The new 500Mbit Powerline Ethernet adapters - are they worth it?
A while ago I had to set up a little network for a friend of mine and the entry point of the ADSL line and router were located in the bottom of his house. His two PCs that needed to be connected where all the way on the second floor. Now, to create a network one can do several things. Take a long CAT5 cable, drill holes through the floors of the house and route the cabling through it. Sure, best performance... but not really sexy-looking in your all new remodeled house.
The most logical rout to follow then is obviously to go wireless, but my friend games online a lot ... even with an N series wireless access point or router (IEEE 802.11n) the distance is rather far that he was bound to see some packet-loss. Now you can amplify and boost signals but things become more complicated and expensive real fast. So why not take an unusual simple route ... all the man needs is an Internet connection on two PCs with fairly average speeds. Yep, anno 2011 it is possible to create a network over your power lines.
So today we look at Ethernet over your power line. We've seen 60 Mbit, 200 Mbit and recently even 500 Mbit/sec models appeared on the market. That sounds very decent when it comes to bandwidth alright, especially with today's on-line needs, desires and increasing internet speed.
This technology has been here for years and is as simple as can be, you utilize the power lines and sockets in your house to transport a data signal carrying a network signal. All you need are two or more homeplug adapters, also known as Powerline Ethernet adapters.
The Powerline Ethernet adapters allow you to use your mains electricity circuit to transfer data, this way you can extend your network to wherever you have a free plug socket. The product we test today comes from Sitecom, their 500 Mbps plus Homeplug.
The kit provides a connection of up to 500Mbits/sec. Divide that by 8 bits and you'd in theory would be able to see transfer speeds of 62.5 Megabyte per second.
In practice, however we tested the maximum net data rate is much MUCH lower, 60~100 Mbits/sec - still that is faster than Wi-Fi and sufficient fenough or streaming high-definition video from say your PC with network shares to, for instance, your HTPC.
The technology has improved over the years and we noticed that companies like Sitecom, Netgear, Trust and Devolo are offering some competitive kits. Sitecom is the one company that caught my attention with strong distribution in Europe. They offer 500 Mbit/sec adapters. You plug them in, connect one to your PC, and another one to say your internet router and you are good to go.
Easy as 1-2-3... but we really need to verify the numbers as advertised, just like Wireless where the reality that 54 Mbit/s often means 20 Mbit/sec due to error correction and encryption.
So today we'll test the Sitecom Homeplug 500 Mbps plus kit, a kit that can be expanded with more than two Ethernet over power adapters to create an extensive network and Sitecom even offers a homeplug switch. Let's fire this review up and see how fast these things really are.
Sitecom 500 Mbps homeplug Ethernet review The Sitecom Powerline Ethernet adapters allow you to use your mains electricity circuit to transfer data, this way you can extend your network to wherever you have a free plug socket. The product we test today comes from Sitecom, their 500 Mbps plus Homeplug. The kit provides a connection of up to 500Mbits/sec. Divide that by 8 bits and you'd in theory would be able to see transfer speeds of 62.5 Megabyte per second. In practice, however we tested the maximum net data rate is much MUCH lower, 60~100 Mbits/sec - still that is faster than Wi-Fi and sufficient fenough or streaming high-definition video from say your PC with network shares to, for instance, your HTPC.
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