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3 thoughts on “Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit

  1. A. Dent "Aragorn" says:
    214 of 218 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Just perfect in every single way (not kidding), August 31, 2010
    A. Dent “Aragorn” (Minas Anor, GD) –

    This review is from: Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit (Personal Computers)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

    WD’s Livewire Powerline little boxes allow for high-speed data flow over your residence’s electrical wiring with ZERO setup – something that would have been viewed as a miracle or an impossibility only a few years ago. Anyone (such as myself) who currently relies on ‘wireless’ to connect various devices could use Livewire Powerline for those networked appliances that either can’t connect wirelessly (many Bluray players and TV sets) or a high bandwidth channel is needed to stream HD content.

    Before making a ‘buy’ decision, it is important to understand that Livewire will NOT significantly improve ‘Internet’ performance unless your ISP provides you with a very large bandwidth. If your Wi-Fi router supports 802.11g, you will get an average throughput of 22 Mbit/s which is more than most ISP can provide for Internet bandwidth. In other words, your Wi-Fi router should usually handle whatever the Internet may throw at you with some room to spare and whether you get your ISP’s 10 Mbit/s data stream over at 22 Mbit/s from Wi-Fi or at 200 Mbit/s from Livewire Powerline it’s still… 10 Mbit/s or close. On the other hand, streaming form your media server at will make all the difference in the world when compared with your Wi-Fi throughput.


    To summarize, you will BENEFIT from Liverwire Powerline when:

    – You stream from YOUR media server
    – Have some Internet-ready device that does not support Wi-Fi and your home is not ‘wired’ for Ethernet
    – You have a big house or for whatever reason Wi-Fi can’t reach some specific device or the reception is poor
    – You have a VERY HIGH bandwidth Internet connection

    You will NOT BENEFIT from Liverwire Powerline to connect to the Internet via a ‘normal’ broadband link and, of course, if your house is already wired for Ethernet.


    To evaluate WD’s Livewire Powerline I decided that I will first try it without reading the manual (a .pdf) or installing whatever software came on CD. To my surprise, I was able to set it all up and get it running in a few minutes. Still haven’t looked at the CD.

    In the box you find the 2 little (literally) identical Liverwire Powerline boxes, 2 power cords and 2 short (too short) Ethernet wires. And… yes a CD that should have some software that you COULD install and use if you had trouble setting things up. The boxes have 4 RJ-45 (not phone jacks) ports, an On/Off switch set to On by default (no need to ever set it to off) and some little lights that blink whenever there is data traffic.

    My setup and installation proceeded as follows:

    – I connected the power cords to the boxes
    – On each of the 2 boxes I connected one end of the Ethernet wires to one port on the box
    – I placed one of the boxes near my router in the basement and connected the other end of the Ethernet wire to one of the router’s ports
    – I plugged the power cord into a wall outlet – must NOT plug it into a power strip or surge protector, it MUST go directly into the wall outlet
    – I attached the Ethernet wire of the other box to my PS3 upstairs
    – I plugged this box’s power cord into the wall outlet

    Once the above was done, I turned on my PS3 and set it to use the ‘wired’ connection. It recognized it within seconds and I was pleased to see the Internet test indicating an 8.2 Mbit/s, better than the 5.6 Mbit/s I had over the Wi-Fi. But that was not all. The big improvement was when I played a video off the media server located in the basement: flawlessly playing our 720p home videos over the new connection vs. choppy before over Wi-Fi.

    As expected, the PS3 benefited but only to a small degree when it came to the Internet stream – it did benefit because the Wi-Fi signal strength was only 63% – and it benefited tremendously when media streaming was between in-house devices.

    With 4 RJ-45 ports available, I am considering now getting a dedicated Blu-ray player and will not have to specifically seek one that had Wi-Fi built-in.


    As far as I am concerned (see my experience notes above) Livewire Powerline is in many ways the perfect gadget. It does its magic, it does it well and ‘the rest of us’ don’t need to bother with manuals or spend hours on hold with tech support – WD does provide a tech support phone number and a Web site if you get yourself into trouble.

    I do not expect not think about this device again until I get my Blu-ray player. Like my Linksys router, I expect it to sit there, largely forgotten and gathering dust behind the entertainment center and do its job without me worrying about it at all. Which makes it perfect. And the price is not that bad either.


    NOTE: WD claims that this will allow you to stream HD on…

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  2. Houston Ethernet Customer says:
    161 of 163 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit (Personal Computers)

    This is a terrific product. It does what it says that it will do. You will get much faster speeds than wireless without all the dropouts. Each box comes with two units. These units are identical. The one that you plug into your router becomes the “home” unit. The second box becomes the “remote” unit. If you’re only planning on using these two boxes then you’re fine.

