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As far as home Wi-Fi and internet goes, there's only one thing worse than a bad signal and dead zones, and that's no service at all.

Enter the Devolo Magic 2. This German-made, plug-and-play adapter turns AC power outlets into Wi-Fi access points that relay internet data throughout your house via existing electrical wiring. Transmission speeds can reach as fast as 2,000 mbps, depending in part on the condition of your power lines. The range is up to 1,600 feet, and it connects via 2.4 and 5 GHz.

You start by plugging a single-gigabit LAN port (5.1 by 2.6 by 1.6 inches) to your existing router. The other piece in the kit (you can add more if needed) is a 6- by 6- by 1.6-inch two-gigabit LAN port, which plugs directly into any household AC power outlet. Setting it up is simple, but make sure to follow the instructions for pushing the buttons in the right order to make the connection.

With everything hooked up, I connected to my original Wi-Fi network with my iPad and began streaming YouTube TV. Once I got to a distance where buffering became an issue, I set up a Magic 2 directly in the middle. As soon as I connected to the Magic 2 access point, my signal no longer was stalled, bringing an instant solution to backyard Wi-Fi needs.

It's available in a starter kit ($185, or a whole-home kit ($300) that adds another two-Gigabit LAN port for additional coverage.

GREGG ELLMAN, Tribune News Service