With consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PS3 taking advantage of online networks, there really has never been a better time to get into online gaming, giving you on-demand access to a limitless number of players. Unfortunately, the vast possibilities that online gaming present also bring with them the dreaded networking issues that we have all faced at one time or another. If one of these issues happens to be getting a stable wireless network connection going for your console, or if you don’t even have a wireless router, Corinex’s GameNet presents a unique alternative that gives you wireless-like functionality without any of the unsteady connection issues.
The concept involves plugging two AV200 Powerline Ethernet wall mount adapters into two separate electrical sockets anywhere in your home, one to be connected to the router/modem and the other to your gaming system. The ethernet signal is actually sent over the power line between the two wall mounts, creating speeds of up to 200 Mbps, but of course connection speed partially depends on the quality of your ISP. Installation couldn’t be easier, as no adjustments to your network settings are needed. Simply connect the wall mounts as described and it’s just like plugging your system directly into the router, which is the kind of stability that Corinex promises.
The entire package includes the two wall mounts, two Ethernet cables (each about 6 feet long) and an installation CD, which is not even really required to set the system up. Each of the wall mounts have three LEDs, one indicating the power, the other the connection between the two devices, and finally one to detect an internet connection. The only really bothersome thing involved with setting up GameNet does not lie within any technical issues but the fact that the wall mounts are quite large, leaving almost no room to plug any devices into the other socket on the electrical outlet. Now many of you are probably asking “well why can’t I just use a surge protector with multiple slots?”, but Corinex states that unless the wall mounts are connected directly to a power socket, the performance may be affected. In other words they assume no responsibility for the connection being crap if you do decide to plug it into a surge protector.
After getting that out of the way, it was time to take GameNet for a test run, using the Xbox 360 console and playing games such as Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4, where everyone knows a stable connection is key to keeping up with the other players. One thing to make clear is that I currently use Microsoft’s wireless adapter for the Xbox 360, and have a solid connection with it, so there was not a whole lot of difference in performance. This in no way means that GameNet ran poorly, but I’m just making it clear that my set up, as is, functions well.
Anyways after playing online for a couple of days to give GameNet a good work out, I came away very impressed with its performance. Not once did I ever experience lag, and my ping remained strong every match. Keep in mind this will be no substitute for a bad ISP connection, and as mine happens to perform well, there were no noticeable problems when using it in conjunction with GameNet. This makes it a great substitute for wireless if you keep getting interference, or if the signal is too weak because of too many objects in the way. Some individuals who reside a few floors down from the wireless router in their homes can experience weak signals and GameNet is a good option to alleviate that problem. It almost feels demeaning to call GameNet a mere substitute for wireless functionality, as the performance feels more than adequate.
Another thing that makes GameNet great is the simple fact that it doesn’t have to be limited to providing an internet connection to your console, stirring up some wonder as to why such a versatile device has to be called “Game” Net. Not only can a PC be connected but also a PVR, allowing you to stream media to any TV in the house under GameNet’s very stable connection. When it comes to networking issues one thing we were unable to test was having more than one device using a pair of GameNet wall mounts, and if this could cause any interference in the wiring of the home. However, Corinex has stated that the device is designed so that no such interference can occur.
Although sending ethernet signals through the wiring of your home may sound outlandish, it actually works very well and functions as a reasonable alternative to wireless networking. One factor that may sound unreasonable to some is the price. Retailing for $159.24 at Amazon.com, GameNet comes in at nearly $60 more than the wireless adapter for the Xbox 360, and if you happen to own a PS3 then there’s already wireless functionality built in. But for those that are having problems with wireless connectivity, or just want to be assured of a rock solid connection, GameNet will provide that as well as great performance for various other devices. So if you’re the kind of person that demands the most out of your console’s connection to the internet consider GameNet, because it does fulfill its role as a unique, efficient, but not necessarily cheap alternative to wireless online gaming.