Anyone else tried Powerline ethernet yet? Here's my results

By LookinAround ยท 9 replies
Oct 15, 2010
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  1. Has anyone else tried Powerline ethernet yet?

    I picked up a Netgear Powerline AV200 kit today which claims up to 200Mbps over AC powerline. Tried testing it today. So far I'm unimpressed with the result. AND the result (for my situation, at least) not what they claim

    Here's what i can tell you thus far. If anyone has any comment, please post
    • I currently have a Negear wireless g router WGR614 on my desk. I want to put a Netflix streaming device in the Living Room (LR is the room next door)
    • So I figured I'd first try extending my network using Powerline ethernet (I'll test /try wireless N network eventually too)
    The AV200 was very easy to hookup and provided a quick network connection BUT so far, from what i've tested, the end-to-end throughput is NOT what i expected. I been testing file transfers over the network between the same 2 machines using netcps

    Test Scenarios and Results (3 passes for each scenario)

    1. Ethernet cable. Two computers in same room
      Computers and router all near each other in same room connected by ethernet cable
      ***************************** PASS 1
      Avrg CPS  11259272.00  KPS: 10995.38  MPS: 10.74    
      Peek CPS  11522048.00  KPS: 11252.00  MPS: 10.99    
      Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 9.31 seconds.
      ***************************** PASS 2   
      Avrg CPS  11298093.00  KPS: 11033.29  MPS: 10.77    
      Peek CPS  11507712.00  KPS: 11238.00  MPS: 10.97    
      Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 9.28 seconds.
      ***************************** PASS 3   
      Avrg CPS  11260481.00  KPS: 10996.56  MPS: 10.74    
      Peek CPS  11497472.00  KPS: 11228.00  MPS: 10.96    
      Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 9.31 seconds.
    2. Wireless G. Two computers in same room
      Computers and router all near each other in the same room. One computer connects to router over 802.11g
      ***************************** PASS 1   
      Avrg CPS   2038563.63  KPS:  1990.78  MPS: 1.94    
      Peek CPS   2588672.00  KPS:  2528.00  MPS: 2.47    
      Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 51.44 seconds.
      ***************************** PASS 2   
      Avrg CPS   1881393.75  KPS:  1837.30  MPS: 1.79    
      Peek CPS   2592768.00  KPS:  2532.00  MPS: 2.47    
      Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 55.73 seconds.
      ***************************** PASS 3   
      Avrg CPS   1875068.88  KPS:  1831.12  MPS: 1.79    
      Peek CPS   2581504.00  KPS:  2521.00  MPS: 2.46    
      Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 55.92 seconds.
    3. Powerline Ethernet. Computers in different rooms
      Computers sit in different rooms (but the rooms are next to each other)
      > The rooms are connected by 2 Powerline Ethernet adapters plugged into AC wall outlets
      ***************************** PASS 1   
      Avrg CPS   1898424.88  KPS:  1853.93  MPS: 1.81    
      Peek CPS   1956864.00  KPS:  1911.00  MPS: 1.87    
      Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 55.23 seconds.
      ***************************** PASS 2   
      Avrg CPS   1911924.75  KPS:  1867.11  MPS: 1.82    
      Peek CPS   1967104.00  KPS:  1921.00  MPS: 1.88    
      Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 54.84 seconds.
      ***************************** PASS 3   
      Avrg CPS   1908132.38  KPS:  1863.41  MPS: 1.82    
      Peek CPS   1957888.00  KPS:  1912.00  MPS: 1.87    
      Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 54.95 seconds.

    Powerline Ethernet throughput between two rooms next door to each other is about the same as what you get using Wireless G when the wireless devices are sitting next to each other?

    Will try repeating the Poweline tests....
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Thats disappointing. I was going to say that it is probably still cheaper than buying a wireless card for desktops if you had them in multiple rooms, but then I googled the price of an additional adapter and it is about the same price (or more) than a wireless G card. I guess it would work well if you had a house with 3 floors and couldn't get good G reception - but at that point, it might be better to buy a nice Wireless N router.

