The last few Tuesdays a few people from Hacker Drinkup have been coming by my apartment to work on projects. The first Tuesday, Scott and Wil assembled some Freeduino SBs. The Freeduino is HVW Technologies’ Arduino compatible development board. I first came across it at Maker Faire a couple years ago and purchased one for Hack a Day to review. It’s got some nice features, but my current favorite Arduino clone is the Seeeduino.
The next week, Scott brought over a couple power line communication devices. The Netgear XE104 is 4-port switch and the XE102 has a single port. The PLC devices connect to each other over your home’s wiring to create a network. By the very nature of home wiring, this network behaves like a layer 2 hub. It’s unswitched allowing you to sniff all traffic on the network. Circuit breakers don’t necessarily filter the signal either which means anyone else in the building will be able to join your network. The HomePlug AV spec supports encryption, but all devices come from factory with the same key for interoperability. I first learned about PLC hacking at CCC where the FAIFA suite was introduced. It will help you configure Intellon based devices (the XE104 has an Intellon 5500 chip).