Dec 25, 2011
Hey guys! Thanks for reading this.

I'm probably about to expose my massive ignorance of technology in general and networking in particular, but please take pity on my poor, stupid soul.

I live in an apartment, a duplex to be precise. I live on a weird balcony thing overlooking the living room (I have curtains for one of my walls... it's less than ideal). I'm about to build a new gaming PC to be housed in my upstairs room, but unfortunately the router to our internet is housed downstairs. There is pretty much no possibility of either installing a through-the-walls ethernet line to my room, and my roommates would kill me if I just strung a bare cable along the floor and up the spiral staircase. This leaves me with a conundrum. I need internet for this machine, and I'd like it to be reliable and low-latency so I can use it for gaming. It doesn't have to be competitive Counter Strike fast, but I'd like to play DOTA 2 or Battlefield occasionally. Unfortunately, I'm also pretty broke once I build this rig, so I can't just throw money at this problem. I need a good balance of cheap and effective. Do I:

A) Buy a wireless USB adapter: This is tempting because I could also use it for my laptop with a busted wireless card. I wouldn't mind switching it back and forth between machines. However, I imagine the reliability and latency of a USB wireless solution leaves something to be desired.

B) Buy a wireless PCI card: Better reliability and speed, but more expensive and will only work with my desktop. My laptop will remain a large, dumb device that I have to lug downstairs every day or so (it's a big old gaming laptop that I paid way too much for 5 years ago). Also, it's still wireless, so still not great for the whole gaming thing.

C) Buy an ethernet-over-power kit. This is the most intriguing option to me, partially because it sounds awesome, and also because it's about as close to true wired internet as I'm gonna get. I've seen a kit by Netgear found HERE that seems to be pretty much perfect, and though it's a little more than I'd like to spend, I'm willing to do it as an investment that will work wherever I move in the future. Also it sounds really frickin cool.

Obviously I'm leaning towards the EoP solution, but can anyone tell me if this is a really bad idea? Will I actually get the speeds and latency that the manufacturers suggest, or will it be a shoddy connection? And if it's not a terrible idea, is there a decent way to get two devices plugged in to it at the same time, i.e. my desktop and my laptop? I tried to research ethernet splitters, but I got some really contradictory information about whether or not it was even possible. I would be running the cable internet from the wall to a cable modem to a wireless router/switch combo to the EoP box to my machines. Can I split the ethernet cable in my room and run it to both computers? Do splitters like I'm talking about even exist? Or do I need to buy a full-on $25 switch with 5 ports, most of which I'll never use?

Thanks so much for reading this novel. I really appreciate any and all help and advice you guys can give me. Tom's has been great to me the past few weeks as I ease myself back into the computer tech game.