    I upgraded from a cheap Belkin Wireless G router to a gigabit router with wireless N (WRT-320N) and my reception is amazing. Don't know if its because of N or if its just a nicer router...
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Topic Starter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Thanks for your input.

    Sounds like my situation was pretty similar to yours: My cheap, basic Netgear Wireless G router has suited my needs just fine for these many years. But now, i'm looking at other networking options as I want to extend a higher speed network to provide for for media / HD streaming

    I continue to be disappointed with Powerline Ethernet. Nor do I know why it seems to yield such poor result at least based on my case. I'll add
    > I live in a well established high rise built only 30-35 years ago so I wouldn't think it should be an issue of AC wiring quality or being old or frayed or substandard
    > And even tho the 2 rooms are next to each other I've also tried testing Powerline Ethernet using 2 different outlets but both in the SAME room on opposite sides of the room. It still yielded the same disappointing result

    Linksys E3000 Wireless N.
    More news: This morning I replaced my Netgear WGR614 with a new Linksys E3000 Wireless N. I guess not surprising (since it's a faster router) i found file transfer times over local ethernet have dropped by more then half! (from about 10 secs to about 4 secs) between my 2 test machines
    ***************************** PASS 1    
    Avrg CPS  24853662.00  KPS: 24271.15  MPS: 23.70    
    Peek CPS  29478912.00  KPS: 28788.00  MPS: 28.11    
    Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 4.22 seconds.
    ***************************** PASS 2   
    Avrg CPS  23967452.00  KPS: 23405.71  MPS: 22.86    
    Peek CPS  30063616.00  KPS: 29359.00  MPS: 28.67    
    Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 4.38 seconds.
    ***************************** PASS 3   
    Avrg CPS  25612506.00  KPS: 25012.21  MPS: 24.43    
    Peek CPS  30236672.00  KPS: 29528.00  MPS: 28.84    
    Done. 104857600 Kb transferred in 4.09 seconds.
    Will provide updated statistics/test results as i get around to them over next few days :)
  4. logicomb

    logicomb TS Rookie

    Thanks for the info, I have been researching the powerline adapters and for my situation it sounded like it would be the best option. All the customer reviews I found said it was good, but after reading this I will make sure I have a good returns policy in hand before I order anything.
  5. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    I may have a partial answer on why the poor through-put.

    First... IN the USA your home wiring is 220...
    - Two 110 lines out of phase by 180 degrees, yielding net 220 peak to peak. (acutally, because of RMS it is usually somewhat less).
    I would expect there to be difficulty communicating between two lines that were on opposite phases.
    In essence, there is no direct connection. The only common line is ground.

    On the other hand, if the two outlets are on the same phase, they still may be different circuits.
    In this case, the wiring goes all the way to the breaker box and then all the way back, even though the two rooms are adjacent.

    Further, I would not expect the 12 or 14 gauge solid wire used for home wiring to be a good conductor for high frequency (high-bandwidth) applications. I am going back a bit on my electronic theory here, but I believe the larger wire has a higher impedence to the higher frequency... and that the high frequency signal is carried on the surface of the wire - multistrand wire being better as a result. Someone else more "current" <pun> on electronic theory could elaborate or correct.
  6. logicomb

    logicomb TS Rookie

    hahahaha. thats awesome
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Topic Starter Posts: 6,491   +184


    1. As i find/make the time, i'm continuing my testing with Powerline Ethernet (PE) and will provide more results as i find them for my case (this will include trying different models as well as different vendors. I just picked up another cheaper model from Netgear to see how it compares. (The one i posted above claimed up to 200Mbs. The ones i just got claim 85Mbs)

    2. Tho, in general, i think is wise to plan any PE purchases from a brick and mortar store with good return policy as i think there's many variables/unknowns in discovering just how well PE might work in different cases. (In fact, I heard in some cases there may not be continuity between outlets in different rooms so you''re not guaranteed an ethernet connection in all cases. Again, is what i heard. Don't know if is true)

    Thanks for the info.

