If you want to apply your own encryption key, you'll need to install and run the bundled Windows-only set-up software first, handy if you plan to add the Livewire to a powerline network you've already put in place.
WD supplies Livewires in pairs, and there's reason you might want to use one at the router end: you can hook up network kit directly rather than through the router.
Powerline performance is highly dependent on the state of your wiring, and different power outlets can yield different results, all other factors being equal. Transferring a movie file from my network hard drive yielded an average speed of 56Mb/s, which is lower than other, single-port powerline kit I've tested, but not significantly so and still sufficient for 1080p Blu-ray content. That's a 1.4GB file copying over in 3m 24.1s, by the way.
Downloading a hefty file from the internet on one machine at 19.6Mb/s saw the movie transfer time rise to 4m 16.1s - 44Mb/s.
Certainly I was able to sync video to the Apple TV while simultaneously watching higher bitrate BBC iPlayer content on my Bravia telly. Of course, with both devices making use of the single link back to the router, there will be diminishing returns the more kit you add, but the upside is the convenience of connecting multiple devices to the one adaptor.
And it's not an expensive offering. You can buy the two-adaptor pack for around £77 which is what a pair of good one-port adaptors will set you back. Looking for a single-adaptor offering? Solwise has a three-port 200Mb/s adaptor here, but I've not tested it so can't yet recommend it as an alternative.
WD's Livewire adaptors don't deliver any performance benefit over rival powerline products, but they do have the advantage of networking more than one device through a single power sockets - very handy if your home is not well endowed with mains plates. ®
More Powerline Ethernet Adaptor Reviews
WD Livewire four-port powerline Ethernet adaptor
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Maybe I'm missing the point but if you are using cat 5 cable to your equipment and router why not just buy a cheap gigabit switch (for much less) and use that?
Seems to me you'll get better transfer rates cheaper and avoid all the unwanted noise from powerline kit.
RF noise - SW noise
It would be nice if you could check with a short-wave radio e.g. about 6 Mhz (Deutsche Welle), while the unit is transferring data. My neighbours had one of the earlier units and it completely wiped out 2.5 - 20 MHz, 24 hours a day but did not affect LW, MW or FM. Fortunately they moved before I had to get Ofcom in. I don't think SW users are unreasonable in detesting these things - remember that SW radio is the only long distance communication method (unreliable as it is) that does not require an intervening government controlled infrastructure (cf Internet radio, satellites etc), and the laws of physics mean we can't simply use other frequencies for that purpose. By contrast there are many different ways of connecting 2 boxes in a house. I'd prefer the powers that be to release more spectrum for WiFi, using devices designed not to interfere with other users. Powerline Ethernet is an ugly and inconsiderate solution, the fly-tipping of the radio spectrum.
It's probably just me... but why do so many protest websites of this nature look so bad and shoddy? Sure, it's not the appearance but the content that we should be taking into account, but I'm sorry - no matter how well researched and documented their objections might be, making it look and feel like so many other conspiracy websites 'proving' that moon landings were fake or UFOs built the pyramids has undermined their cause. Unless that is their target audience?
Don't get me wrong - I'm not a great fan of the powerline stuff, more because it is fairly flaky than because it is 'the worst thing to happen to Shortwave radio ever!'. I am using it in one library out of necessity, where I can't run new cable as it is a listed building (which in this environment would have required spending a number of months getting approval from various internal and external committees). I do know of someone (anonymous in case she's involved in that website) who was very vocal against the first generation 11mbps stuff who had personally run various tests to demonstrate the problem (don't know about the subsequent versions). But that site just makes me laugh at how bad it is and devalues anything it might legitimately have to say. Which might be a shame.
Re: RF noise?
Appropriate unit? How about 'Archers Drop-outs'?
So, this box has 0 ADs if the transistor radio in my living room is anything to go by.
I think the point is that some devices are in a different part of the house to where the router is, and you don't want to pull a long CAT5.
Having said that: if you have multiple devices in the same room, you can just plug them into a 5-port 10/100 switch (for about a tenner) and uplink that into a standard homeplug adapter. So you're paying a premium here just for avoiding a bit of clutter.