back to article Devolo dLan AVplus

It has taken Devolo a while to come up with a set of powerline Ethernet adaptors with pass-through power sockets in them, but here, at last, they are. Devolo dLan AVplus Devolo's dLan AVplus: powerline with pass-through power The dLan 200 AVplus is essentially Devolo's dLan 200 AVeasy adaptor stretched to accommodate the …

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Boffin

Why oh why oh why!

Is there some reason why almost all these power socket network plugs always extend below the plug rather than above? I currently have four sitting around doing nothing because the new house I have moved into has all the plug sockets too close to the floor to plug any adapter in.

I don't think I have ever seen a plug socket so close to the ceiling that you can't plug something in :/

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Solution

I have Comtrend 200mbps adaptors which have pass through sockets and best of all the ethernet port is on the top, so the adaptor can still be used with sockets close to the floor ;-)

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Pirate

More Smoke?

Don't forget CAT5 cable is better and no interference and cheaper.

Often WiFi is better (try 5.8 & 2.4)

Typical speed is 30Mbps to 40Mbps.

These can reduce your DSL speed or interfere with Radio.

These also may be cheating on spirit of EMC regulations.

http://www.rsgb.org/plt/

If the makers of Power Line Networking continue to test for EMC the way they do the incentive is on CFL, plug top chargers and PC PSUs etc to save money on interference suppression and then these won't work.

http://www.techtir.ie/forums/showthread.php?t=1843

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Biased, much?

You're not helping your cause by suggesting solutions that are not practical.

Wifi isn't better - it has more frequent dropouts and can be sniffed more easily if not using WPA2.

CAT 5 is the fastest and most reliable solution, but putting in cables is non trivial and in some cases not permitted.

It is also not cheaper by the time installation is factored in. Homeplug is relatively cheap, trivial to install and works without issues.

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Stop

Avoid

I bought a set of Devolo powerlan adapters (the standard AV ones not the power pass through ones reviewed here but essentially the same networking hardware) and they were complete rubbish. Of the six I bought four simply did not work.

Poor quality.

Buy another brand, any brand.

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Alert

Beware reliability problems!

I'd be very wary about the reliability of these devices. I have a pair of Devolo 200Mbps AVEasy adapters that work perfectly and I've been trying to add a third "plug" for most of this year. So far I have received 3 devices that have all failed after a short period (minutes in one case). Basically the plug works when first activated but after sending some traffic they get hot and then abruptly drop off the network. Allow them to cool and they work again but that's not much use.

I only want to stream SD video across them (MPEG2), so I'm looking for around 6Mbps performance which is exactly what they advertise on the packaging - I've never got close to the mythical 200Mbps, even 100Mbps is pure fiction for these devices.

By the way, if someone from Dabs is reading this, sort out my RMA please, it's been months now!

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FAIL

Glad I ain't the only one...

...having a problem getting a RMA out of Dabs - they have a very strange interpretation of the SoGA

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compared to real ethernet?

you should put up some timings while transfering the same file using real 100Mb/s and 1000Mb/s ethernet for a nice comparison of same but different tech :)

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So convenient

It always amazes me that more people don't use these. I used WiFi for several years - suffering drop-outs, slow transfers, constant interference and forever having to reboot the router. Eventually, I got a pair of these to sort out problems with the wife's laptop (which seemed to suffer the most drop-outs). I plugged them both in, switched them on and - well, that was it. I've not had to touch them since. I now run a four-port version in my study - with my PC, NAS and printer plugged in - and one behind the telly for a media streamer. Speeds are excellent and I never get drop-outs or other connection issues. Plus, the baby-monitor now works properly. Mine cost about £40 a pair - maybe four times what I'd pay for a WiFi card but worth absolutely every single penny.

The WiFi is still there but it's only used by the Wii for BBC iPlayer. And guess what? It frequently drops out.

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Comtrend 902 for low mounted power points

As title. Comtrend's DH-10PF goes the other way (requiring a high mounted powerpoint). They interwork perfectly so my combination of 2x902 & 2xDH-10PF can address the awkward places.

Yes, wifi is easiest, cat 5 is best but if you have a 'difficult' building with lots of reinforced concrete or brick walls with solid walls then these are a god-send. Be careful to pre-check all your sockets are on the same circuit. In one client's premises we discovered some wiring was connected to his neighbour's circuit (and meter!).

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Nice but...

...can someone please make something like this that looks like a regular mains faceplate????

