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back to article Netgear XEPS103 powerline power brick

We at Register Hardware like powerline networking - using mains electricity cabling to send data throughout your house - very much, but an issue with most powerline adaptors is their 'one power socket, one data port' implementation. Netgear XEPS103 powerline AC adaptor Netgear's XEPS103: it's a power brick, a powerline network …

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Passthrough Anyone??

Does anyone know why none of the powerline adapters currently on the market provide a psssthough socket for the mains power?

After all, this has been a feature of plug-in time switches for eons.

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Real-world benchmarks

Can we get some real-world speed benchmarks of these devices? Can you stream 350Mb-per-44-min DivX, for example? How fast does a 2Gb file copy go? Do speeds degrade if there are more than two powerline devices on the same ring main? Do they work across ring mains, e.g. between the top and bottom floors of my house?

And how do all these results compare with the incompatable 200meg Powerline products?

I've googled these sorts of things before but solid information on Powerline adaptors seems to be quite hard to come by.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re. Passthrough

Most vendors avoid passthrough because, they claim, adding it (a) makes the device bigger and (b) means it has to go through a whole heap more certification, so they choose the easy route and avoid.

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Typo

"The only limit is the capacity of the 85Mbps powerline link, much lower than 85Mbps - more like 205Mbps - in the real world."

I don't think you mean 205Mbps, be interested to know what the real figure is.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re. Real world benchmarks

You can find Register Hardware's powerline Ethernet reviews here:

http://search.reghardware.co.uk/?q=powerline+ethernet+review

There's a fair bit on powerline here too:

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/04/10/how_wifi_working_again/

In general, you'll get 15-20Mbps through an 85Mbps link, and 40Mbps or more through a 200Mbps link. Both are faster than Wi-Fi. I've never noticed any appreciable speed loses when I've used more than two powerline adaptors, but there can be an issue here if you use lots, say 16 more more because that's the maximum number of links each unit's memory can cache.

Assuming my house is typical - ie. ring main upstairs, ring main downstairs - I have no problem getting a powerline device upstairs talking to one downstairs.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re. Typo

Fair cop, guv.

Its 20.5Mbps - missing decimal point...

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Nice kit..

In an ideal world you'd probably use a Devolo 200AVDesk instead - but it's a fair bit more pricey. I have two, and they work perfectly.

The only thing I'd note is that when/if you update to Homeplug AV it doesn't work well with Homeplug 1.0/Turbo. Whilst it will coexist, both networks will have their performance severely impaired - there's a review about this, somewhere.

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XE104 equivalent been around for a while

I have been using Powerline adapters for several months very happily. I got mine from solwise, who have lots of very good information on the realities of Powerline throughput - see http://www.solwise.co.uk/net-powerline.htm for more info including an adapter with 3 Ethernet sockets on it (one more than the XE104 and cheaper).

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Filtering other appliances to improve performance

One technique that might significantly improve the performance of powerline networking would be to install low-pass filters on most or all other devices that connect to your mains, especially consumer electronics devices and computer power supplies. The reason: harmonics from the switching power supplies are echoed into the mains connection due to poor filtering in the PS (saves money), resulting in RF noise bouncing about your mains.

I encountered similar problems when using X-10 PLC devices in my home several years ago. I replaced my existing power strips (usually the US$10 cheapies found at Wal*Mart) with better ones that included a 0-20kHz low-pass filter and ensured that the mains cables for computers, televisions, etc. were connected to one of these. This made the X-10 (which uses a 40kHz carrier) work MUCH better.

Now, I'm assuming that the various powerline network devices use something other than baseband for their transmission, and that the carrier(s) for the powerline network are above 20kHz. Plugging an oscilloscope or spectrum analyzer into the mains and looking at the noise and signal profiles would be a quick way to check on this theory.

Hope this helps!

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passthrough

Passthrough socket on a netgear Powerline unit?

Keep 'em peeled this winter.....

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optimising the mains for powerline devices

A passthrough ( Homeplug compatible products on their way Q4 ) has both pros and cons.Yes they provide a clean up point for potential disturbers to the mains medium , but only for a single socket . You could use this to attach a powerstrip

and filter out numerous devices but you have to be careful not to overload it.

The amount of protrudence can also be an issue where space is tight behind furniture .The best solution I have seen is a Homeplug enable powerstrip . I have seen ones made by Asoka and TII so far, and more on the way . These powerstrips have filtered sockets and Homeplug built in.

Its also pretty easy to improve the Homeplug performance by putting some distance between the plug adapters and disturbers. just move to the next socket wall plate for example .

a few good tips ,

avoid close proximity to low energy lamps and cheap powersupplies ( phone charger types) as these have an impedance modulation effect to the powerline signal and can knock 15-20% off data rate capacity . ( 75 to 100 % hit on the proprierty non-HomePlug based devices - avoid these !! ) .

do not plug in the Homeplug adapters into surge protected powerstrips as these can shunt the signal .

btw , the HomePlug communication frequency band is between 1.8mhz to 29.98mhz but includes notched areas inbetween, that avoid potential interference with Amateur Radio bands.

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Jez

Got one of these!

Just bought one of these (simply replaced the existing PSU of my DG834G wireless router), and it was working within, oh about 2 seconds - these things are seriously impressive.

I've got this one plugged into a 4-way power strip along with HIFI, MediaPC etc, and the other one also on a 4-way power strip, along with the other PC, monitor etc. Absolutely no problems, even though they say you should use them directly in a wall socket.

And yes, Richard, streaming 350Mb/44min Divx episodes is not a problem (for me anyway)

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Jez

Got one of these!

Just bought one of these (simply replaced the existing PSU of my DG834G wireless router), and it was working within, oh about 2 seconds - these things are seriously impressive.

I've got this one plugged into a 4-way power strip along with HIFI, MediaPC etc, and the other one also on a 4-way power strip, along with the other PC, monitor etc. Absolutely no problems, even though they say you should use them directly in a wall socket.

And yes, Richard, streaming 350Mb/44min Divx episodes is not a problem (for me anyway)

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bitrate capacity coverage against noise is the key here

Its not the size of the file here that counts, its the ability to cover the mains topology with its extreme hostile environment , with the required bitrate needed for the applications.

I have done a full meshed test in my home with the HomeplugAV 200 devices ,with everything switched on as normal and achieve at least 55mbs on every socket using Iperf UDP point to point . more than enough for a full 20mbs HD 1080i stream from my PC to DMA .

The proof of the pudding here is the robustness to cope with switches going on and off , hoovers and hairdryers and all the rest . they do have some impact but the user is unaware using Homeplugs . I cannot say the same for the non-Homeplug devices as they suffer badly under real world scenarios.

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