A powerline Ethernet bridge is a computer hardware product that allows computers to be networked by using the existing power wires inside a building. Though not a hugely popular technology, it is helpful in cases where wireless networking is impossible, due to a long distance, interference by a chimney, built-in appliances or the layout of the building, and where drilling a wire or installing a network isn't a good idea. An Ethernet bridge is usually priced between £38 and £129 for a pair of devices and two Ethernet RJ-45 cables.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Linksys Router
- Ethernet bridge hardware (set of 2)
- 2 Ethernet RJ-45 cables
Confirm that your network is fully functional, and that all computers connected to the Linksys router (both wired and wireless clients) are able to successfully connect to the Internet. In most cases, your Linksys router is situated near your DSL or cable modem, so make sure there is a free power outlet available. With an Ethernet bridge, it's best to plug the hardware directly into the wall and not into a power strip or surge protector.
Plug one of the Ethernet bridge components into a power outlet close to the your router, making sure it's out of the way and not obscuring the other outlet or anything else. Plug one end of an Ethernet RJ-45 cable into the port on the bridge and the other end into one of the numbered ports on the Linksys and not the "WAN" port.
Plug the second bridge into a free power outlet near the computer that is to be networked. Using the second Ethernet RJ-45 cable, plug one end into the jack on the bridge and the other into the network jack on your computer.
Open the network settings on your computer. For Windows users, click on "Start" and select "Control Panels." Open "Network and Internet" or "Network Connections" (depending on your version of Windows) and right-click on the "Local Area Connection" icon to confirm you're connected. Mac users should select "System Preferences" from under the apple on the upper left area of the screen, and then click on "Network." Confirm that "Ethernet" indicates that it is "Connected" and that there is a green dot to the left of it.
Launch a browser to check that you're able to connect to the Internet and confirm that you're able to access any other network resources (other computers, servers, printers).
Troubleshoot your network by checking all of the hardware components and confirming that all wires are properly seated. Each hardware item indicates a successful connection with a green light; reboot any items (including computers) that are having trouble seeing the network.
Tips and warnings
- You can use a longer Ethernet cable if the one supplied isn't long enough.
- Too many Ethernet bridges on one network can slow down network traffic.
- Ethernet bridges (and what they're connected to) are not immune to potentially damaging power surges.
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