Friday, February 5, 2016

Final Piece of the Connectivity Puzzle

Office Space with Ethernet Powerline Adaptor
A while back we had installed a MikroTik GigE wireless router & a MikroTik Groove high gain antenna to bring the boat's wireless Internet up to snuff.  But the lower deck office equipment (scanner, printer, NAS) remained on a separate (wireless) network due to the difficulty of running more cable down there.  I considered creating a wireless bridge to join the two networks, but that configuration exercise can be exasperating, so I decided to revisit the "Ethernet over Powerline" technology to see if that might be an easier solution.  As it turns out, it definitely was.
Ethernet Powerline in PH

While I'm not a huge fan of Netgear's consumer-grade equipment, their new "Powerline 1200" adaptors were getting very positive reviews and are actually quite good -- you won't get anywhere near the advertised 1.2 Gbps speed, but they do reliably clock in at 400 Mbps, which is plenty good for the boat, and faster than anything else out there in the Powerline networking genre.

I plugged one unit into a Pilot House outlet and connected its Ethernet cable to the MikroTik router; and then plugged the 2nd unit into an electrical outlet in the office and hooked its Ethernet cable into the office router.  Voila!  Instant network connectivity over standard 120V AC circuits.  Now we can access the printer, scanner and our network-attached-storage device from the ship's single wireless network.