Like other powerline networking equipment, this device will turn your existing power outlets into an Ethernet port, using the electrical wiring within your home to create a data network. Unlike other powerline adapters, this device (DHP-500) includes four Gigabit Ethernet ports that can then attach to the powerline network (other adapters basically include one Ethernet port). The system includes QoS Traffic Optimization and advanced software for prioritizing high-bandwidth traffic for those who require it.
In the living room especially, the growth of connected devices that include Ethernet ports (TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, etc.) means you likely have locations where multiple devices could use Ethernet connectivity. If that location happens to also be in a place where wireless is spotty (if you have dead spots, walls or if the devices don't include built-in Wi-Fi), then a device like this offers a great alternative.
In my case, I could attach my Internet-capable TV, two game consoles and a Roku streaming media player to the DHP-500 and get Gigabit Ethernet connectivity (up to 500Mbps) for all of the devices. If you want to use the device in a small office setting, you could connect four computers to the adapter and run it through the powerline network, although I think most people will use this for home entertainment data devices.
One last piece of advice - buy the starter kit (DHP-541), which includes the powerline adapter to connect to your home router, unless you already have an existing powerline network - it's the same price anyway.
Cool Yule rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Keith Shaw