I'm about to rewire my house and to be honest, running extra cables is a big pain in the ar*e!!!

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Rewiring?

Then no excuse not to add Fibres, 4x Cat5E and 2 to 4 Sat grade Coax to each room. Then you can any Sat or TV PVR anywhere, any amount of networked stuff up to 1Gbps on copper and 10Gbbps or more on fibre.

No excuse if doing 2.5mm T&E which is much more awkward.

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Please Avoid Using Powerline Adapters

As discussed in this recent Reg article:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/11/rsgb_powerling_networking/

Please avoid using these RF Spectrum-polluting devices if at all possible. Thank you!

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Anonymous Coward

Interference (or revenge is sweet)

As a former victim of an amateur radio enthusiast, who's transmissions rendered every TV in the neighbourhood unwatchable and actually modulated the motor speed of the family VCR, I'm thinking of buying a few of these powerline adapters just to redress the balance nationally.

Since the amateur's kit was "legal", and it was "our fault that our TVs weren't well enough screened", then it's now the amateurs' turn to bettter screen their gear against our legal powerline adapters.

AC for obvious reasons...

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Revenge?

You should have done what he will do to you should you interfere with his legal kit. (Something yours will NEVER be!) and that is report it to OFCOM. When they finally stir they will make you "neutralise" your kit so as it no longer bothers LECAL radio users. 73 de Gary

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Best companion purchase for PLT adaptors....

...is a lump hammer, reduce the RF-radiating nasties to their constituent atoms before putting them in the bin.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Best companion purchase for PLT adaptors....

Oh dear, out of woodwork come the tinfoil hat brigade and the shortwave radio buffs.

Our next challenge: how to offend train spotters

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FAIL

Wrong.

This isn't any tinfoil conspiracy nonsense, it is a real physical effect that you can measure using standard equipment like RF detectors. Your dismissive and facetious response is just plain ignorant - why don't you go and actually read something about it, like all those BBC r+d department white papers?

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Trainspotters & Woodwork

Oh dear Mr Smith, too much Christmas pud? If a product is crap, neat but ultimately stupid by design and in defiance of the EMC regulations on purpose then throwing your toys out of the pram won't make it any better.

Goodness only knows what a short wave buff might be but I imagine it is something done by chavettes after graduating from the hairdressing university.

Here's hoping for better in 2010,

Charles Ivermee

M0WYM

www.radiowymsey.org

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@janimal

Solwise 200AV-PIGGY. Sorted, and work very well.

http://solwise.co.uk/net-powerline-av-push-piggy.htm

Any 1GB Powerline/Homeplug units coming from other manufacturers? I tend to avoid Belkin like the plague.

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Linux

Better than wifi any day

These devices work perfectly and are more reliable than WiFi anyday.

However in an ideal world we would have proper stuctured cabling at home and plety of Gig Ehernet on tap.

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WTF?

"best in class"?

So, in the summary you say these are best in class, but in the tests you show the Belkins, costing about the same, run at 3 times the speed. Could you define "best" in this context, as to me they seem to be near the bottom of the class,?

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Better than wifi

I bought some netgear adaptors earlier this year which solved the problems I was having streaming to a PS3 over wifi. 11g just did not cut it. They have worked faultlessly so far, also ethernet port is on side rather than bottom which might be useful for some other posters. I also use them on multi-plugs and power bars and they still work fine. Not tested the speed, but as they work much better than the previous wifi route I attempted I am not bothered.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: "best in class"?

Best in class for HomePlug AV-standard devices.

At top speed, the Belkins are not HomePlug AV-compliant. If you want compatibility, they will fall back to AV speeds, but are not as quick as the Devolos.

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Stop

Even worse security than Wifi.

>"Adaptors sharing your mains wiring that don't have buttons pressed during this time can't share data with your ones, so this is one clear way to protect your network if you're concerned that other people in the building - you're in a block of flats, say - may be able to tap into the network because their power lines are linked to yours. Signals shouldn't get past the meter in any case, but if you fear they might, the 128-bit encryption gives some peace of mind."

Err, but *unlike* wifi, which this little scheme makes seem like a paragon of security, those 128-bit encryption keys are blasted out over the air for a period of two minutes during which anyone who can see them can associate and subsequently read all further traffic in the clear. It will be trivial to write software that sniffs and joins networks automatically. The encryption is *no* protection - it's *only* the hope that the signals won't get past the meter that protects you.

