hassles.solwise-homeplug

HomePlug hubs provide users with additional Ethernet ports, increasing the flexibility of the network, while further network expansion can be achieved with HomePlug wireless network extenders. Wireless network extenders piggy-back on the HomePlug network and send out a wireless signal, allowing devices with wireless network access to join the home network.

HomePlug adapters approach speeds of up to 200 Mbps 500Mbps and now even 1GB, enabling more than enough bandwidth to transfer even the largest multimedia file without any appreciable lag time.

If you’ve dreamed of connecting your PlayStations or Xboxes together to create an instant gaming network, or have always wanted to use an older computer as an out-of-sight home server, but considered the obstacles too great to overcome, HomePlug networking is the solution for you. There’s no need to be a certified network administrator, no holes to punch in the walls, no cabling strewn all over the floor. Simply plug in and network; what could be simpler than that?

threenine.co.uk stock a wide range of homeplug networking adapters, and provide advice and consultancy services to enable you to make the right choice.  Check out our wide range of Homeplug & powerline adapters .

HomePlug powerline networking adaptors buying advice

A buyers guide to Homeplug adaptors

One of the biggest issues experienced by most independent professionals when setting up a “Work from home” office, is finding a room in the house where wireless signal is strong enough, and the seating arrangements comfortable enough to work.  One of biggest restrictions on using a room in the house could be the lack of WiFi signal. In some cases some freelancers may have to resort to some unsightly trip hazard CAT5 cabling strewn all over the house just to get a days work done.  However, there is another way Powerline technology. solwise-homeplug
Powerline technology allows you to create a computer network using the existing mains electrical wiring in your home or office. This enables you to extend the network to any room that has a spare power socket. This is especially useful for remote rooms where a Wifi signal might not be able to reach.

This a great option – not just for computers but also any internet enabled devices i.e. gaming consoles, Smart TV’s etc. that require a wired network connection but may be some distance away from your router or even in a different room.

How many adaptors do you need?

You need a minimum of two adapters to start a homeplug network, and most types of HomePlug networks will enable you to have up to 8 other adapters.

Compatibility betweeen standards

In order to ensure compatibility between products from different manufacturers, most products have adopted a standard networking protocol called HomePlug. In fact, the terms ‘powerline’ and ‘HomePlug’ are often used as though they’re interchangeable, but there are competing standards. HomePlug is the most popular, though.

Kits that support the HomePlug standard may run at different speeds – most of the kits reviewed here adopt the HomePlug AV standard which nominally operates at 200 megabits per second (Mbps), which is fine for web browsing and most streaming video.

net-pl-500av-4pe-3However, if multiple computers need to play high-speed online games and stream high-def video at the same time you might want to consider slightly more expensive kits that run at 500Mbps (also known as HomePlug AV2). There are also ‘gigabit’ kits starting to come out, which run at 1000Mbps, although these are still relatively rare and quite expensive.

You can mix and match Powerline adaptors running at different speeds and from different manufacturers – as long as they all support at least HomePlug AV. Naturally, faster adaptors can talk to slower ones only at the lower speed.

Beware of older kits still on sale that are based on an earlier standard called HomePlug 1.0. These run at a maximum speed of 85Mbps – which will probably still be adequate for many home users – but they’re not compatible with faster HomePlug AV products running at 200Mbps or more. They’ll co-exist on the same mains wiring, but cannot talk to each other. Most home users should probably stick with newer HomePlug AV products in order to keep things simple.

Features

As well as providing a simple plug-and-play network connection, there are other features that you might want to look out for too. Most Powerline adaptors only include a single Ethernet port, but you can buy adpators with three or four Ethernet ports, which makes them great for connecting multiple devices to one mains outlet.

If there are rooms in your home that can’t receive a good Wi-Fi signal, look for a kit with a ‘Wi-Fi extender’ option. You plug one of the adaptors into a mains socket in the room in order to create a wired connection to your main router, and then use the adaptor’s wireless features to set up a mini Wi-Fi network as well. Such adaptors also have one or more Ethernet ports.

Finally, some adaptors have a mains passthrough socket, which effectively gives you back the mains socket the adaptor would otherwise be occupying

Limitations

There are a few things to bear in mind if you want to get best performance from your powerline network.