    I'll admit my electronics knowledge is poor (I'm basically a software vs. a hardware kinda guy :) )

    But specific wondering if my results were due to the 2 outlets being on different cicrcuits... I had also wondered the same. As in fact, they are connected to different fuses in my fuse box) So i did test again this time using two outlets in same room on opposite sides of the room but both on same fuse and the results were the same
  8. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    That is because of the phase issue I mentioned.

    That really confirms the limitation of the technology, doesn't it.
    I was wondering if different products might produce different results, because of the internal workings.
    I'll be watching your results.

  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I have my router and cable modem in the basement and a living room with hdtv on the first floor. I spend most of my casual time on the first floor where I use a laptop and have a Mac Mini connected to the TV. Downstairs I have 3 PCs and a Mac tower, with the expandability (storage space) of desktops I have many HD movies on computers down there and I use Plex (like XBMC) to watch the movies on my HDTV. This means they have to stream wirelessly.

    Because I have an older laptop, and a Wii, I had to run my Linksys WRT320N in mixed mode to have G for the old devices. Yesterday I decided to connect my old Belkin G router to the Linksys and run the Belkin in G and the Linksys in N so I could get the maximum bandwidth out of wireless for better streaming of HD stuff.

    My results are fairly disappointing. To maximize the benefits of N I used 5Ghz, this seems to have really decreased my range (and apparently means my < 1 year old netbook can't see it). On top of that, I still am unable to stream some HD movies (1080p .mkvs (h.264)), they mostly do well, but if there is a lot of action I'll get lag. I could stream about as good on G.

    Perhaps this isn't a surprise to people more experienced with wireless types, but I thought when I could stream with only an occasional lag over G that when I switched to N only that would make it a smooth experience completely.

    So I think the moral, at least for me, is that if you want everything to be perfect you have to run wired.
  10. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Topic Starter Posts: 6,491   +184

    OOoops! So much for wireless as an option in my case.!

    Thanks for the summary of your wireless experience. And your moral is a good one!

    I had another surprise myself while attempting to test wireless N between 2 adjoining rooms (maybe it should have been obvious from the start, but never occurred to me to till i saw the problem!)

    Mirrored walls are problematic!

    One side of the wall that divides the 2 rooms is mirrored!! I don't know if this is true for all mirrors? but certainly true in this, case as these mirrors prevent most of the wireless signal from passing to the adjacent room
    • I had a Linksys E3000 Wireless N router in one room. Linksys Wireless N adapter only 20 feet away in adjacent room
    • The Wireless N adapter could see the Wireless SSID being broadcast BUT signal strength was reported as weak. I couldn't get the adapter to connect to the network
    • When i tried pinging the remote computer from command prompt, 3 out of 4 pings were lost!
    Comment about the Linksys E3000 User Interface (i'll be returning it, btw)
    One thing i really DON'T like about the E3000 User Interface
    • The E3000 UI reports the number of attached devices to the router BUT
    • From what i can see, there's no simple way to have the E3000 report just exactly what those devices are (e.g. attached device MAC address, it's IP address, etc)
    • MAYBE you can some idea by going indirectly through Basic Setup->DHCP Reservation to see the router's current DHCP tables, but not sure that always reflects what's currently attached
    All my Netgears always had an Attached Devices button at top level of user menu that I often found VERY helpful in debugging

    Netgear Powerline Ethernet
    Some rough numbers and comments about Netgear XEB1004 vs. Negear XAVB2001
    > XEB1004 claims up to 85Mbps (mega bit per second)
    > XAVB2001 claims up to 200Mbps
    • XEB1004 adapters provide 4 ethernet ports per adapter (which is a PLUS!)
    • XAVB2001 adapters only have one port per adapter
    • XEB1004's are giving still lower throughput. Using netcps to do a 100MB file transfer
      > About 54-55 seconds with the XAVB2001 (about 1.8Megabyte per second which i guess is then about 15megbit per sec)
      > About 88-90 seconds with the XEB1004 (about 1.2Megabyte per second or about 10megabit per sec)
    /* EDIT */
    btw.. XEB1004 adapters are cheaper. About $90 vs. $130 or so, if i recall

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