View Full Version : Powerline ethernet: Macintosh? Which brand of adapter?

2006-08-16, 17:55
I have been using two SB3s for some time, and have finally decided that wireless is just too frustrating--I can't stand the dropouts and stuttering about 40% of the time. It would be difficult and expensive to install a regular ethernet connection in my house, and, given that people on this forum seem generally satisfied with powerline ethernet, I have begun to explore powerline ethernet adapters, specifically those offered by Belkin, Netgear and Linksys.

One problems is that they all seem to require using an installation CD, but they only mention various Windows operating systems--no mention of the Macintosh. I have tried calling and sending e-mails to the manufacturers, but they don't bother to respond. So one question is whether these adapters will work on a Mac system.

The other issue is which brand of adapter to purchase? There seems to be a lot of dissatisfaction with Belkin on this forum, which leaves Netgear and Linksys. Any thoughts on those? Plus, I notice that Radio Shack sells powerline ethernet adapters. Are those any good?

Thank you very much for the advice.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-08-16, 18:15
I'm using the Netgear XE102 adapters. It says Windows only but you don't actually need any OS to use them. Just plug them in and they work.

There is a small Windows program that lets you view the powerline network and encrypt the signal (it's only 64-bit encryption, though.

I guess you could borrow a Windows laptop and just to do a 1-time encryption of the network.

I'm only familiar with the Netgear units.

2006-08-16, 18:27
Thank you for your response.

Are you satisfied with the performance and reliability of your Squeezebox with your Netgear powerline ethernet network?

2006-08-16, 20:23
In the ones I've seen, the windows program is only used to set up encryption.

Unless you're worried about your next door neighbour tapping into your network, encryption isn't worth the trouble.

The signals don't flow through the air, only through the powerline, and only as far as the next transformer, which is probably a half block away.

Unlike wireless, where any guy cruising by in a car with a laptop can hear you, only a very small number of neighbours can evesdrop on your powerline.

And you know where they live.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-08-16, 21:32
I'm very happy with the performance of the Netgear units. Zero problems in more than 2 years of use, and plenty of bandwidth for uncompressed audio.

2006-08-16, 22:20
The devolo dLAN units include support for Mac OS X.

See http://www.devolo.com/co_EN/produkte/dlan/index.html

2006-08-17, 00:48
The devolo dLAN units include support for Mac OS X.

See http://www.devolo.com/co_EN/produkte/dlan/index.html

I'm using the devolo products with a Mac. They were easy to install and I haven't had to do anything to them since then.

Both are actually plugged into 4 way extension leads rather than a plug on the wall and while I haven't measured bandwidth, I've had no problems streaming FLAC.

2006-08-17, 01:39

I have two Devolo ("dLAN Highspeed Ethernet") and one Netgear ("wall plugged ethernet switch xe104"). Both are "homeplug" devices and operate well together.

I do not have a mac (never! ;-) but once the adapters are set up, no software is required to run them. You could setup everything somewhere else and then use the plugs at home.

I reckon one _must_ setup the plugs to build a "group" (you could have several groups on the same power line).

Btw, here, the Netgear plug costs less than a devolo plug! I like the netgear much more because it has a built in ethernet switch (4 ports) and gets much less warm than the devolo (which gets rather hot).

The network operates at up to 85 mbit. I do not know if that is the usable bandwidth or if parts of it is used for the protocol.

Two Squeezeboxes and the Slimserver are connected over these power line adapters. No problem at all, just as if they were on the same switch.

Check the devolo homepage, they have a FAQ.



2006-08-17, 02:36
Both are actually plugged into 4 way extension leads rather than a plug on the wall and while I haven't measured bandwidth, I've had no problems streaming FLAC.

FWIW I have 4 devolo Highspeed adapters, set up in two groups. Both originate in adjoining wall sockets. One goes to my garage where the devolo Informer reports the connection rate as 85 Mbps. The other is on a shorter run and ends in a 4-way extension lead. With this one the reported connection speed is 64 Mbps. I haven't formally tested throughput and in any case it makes no real difference to functionality as I am using the 'slower' for streaming FLAC to a single SqueezeBox. It works perfectly.

2006-08-17, 06:33
I can make another recommendation for the netgear plugs. I'm delighted to be out of the world of wireless. Both my squeezeboxen are plugged into X102's and since I installed them have had no drop outs, no freezes, no reboots and they sync perfectly.

Speculatively - the X103 looks like a new release (with 6 times the bandwidth) which may mean the X102's will discontinue, meaning a price slide... The advertised 14Mbps is already over kill for FLAC files anyway!

No mac experience I'm afraid - but like the other posters have said, you only need the app for encryption.

2006-08-17, 20:13
Well, today I ordered from Amazon two of the Netgear XE104s that were reviewed so positively by Walt Mossberg in his column "Personal Technology" in today's Wall Street Journal. They arrive next week. I'm hoping that they resolve the frequent drops with wireless. I will report back after a few weeks of experience with the powerline alternative.