Whether you’re playing World of Warcraft on your PC, Call of Duty 4 (COD4) on your Xbox 360 or Resistance: Fall of Man your PS3, the chances are pretty high you spend about half of your gaming time playing online. Don’t feel bad; you’re not alone. However, if you’re like most of us here at DailyGame, you’re also not alone in your constant need for more Cat-5 and routers to keep playing smoothly online. Somehow, there just never seem to be enough Ethernet plug-ins or a strong-enough WiFi signal. Wouldn’t it be nice if you never needed these things, if you could just plug your console or PC into the wall and get online automatically?
Well, now you can.
Corinex, a company that’n not all that familiar in gaming circles, recently released GameNet, a set of adapters that uses your home’s standard electrical wiring to transmit broadband Internet signals. Corinex’s technology is nothing new; the company has been selling these adapters as the “Powerline Ethernet Wall Mounts” for a while now. But until now, gamers haven’t necessarily been aware the technology, so re-packaging two wall mounts and marketing them as “GameNet” has given us our first chance to really get down and dirty with it.
Using the Corinex GameNet is insanely simple: plug one of the two included adapters into a modem or router, plug the other adapter into your console’s (or PC’s) Ethernet jack, then plug both adapters into any nearby electrical outlet (but not a powerstrip). At that point you simply need to power on the console, and you’re online immediately with high-speed Internet connections up to 200Mbps — a figure dependent, of course, upon the Internet package you have. Really, it’s as simple as that. You don’t even need to unwrap the installation CD that comes in the box. Honestly, we’ve never been so happy with a piece of hardware, whether you’re talking about performance or ease of use.
Corinex is marketing its GameNet adapters as an alternative to WiFi, a statement that should be particularly attractive to Xbox 360 owners, considering Microsoft’s console isn’t equipped with WiFi out of the box. Yet while PS3 owners might initially find this statement less attractive (the PS3 has native wireless functionality), the GameNet’s value is far greater than “just” a WiFi substitute.
For instance, when your router’s on one level of the house and your console’s on the other (say, in the basement), it’s not uncommon to struggle with an inconsistent WiFi signal or a frustrating amount of lag. GameNet, however, carries the signal through the electrical wiring in your walls, so it never seems to suffer from signal interference, and it actually seems to perform faster and more reliably than 802.11g wireless. In fact, during our tests with a PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, the GameNet’s transfer speeds ran neck-and-neck with a traditional Cat-5 connection.
There were a few things we weren’t able to test that may affect some households. For example, we’ve played many online multiplayer games in which our opponents or teammates had two separate consoles running on Xbox Live at the same time. As we understand it, based on our interview with GameNet at CES, it’s possible to connect multiple GameNet adapters and support multiple simultaneous connections, but we were only able to test one GameNet package (two adapters). As a result, we can’t vouch for whether the signals get crossed when multiple consoles or PCs transmit different signals over the same electrical wiring. We also weren’t able to test the GameNet in a LAN setting, but again, this was simply due to having only one GameNet setup — and from what we gathered in that interview, the GameNet is LAN-ready.
Regardless, it’s important to step back and see GameNet as a piece of communication hardware, not just a gaming accessory, because Corinex is onto something far bigger than an online-gaming solution. And that’s where marketing the GameNet to gamers is really a stroke of genius. It’s not a stretch to say that most online gamers — arguably the more hardcore of the gaming crowd — also like gadgets. Well, the GameNet is a perfectly viable solution for meeting every gadget freak’s dream of seamlessly streaming multimedia from a PC, DVR or set-top box to any TV in the house. And yes, we mean any TV.
Remember, the Corinex GameNet transmits its signal through the house’s electrical wiring. As a result, by plugging one adapter into the media center upstairs and the other adapter into the set-top box and TV in the basement (or anywhere else), the media center’s content is streamed immediately, without any need for a wireless adapter or Ethernet jack, and most important, without any noticeable lag. Gamers who live in older homes may encounter slight delays using GameNet, but that’s due more to the house’s old wiring infrastructure than it is to the GameNet hardware itself.
We were initially skeptical of the Corinex GameNet. Not only had we not heard of “powerline Ethernet” before, but we figured there would be some serious lag as GameNet’s signal “competed” with other duties of the electrical wiring such as providing power to the lights, the consoles, the PC, fridge, TV, surround-sound system, etc. Not so. Having run the walkie-talkie-sized adapters through their paces, we are now firm believers in their convenience and practicality. Honestly, GameNet is quite possibly the ideal peripheral for any gamer who plays online and has ever wanted a stable Internet connection wherever they plug in their console. At $170, the GameNet adapters aren’t cheap, but in this editor’s opinion, their convenience, portability and ease of use are well worth the price for serious online gamers.
- Score: 9 (Editor’s Choice)
— Jonas Allen