  • The distance between sockets shouldn’t be a problem in most homes and office, but the age of the electrical wiring may affect performance in some older buildings.
  • You shouldn’t plug a powerline adaptor into a multi-way extension either – they really need to be plugged directly into a mains socket in your wall. You can try your adaptors in a multi-way extension but don’t be surprised if they can’t connect to each other or have much reduced transfer speeds.
  • Talking of transfer speeds, you may also find that some electrical devices, such as mobile phone chargers, can cause interference if they’re plugged in somewhere in your home on the same ring main.
  • You can enable encryption in adaptors, but they will only talk to other adaptors on the same mains network (usually wiring that’s attached to one electricity meter). This means your neighbours in a block of flats, for example, won’t be able to access your network if they install some adaptors too.

For the most part, though, powerline networking really is enormously straightforward. It’s simpler than setting up an Ethernet network, and can reach further than a Wi-Fi network. That makes it ideal for both home and business users who want to connect multiple rooms to their network with the minimum of fuss.

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FIX : Skype for Ubuntu crashes

If you’re experiencing issues with Skype while using Ubuntu here is a quick fix.
1. It is best to remove your previous installation.

2. Do an overall update of Ubuntu


3.  Update libsound plugins

4. Download the latest version of Skype 

Start Skype and it should work fine

 

If you are experiencing issues where Skype doesn’t run when you click on it, there may be an instance of skype running in the background run the following command to kill all Skype processes.

Adding arguments “-s 9″ the killall command changes the signal type to SIGKILL instead of SIGTERM.  Skype does not do anything about the SIGTERM signal, and that is why the process stays alive.

Hopefully this post will help you resolve any issues you have with running skype on ubuntu. If you’re still experiencing problems feel free to contact us we’ll try to help.

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Setting up Thunderbird with Microsoft Office 365

When opening Thunderbird for the first time a start up page will provide download-pdf.pngyou with options to Create a new account. Select Email.

thunderbird-startup

Then select Skip this and use my existing email

thunderbird-startup-1

Enter your account details as requested and select Continue

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Select IMAP and then Manual config

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For Server hostname enter m.outlook.com for both incoming and outgoing servers.

For Username enter your Full Email address

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Select Done

It takes a little while but you should see your emails start to load in the inbox.

If this information helped you, and more importantly if it didn’t help you please let us know if the comment field below, and we’ll do our best to respond as quickly as possible.

5 tips for effective work from home

Many freelancers, independent professionals and over the last decade or so more and more corporate employees are choosing to work from home.  Many make the choice for practical reasons, such as way of reducing overheads,  reducing commuting time,  flexible hours and some purely because they have no other choice.

There are a number of benefits individuals can reap from working from home. However, the biggest challenges of working from home is being productive and effective at all times, by reducing distractions and staying motivated.

1.  Get right the stuff
cluttered-deskThis tip itself deserve an entire series of blog posts,  which in itself highlights that it’s importance cannot be underestimated. It is therefore safe to assume that we’re not just saying buy a beefy laptop and the world is your oyster.  No the requirements for a decent kit overhaul go much deeper than that!.

The important thing to remember is that working on the dining room table is fine if you’re only  doing the occasional day here and there, but if you’re going to be working from home for any extended period of time, it can get rather painful and your motivation gradually starts sapping away and not to mention you start losing stuff!

Packing up and unpacking before starting and finishing work, is a sure fire why to lose the odd “document”, that essential reminder  and lose some valuable working time.  It’s essential to create yourself a dedicated working zone.  A space where you and the rest of the world know that you’re at work, and that space should be comfortable enough for you to spend extended periods of time in flow.

2. Time Management

Time-managementOne of the major issues experienced by homeworkers,  is trying to  separate work from home!  Especially if you’re like me and you’ve turned your hobby into career, and you actually enjoy what you do for a living,  and your business is much more than just a business it’s your passion.  You may be tempted to think that putting extra hours, because you’re at home anyway is going to be of benefit.  Think again, often it will be the case that putting extra hours will have an adverse effect on your performance. You’ll just end up spending more time on less productive tasks,  just because you have more time!

What you really need to do is keep track of what you’re doing, how much time you spent on a task and most importantly find a way measuring the returns of the task. Essentially this comes down to effective time management, and there have been volumes written about this aspect of working life in general, it more so vitally important for the home worker.  Especially if you’re working from home building a business!

3.  Set SMART objectives

smartThe only problem with working under your own steam, is that you can quite easily become distracted and put off tasks you don’t like till later, or worse yet become disheartened by the fact that you’re not achieving anything because your objectives were too audacious!

It’s often difficult to determine which tasks take priority, however it is easier to determine which tasks deliver the most value.  You can only determine the value of task by being able to have some way of measuring it.

