Power-line Ethernet adaptors have been with us for some years, but few have been able to produce a broadband signal that really helps to boost the range of your router. The Panasonic BL-PA100KT is a vast improvement, but it has real competition in the form of the wireless N products that are coming onto the market.

Power-line technology uses your home's existing electrical system as a conduit for electronic data rather than the phone line. The wall sockets serve as connection points, and transferring data over the electrical network doesn't interfere with your electricity because data is transmitted at a higher frequency than electricity. It's all very clever, but unless it makes it worth ditching your router, it's an expensive solution to your Internet woes.

Really wireless?

Unfortunately, Panasonic's offering doesn't incorporate the wireless technology that Netgear's popular WGXB102 does. It's more of a way to get multiple wired setups in places that you don't have Ethernet ports to trail wires from. Because the adaptors only need electricity, it essentially extends the range of your network indefinitely, but there's a good reason why extended 802.11g or 802.11n are better options: they really are wireless.

Although the adaptors are attractive, they're big and look ugly when connected to the wall via the power cable. If you place the adaptors in a hallway or bedroom they look unsightly and you'll soon want to find another location for them. They're not cheap either, at £90 for a pair, which is what you'd expect to pay for a decent wireless router with excellent range.

Yet the big plus is that sharing your broadband in a thick-walled house or office is a dream, because there's no degradation in connectivity over distance and being essentially a wired network, it's easy to secure. If you've had problems with wireless reception because of your building's layout, the BL-PA100KT could be just the solution you need.