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Western Digital WD Livewire review

A unique take on powerline adaptors

Our Verdict

For

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Flexible
  • Decent speeds
  • Cheap

Against

  • Not the fastest powerline adaptor
  • Design might not be for everyone

Western Digital WD Livewire doesn't look like other network powerline adaptors such as the Devolo dLAN 500 AVplus. For a start, it doesn't plug directly into a wall power socket. Instead, it's a small box that connects to the power socket via a cable. It's not as elegant a solution as other powerline adaptors, especially ones that have integrated follow-through sockets - which means you don't have to sacrifice a socket when installing them.

However, it does give you a bit more flexibility on where to place the unit, since the power cable is long enough to tuck the Western Digital WD Livewire out of sight. It was especially useful for installing the Western Digital WD Livewire in awkwardly-placed power sockets where we've had trouble using the bulkier powerline adaptors.

The unique design also offers another advantage that is absent from many of its competitors - both units come with four 10/100 Ethernet ports, where most only have one, enabling you to connect a number of wired devices to the powerline source. This can result in quite a bit of money saved, since it spares you from buying either additional adaptors for each device or from having to buy expensive proprietary wireless dongles - smart HD TVs and original Xbox 360s are particularly bad for this.

Network speeds were very good, averaging around 126Mbps with plenty of bandwidth for streaming standard definition movies from one PC to another. High definition streaming was less smooth, so a faster powerline adaptor focusing on media streaming is going to be a better buy.

Verdict

For decent and consistent network speeds, coupled with ease of use and some good features, the Western Digital WD Livewire is a very good powerline adaptor kit.

Tech Specs

Product TypePowerline Network Adapter
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Brand NameWD
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Powerline Transmission StandardHomePlug AV
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports4
Height33 mm
Width86.4 mm
ManufacturerWestern Digital Corporation
Product ModelWDBABY0000NBK
Product NameWDBABY0000NBK Powerline Network Adapter
Manufacturer Part NumberWDBABY0000NBK-EESN
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.wdc.com
Marketing Information

Extend the Internet to your HDTV.

Instantly create high-speed, wired network connections to seamlessly stream your high-definition media to your connected home theater and gain fast, reliable access to the Internet.

Packaged Quantity2
Package Contents
  • WDBABY0000NBK Powerline Network Adapter
  • 2 x Ethernet cables
  • 2 x Power cables
  • Quick Install Guide
  • CD with WD Livewire utility software
  • Warranty and support guide
Limited Warranty2 Year
Weight (Approximate)186 g