There is no point setting an objective of generating a million pounds worth of new business if you hate cold calling!   However, if you set aside just 20 minutes a day, to doing some cold calling, with clear start and end objectives. For instance I choose to get my cold calls in early everyday,  between  10:00 to  10:25 taking a break at 10:30 for morning coffee and a snack. It’s my little reward for doing a job I hate, but has also been quite successful in generating new business over the years.

 

4.  Find Some Colleagues
frustrationOne of the greatest perks or working from home, is that you don’t get disturbed or distracted by colleagues easily. However, also one of the biggest drawbacks is that you often don’t have colleagues to bounce ideas off, or to ask for help.  You’re often left to your own devices to find solutions to your problems, usually these problems may be something that is completely out of your skill set or knowledge base. . It’s essential to create a support network around you, get a list of contacts on your instant messaging client, of professionals you can call for help. For instance I have my skype , Jabber, Lync, gmail talk, twitter, linkedin,  facebook  clients all set up with all my contacts, that I can call for a variety of issues, often on a favour basis.
5. Be clear with friends and family
Family in living room with laptop smilingYou need to establish some ground rules for both family and friends in order to define, that although you’re at home during the day, you are not at home!  You also need to make time for your family away from your computer.  With work being so easy to access, and there literally no barriers to stop you to just “quickly do some work”  or the compulsion to implement your latest brainwave can have detrimental on your  relationships.    You need to establish barriers between work and home, that all parties concerned need to respect.

What is BYOD ?

As the modern workplace evolves it is becoming increasingly common for employees to want to want to use their own devices to not only assist them to do work but also to access and manipulate corporate data and the networks it resides on. This growing trend has been dubbed Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).  As ever, the IT community are never happy with just one acronym, so several other similar terms such as Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) and Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC), Choose Your Own Device (CYOD).

The basic premise behind these initiatives is to encourage employees to work on the device they choose – accessing corporate email on their iPhone 5s or using a Google Nexus 7 to view text documents. The benefits to the both small and medium side business is, reduced costs on the purchasing and maintenance of hardware. However, if not managed correctly BYOD can have adverse effects on a company’s Information Security, and could have potentially devastating effects.

What drives BYOD?

Over the past decade we have seen a seismic shift in working practices across the globe, In the past company’s would try to manage their entire operations and try to operate from a centralized location. However, with practices such as outsourcing non-core services and remote working becoming more common, coupled with the fact that freelancing is becoming a more viable carreer prospect for many, places a lot of strain on a companies resources and infrastructure to supply the flexibilty and scalability to provide efficient collaboration platforms.  These days it is highly likely that staff may never actually visit a central office, and may also be dispersed not only nationally but internationally too.

An organizations new breed of “employees” are driven by the own need for IT Self efficiency who already own and use personal laptops, tablets and smartphones, and have a preference for alternative operating systems such iOs, Ubuntu, Blackberry, Android and Windows.

The compulsion for staff to make use of new lightweight  mobile devices,  such as Ultra-books, Tablets and large screen smartphones, is often driven by the fact that these devices are often more advanced than the “standardized” IT department issued kit. Which in most cases is aimed at the baseline average user of an organization, and not actually what their job dictates.  The choice of platform is often dictated to by what resources the organization has to support it or what is the easiest resource to obtain on the market at the right rate .i.e. Windows Administrators.

Many organizations base what the chief operating system to use, not on what would be best for each individual project or department, but mostly on what is the best average, and probably also what is the best deal they can get.  The differing requirements of each individual staff member or project is not necessarily the most important factor.

At best most IT strategies are out of date, when they are developed, let alone what is going to be best for the organization 18 – 60 months in the future.  Technology is a movable yardstick, let alone different types of technology will appeal to different types of users.

Another key factor, is each user may have differing perspectives on which technology assists them in being the most productive and efficient as possible. Along with which platform they feel most confident with.

Impact of BYOD

In many organizations BYOD, is having an impact regardless of whether they have actively planned for it or not.  It has become increasingly common for IT departments to facilitate connections to their infrastructure for a myriad of new devices.  It is becoming an increasingly futile exercise to attempt to halt the progress of BYOD within the workplace, it is a far better strategy to try and mitigate the risks and understand and realize the benefits.

In our upcoming series of posts we will be addressing the Advantages and Disadvantages of BYOD. Our aim is to provide you with as much information as possible in order for you to make an informed decision.

If you have any further questions regarding BYOD, you can either ask a question in the comment section below or contact us using our contact form or if you would prefer an immediate response why not call us on 0843 289 4539