The manufacturer has fluffed this badly, because I can see a trivially simple way that the association could be performed securely: you could require that the plug to be associated must be plugged into the passthrough on the back of the master plug that's initiating the key exchange sequence. Physical connection isn't something you can fake on the wire, so it would serve perfectly to keep out anyone without physical access to the hardware.

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Anonymous Coward

Wrong way up

I think the problem is the rather quaint UK plugs. In Europe you can plug-in whichever way round you like so you can choose to have the Ethernet coming out of the top or bottom, as you like.

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And for the same price...

... you can get enough cat-5 to build a proper reliable non-RF polluting network. Of course you'd have to lay some cable then... but for 10 times the speed -at least-, with added reliability and security, isn't it worth the trouble? The whole network-over-the-mains thing is a *bad* idea. It's only marginally faster than Wi-Fi, while lacking the flexibility.

If you have servers or desktop computers, a real wired network is the only good solution, and if we're talking mobile devices you'll want to go wireless anyway. I always wondered Who On Earth could possibly buy these things; I seem to have my answer. The only question now is Why The Hell? Beats me.

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Unhappy

@Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware

re: "tinfoil hat brigade"

My company does a lot with the short wave radio spectrum; should we not have some degree of protection from interference?

Our offices border a domestic environment and these things are a clucking pain in the ass and results in us having to spend time getting OFCOM to get rid of them so we can do some work.

Just pisses me off that we have to ensure our kit meets very high standards regarding emc compliance - so why should someone else's kit not!

Nice way to look at things in your response. I think they are a good idea to void the house of wires etc BUT they could have chosen plenty of other parts of the spectrum that would not cause all this fuss for users who've been there ages.

Very balanced.

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Across multiple RCDs

Yet to see this answered anywhere, but if the 2 sockets are on separate circuits (ie. each has its own RCD in the distribution unit), will they talk to each other?

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Anonymous Coward

Notching?

I thought Devolo (others too?) went to some lengths to try and prevent interfering with the amateur radio peeps by preventing these powerline units from transmitting on certain frequencies.

Don't get me wrong, i'd love to put some decent data cabling in, but the landlord may well have other ideas and wireless just sucks when you're clashing with other networks, walls, domestic appliances, etc, etc, etc...

I've read a lot about the units BT are distributing and what a crock they are, but unless they prove to be *really* unsafe, surely it's too late now?

While they're at it, maybe the blokes with their radios should team up with astronomers and get street lighting banned too :D

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Interference

Shame about the usual bunch of "homeplugz gives teh interferences!!!" posts that don't add anything to the debate. From what I've read online most of the radio ham complaints are about the notoriously noisy comtrend units, whereas this unit on review uses intellon silicon (wheras the comtrends use a different silicon vendor) and intellon state that they are endorsed by the american league of radio hams as they've worked out what frequencies to notch out. So do any of the ham brigade have any hard evidence that homeplug-av adaptors cause them interference in the bands they use, apart from hearsay?

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PLC homeplug radio interference

Yes, there is hard evidence. Look at my test with the Devolo 85Mbps units:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMR4wPDUM9g

The test is on one of the international shortwave bands, and the units have notches for the amateur radio bands. BUT there is also an increased noise level inside the amateur radio bands increasing the total noise level or "noise floor" on the amateur bands. The notches are not aduqate enough in many cases. But on the international shortwave listeners bands and other HF frequencies occupied by aironautical and maritime HF services the PLC/PLT devices are a BIG radio interference problem. At a distance of around 50 meters away from my house the Devolo units rendered the shortwave bands useless in most cases, totally blocking a lot of the broadcast stations. Amateur radio operators face an increasingly noisy radio enviroment these days caused by poorly designed electronic devices. Of course we are very concerned that intrusion on the HF frequency bands will make our frequencies useless for radio operation. That is also the reason that RSGB are about to take OFCOM to court for not acting against the PLT devices that cause us more and more problems. The PLC technology are a total disaster and I would like to see some better technology that does not cause radio interference problems.

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oh yeah...

"Our offices border a domestic environment and these things are a clucking pain in the ass and results in us having to spend time getting OFCOM to get rid of them so we can do some work."

How did that work? OFCOM can't barge into a private residence and demand the owner stop using a device that is both legal and licensed just because someone nearby made has made a speculative complaint.

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OFCOM & Enforcement

Actually they can. Just because a device has passed test does not mean that it is complaint with the EMC regulations when actually deployed.