    The problem becomes adding additional units (which is the beauty of purchasing this system.) There are no decent instructions. Not on the WD website, not included in paper form, and not set out in any clear fashion the pdf “User Guide” on the included CD. If you want to add addtional units around your house, then you will have to install the utiliy on the CD. Next — AND THIS IS CRITICAL — your computer will have to be attached by an ethernet cable to your “HOME” Live Wire device. The setup won’t work otherwise.

    You will then:

    1) Have to use the “ADD” button on the utility to add new devices.
    2) You will have to locate the password for the additonal units, which is marked P/W on the bottom of the device.
    3) You will have to enter the passcode and name the additional device.
    4) Then hit the “add device” button on the computerized utility.
    5) Once you’ve done this, all the devices should reboot, and the within 60 seconds, the utility should scan and locate all the devices on your system.
    6) If the utility does not locate all the devices within 60 seconds, it means that the devices did not properly reboot. (This is what happened to me.) You will then have to unplug ALL the devices, and then replug them into the wall, and then close and reopen the utility. It should now work.

    Whatever you do: Don’t bother calling customer service. You’ll get someone too dumb to work at a McDonalds who won’t have the slightest clue what your problem is or why the devices don’t work. You will spend 15 to 30 minutes on hold before they confess that they don’t know anything about the product.

    I almost gave up and returned these devices four or five times before I finally got them working. It’s a shame Western Digital can’t be bothered to provide instructions for one of the most basic functions associated with creating a powerline network. I guess they are selling to many of these units and don’t want the supply to dry up because customers are adding third, fourth, and fifth boxes to their homes.

    Good luck!

    p.s. Thanks to all the many fine reviewers on Amazon who have taken the time to explain the ins and outs of setting up various electronics products.

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  3. Robert L. Stinnett says:
    52 of 53 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Goodbye Wires; So Long Flaky Wireless; Hello Smooth Streaming Media!, August 26, 2010
    Robert L. Stinnett (Boonville, MO) –
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit (Personal Computers)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

    I think if many of us could build a new house to our specifications that no doubt at the top of a lot of our lists for “must haves” would be Ethernet/network connections in almost every room. In fact, it’s not unusual to see houses that are being built this way standard nowadays — with all the gadgets, set top boxes, computers and other electronic devices that can hook up to the Internet the need for a connected house is constantly growing. Sure, you could do wireless — but it has it’s limitations, and it can be flaky when streaming HD media, not to mention that it has problems traveling through metal objects and is subject to interference. So what is the homeowner or apartment dweller to do when they don’t have connections to ever room readily available? The answer is as simple as two little black boxes.

    The WD Livewire Powerline kit is one of the best electronic “gadget-enabling” devices I have used in a long time. At first I was skeptical of the claims of 200 megabits per second, and even more skeptical of how it could work over the power lines. However after receiving the product and using it any doubts I had were blown away. This thing is amazing and delivers excactly what it promises.

    It’s as simple as the box says it is. You simply plug one end into the wall near an existing network connection and hook a standard ethernet cable (included) up to your home network or broadband connection. Then plug the other one into the wall anywhere else in your house. No software to mess with, no complicated setup procedures, just instant connection. You literally can have this up and running in less than 5 minutes from when the box shows up at your door!

    There are a few things to be aware of. First, this must be plugged directly into the wall socket. It cannot be plugged into a power strip, surge protector or battery backup. Second, the condition of the wiring in your home will affect your speeds. If you have an older home where wiring did not follow standards (from about the early to mid 70s forward) you may not be able to achieve the full 200mbps. Our home was built in 1977 and speed tests show that I was able to achieve right around 195-196mbps. Impressive!

    They offer 4 ports on each box, so you can plug in multiple devices as each location. They also transmit the data in 128-bit encryption, which is automatic, so you can feel safe that your data is protected even if your neighbor has a pair of these as well (though the chances of you running into each other are slim — by the time it makes it out of your house, through the electric company equipment and into theirs the signal will be highly degraded).

    The best part of it all — no wires. Just two very small boxes that you can tuck away out of sight. Want to hook up your HDTV to your home network or the internet? Just plug and play! Moving it to a new room? Just unplug and go — it really is that simple.

    For the more geeky amongst us, the product also comes with a CD you can use to update the firmware, setup network restrictions and do a few other technical things on the boxes themselves. However, the use of the CD is completely optional — you don’t need to worry about fooling with it unless you want to dive into the really geeky side of the product.

    So if you have a HDTV, computers, gaming system or other gadgets you want to hook up and wireless just won’t cut it, or you don’t want to run cables throughout the house, then this Livewire kit is the perfect answer. Plug it in and start surfing!

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