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Hiddenwires' Product of the Month

Tales from the Sharp End: Love is in the Air (7/3/2012)
By The Urbane Installer

Continuing with the 'lets try it before we buy it' method, we recently got a couple of Power Ethernet plug socket things in. These are basically an Ethernet over powerline box, built into a double gang plug socket, but replacing one socket with a small 4 port switch.

Power Ethernet Socket frontThe Power Ethernet PE Socket.

Übergeek is a massive hater of this technology, with his head firmly in the 'It won't work, full stop!' camp. However, we had a specific problem in a client's house, a typical country farmhouse with 3m thick walls and no Ethernet cabling. These units seemed a perfect answer. They replace an existing plug socket, you patch them into the network and, in theory, they just start working.

Off Über toddled with these boxes in his hand, taking Muppet along for the ride too. Muppet? Sorry, let me introduce him: some say he’s a qualified shock treatment analyst and that his afro is a result of direct contact with live wires, but we know him as our tame electrician.

After twenty minutes on site and one patch cable made, it didn't work. Oh was he happy! He rang me immediately to gloat, so I told him to ring the manufacturer. Evidently these guys are seriously at the top of their game, and ran through how the devices can be tested and configured from the laptop. Fifteen minutes later the issue was discovered to be a rather noisy plug-in air freshener. They told us to plug it into the power socket on their unit since, as this is a filtered outlet, it shouldn't cause any issue. And guess what? It didn't, and almost instantly the Ethernet link came up.

The client has now got Ethernet - stable Ethernet at that, on both sides of his massive old thick-walled house. Interestingly, these boxes are much more than they look. The hub is a managed switch and the capabilities of these units far outstrip the plug-in devices we've come across that really don't work that well.

So anyway, because of some brilliant technical support that really backed up a rather good product, my product of this month has to be the Power Ethernet PE Socket.

This article originally appeared on the Hidden Wires web site at]