A device can be fully complaint with the relevant EMC standards ( & these Powerline device are fare from compliant) yet not comply with the EMC directive when operated. one of the essential requirements of the directive is

"the electromagnetic disturbance generated does not exceed the level above which radio and telecommunications equipment or other equipment cannot operate as intended"

Enforcement where devices are preventing radio services operating as intended is the responsibility of national regulators, in the UK's case, OFCOM

EMC directive is readable in full here.

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/internal_market/single_market_for_goods/technical_harmonisation/l21008a_en.htm

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WTF?

Errrm..

I do work for clients who are based in some very varied environments. For example, one chap, moving to a cottage in Wales (well, someone had to) found that because of the solid 11" walls and heavy timber construction that wifi just didn't work at all. Laying Cat5 was out of the question given the cost and effort involved for just two people. (The single phone point was by the front door). So I recommended some Devolos. Worked perfectly five minutes after unpacking and have done for 18 months so far.

Another one: My Nightmare Client - if it can go wrong, it will go wrong - he runs his business from home, as does his wife, but they won't countenance wifi (the radiation thing <sigh> I know I know). Running Cat5 was, again, not an option because of the cost, disruption and re-decorating. Half a dozen Devolos, some of them plugged into 4-way extensions, and it works a treat - it's not terribly fast (yes I agree that it's definitely slower than wireless) but then speed is not a big issue here. And they can move them from room to room easily.

It's all very well some of you saying PLT's are the spawn of the devil but in some circumstances the only other choice is no service at all...

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Live and Let Live

We cannot always take the easiest way and still maintain a peaceable society - we have to give and take. Sometimes to avoid pollution we have to take extra care.

I notice that fans of satellite TV seem to run cable all over the place to get their fix of X Factor or whatever. Now if I lived in a cottage with five foot thick walls then it would be a cinch to take my CAT5 out through a hole in a window frame and in the same way where ever I wanted a connection. Cheap, fast connection and non polluting - simples!

Charlie.

M0WYM

www.radiowymsey.org

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PLT interference

I am a radio amateur and thus far I am not plagued by interference from these infernal interference devices.

There are a lot of misconceptions bandied about about the amateur radio fraternity and the interference that WE cause.

We are a licenced service and have to ensure that our equipment meets emc and other regulations and that we do not cause interference to other users of the spectrum. If we do, we can be REQUIRED to close down our station and could lose our licence. If computer buffs had to undergo the same examinations and training re: the nature and propogation of radio waves, they, or at least the responsible ones, would not condone the use of plt devices.

Plt devices have been subjected to independent tests which have shown that, despite carrying a CE stamp they DO cause interference in the order of 1000 times the permitted levels. The Comtrend ones issued with BT Vision are the worst but none are 'clean'. To say they are notched around the amateur bands is a bit like saying that providing that I notch my transmitter so that I only interfere with BBC2 and Channel 5, that would be OK as they are minority interest channels. The very existence of any notching is an ADMISSION of GUILT and that they DO cause interference, that alone should be enough to get these devices withdrawn from the marketplace (if only until they have been tested and made to conform to the legislation, which I fear is actually impossible). The only effective 'notch' for these devices is one covering the WHOLE of the HF spectrum from 0-30MHz.

Alan - G0BXU

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A technology of convenience

PLAs including these Develos are a flawed technology of convenience causing users of the HF spectrum intentional and illegal spectrum abuse and interference, for it's a fact injecting these signals into house mains wiring will cause the hash to be radiated over long distances.

As a legal user of the HF spectrum I will fight the use of these devices , many of which do not adhere to the EMC regulations laid down, by a considerable factor. Putting a non radiating distribution system in any property is possible, even your stone walled cottages. How do you think you get your mains and telephone systems into any house in the first place? But of course it’s just easier to use a technology of convenience regardless of the interference to others, isn’t it.

It’s about time users of PLAs understood and accepted the interference they cause to legal users of our short wave spectrum.

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PLT INTERFERENCE

One point not mentioned in various forums about this subject is the fact that a device can have a CE approval mark without having being formally tested/approved, there is a option in the regulation for the maker to self certify stating that the device meets approval without have to show any documentation to prove it unless challenged or a situation exists where it is necessary to prove it for legal reasons in court or to a relevant authority when challenged.

So a situation can exist( and has done for some products) that the product does not meet the marked standards but is marked as such and marketed. As I understand the guilty party is the person who signed the document not the reseller( eg not BT) unless the reseller has knowledge that the product does not meet the standard.

Steve

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