Saturday, June 14, 2008


Power LAN to the rescue

The Xbox 360 has for a while been pretty flakey keeping a connection going with Xbox Live. I'm pretty sure this has been down to the Xbox wireless network adapter I'm using (and been having trouble with).
I can't run a cable through to the part of the room where the TV is. Well, I can but it would involve lifting up carpets and drilling through walls which just is NOT going to happen. So I have decided to use the network that ALL houses come with - all houses that use electricity, anyway.
It must be twenty years ago now (when I was working at Morgan Crucible) that we in the IT department received a flyer extolling the virtues of networks that sent data over the copper wires used by the electricity that powered the computers. This seemed too weird and wonderful at the time so we didn't use it in the building.
Fast forward two decades and every home seems to have PCs with home LANs. The network of choice has been wireless to avoid dragging CAT5 Ethernet cablin round the house but there are a lot of places where wireless just doesn't do the trick. This is either because of thick walls or long distances between the wireless transmitter (usually downstairs where Broadband comes into the building) and the computer (in a bedroom upstairs somewhere).
So I've invested in a Devolo starter kit to join the Xbox to the Broadband router. What you need to do is plug a network cable in between your computer and one adapter to tell it to be friends with the other adapter. Seemed easy enough except my new Vista-running Dell laptop refused to see the adapter at the end of the cable. Had to borrow Samantha's old XP computer to be able to set up the network at all.
Once that was done I had to find some spare power sockets near the Broadband router and then by the TV - not easy even in a modern house where multiple power blocks are the order of the day. I also had to rearrange the plugs so that the fat adapter had small enough plugs next to it to get plugged in at all.
But it seems to be working fine now - the Xbox sure seems to be downloading content faster. Just need to see if it still randomly signs out of XBL.


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