There's another way to expand your home network and cover more parts of the house without adding more wireless access points or having meters of cabling installed. Powerline adapters use existing copper power cables already in the walls to create links between sockets. An adapter in an outlet in the living room could pass through signals to another located in another room.
This allows for the expansion of the home network, allowing you to connect more devices, without having to do any drilling or make expensive Wi-Fi purchases. I've rounded up a few highly rated powerline adapters that can really make a difference if you're struggling to connect wirelessly or wish to ditch your desktop PC Wi-Fi adapters for ethernet.
Why you can trust Windows Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
This AV1200 powerline adapter from TP-Link allows for not only the creation of a network connection between two sockets in the home, using existing electrical cabling, but also sports passthrough for the outlets themselves. When using more affordable units, they usually don't come rocking passthrough, meaning you sacrifice two outlets in the home, but with the AV1200 you can plug in electrical equipment as well as networking cables to use the same connection.
For just shy of $95, you can pick up a pair of powerline adapters. The units will provide up to 1,000 Mbps over existing electrical cabling, which is ideal for HD video streaming and online gaming. There are three Gigabit ports that allow for swapping out Wi-Fi for Ethernet on a desktop PC. They also come rocking a two-year warranty.
Netgear Powerline 1200
Netgear also offers a 1,200 Mbps adapter, which can use your existing electrical wiring to extend internet access throughout the home. The passthrough model is one we'd recommend unless you're okay with sacrificing a socket and don't require it for other electrical devices. Still, with Gigabit speeds, it's going to be able to power HD streaming and online gaming, just like other models at this level of performance.
Where the Powerline 1200 differs from competitor options is the price, which will set you back around $80. It's a seriously good offer for what is essentially a reliable way to expand your home network. The non-passthrough version was reviewed favorably by CNET:
Netgear also offers a wireless version, which does exactly the same as the wired adapter, but allows for an access point to be created on one end. You do lose the passthrough feature, however.
The TP-Link AV600 is one of the more budget-friendly powerline adapters out there. It doesn't support passthrough for plugging in other electrical devices, nor does it offer super-fast network speeds. Locked at up to 600 Mbps, these adapters are ideal if you're not streaming 4K content around the home, and for just $40, you will be able to enjoy the same two-year warranty that more pricey TP-Link adapters come with.
Other handy features of the AV600 include 128-bit AES encryption, easy pair button, and a single Ethernet connector at the bottom. These adapters are perfect if you only have a single device — like an office PC or gaming rig — that's currently on Wi-Fi and you'd like to try out a wired connection without having cabling installed throughout.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.