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Setting up a HomePlug network

After several years battling with a dodgy D-Link router and constantly dropping wireless connection, I'm switching to HomePlug networking. I'm planning to buy the Devolo 200 AVDesk as this seems to be the best one, and is definitely Mac compatible.

I want to get rid of my router, but want to keep a direct ethernet connection between my cable modem and the Intel Mac I use most of the time (ie not use the HomePlug for that). Presumably if a HomePlug is going to be connected to my cable modem, I'll need an ethernet switch / hub if I also want to keep the direct connection from the modem to my Intel Mac? If this is the case, can anyone advise on which switch I should get? Are they all Mac compatible?

I'll be using HomePlug units for two other computers in my house and for a wireless printer.

Any comments or advice welcome before I start spending money!
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clareturpin
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clareturpin
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8 Solutions
 
dalesitCommented:
Ethernet switches are commodity hardware these days, so pretty much anything will do.

The HomePlug networking will work out of the box with no configuration.

The only potential gotcha would be whether your cable modem supports multiple ethernet attached devices. This would be the same if you were simply attaching  the cable modem and two devices to the switch. Assuming it does support multiple ethernet devices, you should be able to just plug and play.

One thing to be aware of is that you can't plug the HomePlug devices into surge protected power supplies - they have to go directly into the mains.

Cheers,

Joel

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clareturpinAuthor Commented:
I have a Webstar EPC2100 cable modem. Just checked the manual and it shows a network created using an ethernet hub, so I guess that means it'll be OK?
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mmconsultantCommented:
Not necessarily. Most cable companies that I'm familiar with only allow one MAC address per modem. I think you're better off getting a cable/dsl access point and hooking that up directly to the modem and all the appliances directly o the access point.

Also you may need to power cycle the modem for a few minutes prior to making any changes to the network.

Hope this helps.
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clareturpinAuthor Commented:
When you say a cable/dsl access point, do you mean a router?

I was hoping to avoid that as my D-Link DI-624+ keeps needing to be reset...
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mmconsultantCommented:
A new router/access point probably won't have the same issues ...

If you want to try the switch (which may work), I would check with your internet provider first. My experience has been that this setup will not work, but it will depend on the provider.
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clareturpinAuthor Commented:
Thanks. It seems from what you say that I probably need to get a new router after all.

One thing I like about D-Link is their technical support. Does anyone recommend another model of D-Link router, or any particular alternative brand of router? Or can anyone suggest why my D-Link has to be reset every few days, and sometimes several times a day - even to work via ethernet. To reset it I have to unplug it then plug it back in again and it's fine.
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mmconsultantCommented:
I use a Airport Exterme (N) at home ... I initially had problems when I installed it, but later found out that it was my DSL modem causing the problems. Replacing the modem solved all the problems and I've been fine ever since.

It's a little pricey, so if you want a sub $100 option, I'd go with D-Link or NetGear products. Do some research prior to purchase to make sure the model doesn't have a lot of quality/ technical issues.

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clareturpinAuthor Commented:
I'm really tempted to get an Airport Extreme!

Is it possible my router resetting problem is actually a modem problem, do you think?
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dalesitCommented:
It could be - are you able to connect in to the router when it needs resetting? Or is it hanging? Have you got the latest firmware for the router?

You might find the dropping wireless issues could be interference from other wireless devices or even car alarms. If they are non-wifi, then they will not show up in lists of networks. It is worth changing channels to see if that helps with the wireless issues.

Cheers,

Joel
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clareturpinAuthor Commented:
One other question: if I get a new router, will there still be an issue about having 2 MAC addresses if I connect both a homeplug and my Intel Mac via ethernet? Or is that just a problem with switches?

I've definitely got the latest firmware for the router. Have tried changing channels. Interference definitely could be an issue as I have cordless phones etc. But also I live in an old house with thick walls and wireless just isn't ideal.

I'm not sure about connecting in to the router. Will investigate this. What happens is that I can't get an internet connection at all and then when I reset it it works again...

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mmconsultantCommented:
Not likely, but possible.

Intermittent network issues are often difficult to troubleshoot. It helps to have some extra equipment around to do some testing.

You could try directly connecting it to you Mac for a few days to see if you have any problems, but ...

Either way if you have issues with a new router, you can pretty much guarantee it's a modem/line problem, and call in the cable company to due some testing.
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mmconsultantCommented:
Any time you connect something new to the cable modem your best bet is to turn off everything, wait five minutes, then turn on the modem and wait a minute, then turn on the PC/Mac.

If you have problems with the direct connection, then it narrows it down to the modem, the line, or the ethernet cable (least likely).

Old homes with plaster/mesh walls give wireless routers fits. My parents live in an old home and experience this issue.

You shouldn't have a MAC address problem with the router as that is the only MAC address the cable modem will see and everything else connects to it.

Hope this helps.


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dalesitCommented:
The way it connects together is:


remote devices-------homeplug--------router----------cable modem
                                                              |
                                                           imac


As mmconsultant states, the cable modem is only aware of the router. Using a router also gives you the benefit of a hardware firewall to protect your network.

Cheers,

Joel
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clareturpinAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all your help! I'm going for an Apple Airport Extreme router first, then will add the HomePlugs as necessary. Once again Experts Exchange has probably stopped me spending my money on the wrong thing at the wrong time!
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