Ethernet only device? Connect it to Wi-Fi for £20

Under my TV I have a PVR that connects to the internet for various streaming apps. Unfortunately, it only uses Ethernet, with no Wi-Fi capability. Now unless your router is nearby (mine isn’t) or you just happen to have your house all kitted out with Ethernet, then this would be a problem.

I’ll find you 2 solutions, one of which costs only £20.

1. Powerline plugs

Powerline works by transmitting an internet connection through your mains power. You connect one to a mains socket near to your router and another one where you need an ethernet connection. I use this method for providing a better internet connection to my PlayStation than Wi-Fi would provide, as all of this is done via cables.

You can buy a pair of 500Mbps powerline adapters for around £30.

Other than the more expensive price, the other downside is that these only work when connected to the same ring main. This is the reason why I don’t use this solution for my setup, as the nearby mains sockets are on a different ring.

2. Wi-Fi extender

Unlike the powerline adapters which are intended exactly for the purpose I’m discussing, this is a bit of a jury rig solution (albeit one that works).

Wi-Fi extenders are those single plug-in devices that connect, via Wi-Fi, to your router and then create a new Wi-Fi signal, extending the range of your existing setup. Some of these have Ethernet sockets on the side so, connect your device into this, and you have an instant connection.

However, having additional Wi-Fi signals is something you may not want. And this is where the clever part comes in. Most Wi-Fi extenders allow you to turn off the Wi-Fi transmitter part, leaving just the Ethernet socket in use.

I can’t guarantee this is the case for all, but the TP-Link RE330 (currently £22.99) definitely works, as it’s the solution I’m using. It’s a  AC1200 solution, so should be plenty fast enough for most needs.

Plug it in, use the provided phone app to configure it to your router and even update the firmware and, then, turn off out output Wi-Fi signal.

Downside? Configuration via the app is now not possible as it needs the Wi-Fi to do this – however, if you plug the Extender into a computer via an Ethernet cable then you can perform configuration via a browser window instead.

On the upside, this is cheaper and doesn’t require another device on the other end (which could also be an issue if you don’t have a spare Ethernet port on your router). Additionally, this avoids the issues you may have with power being delivered on different ring mains.

But, didn’t I say this was resolvable for £20? Yes, this TP-Link extender is, right now, £19.99. I’ve not tested it, but it uses the same software as my own, so there’s no reason why you can’t do the exact same thing. It’s a slow AC750 device but, again, should be plenty for most requirements.


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