Feeds

back to article Devolo dLAN 500Mb/s powerline network adaptor review

Devolo's dLan 500 AVmini adaptors score highly for me for two reasons: they operate at powerline's highest speed grade, 500Mb/s, and they're compact. Powerline adaptors used to be fairly small, but that was back in the 14Mb/s days of HomePlug 1.0, one of two original competing powerline standards of the early 2000s. Upping the …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

500Mbps?

I like the look of their 200Mbps kit - three Ethernet ports and wifi too.

Also not sure that 500Mbps is really necessary, since the average UK broadband speed is still well under 10Mbps...

0
0

Re: 500Mbps?

500Mbps might be overkill if you're only using the adapter to link to the outside world, but once you start throwing files between devices on your local network you'll find yourself wanting as much speed as you can get your hands on...

4
0

Re: 500Mbps?

average UK broadband may still be under 10Mbs (but my VM has just jumped to 60Mbs!) but if you are using homeplugs then you probably have several PCs/devices around and then may well have a NAS or are sharing files/media from a PC. If so then higher speed may be beneficial - I've just added a couple of gigabit switches to my LAN setup so can get gigabit connections between main couple of PCs and a HP microserver that I am in process of setting up as replacement for current NAS ... quick comparison on transfer speed between PC and old NAS which has 100Mbs port and to microserver with 1Gbs port (and also better processor and newer disk etc) was stunning ... there definitely was a 10x speedup.

0
0
Coat

Cue radio hams in 1, 2, 3......INCOMING!!!!!!!!

9
2
Silver badge
FAIL

Tests?

Comparative tests with 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz a/b/g/n?

Comparison with wired Cat5e via 1Gbps Switch?

Effect of all the light sockets with cheap CFL lamps?

Spectrum analyser measuring EMC?

Effect of 5 x PC / Laptop cheap PSUs

Effect of cheap lightweight phone charger and flat phone on same socket

Effect of Filtered extension strip/non-filtered to connect it to a skirting board

Effect of plugging both ends and gear at both ends into 2 x UPS

Or is this just Shiny Gadget Advertising?

10
1

Re: Tests?

It's a Reg review/roundup, meaning it's of fuck all value other than to be a five minute diversion from work.

"But it is work related; I'm on The Register, look!"

5
1

Re: Tests?

Add to that list the effect of trying to run multiple networks of similar / other powerline gear on the same / nearby wiring.

3
0
Thumb Down

Re: Tests?

Strewth, Mage, if you're so anal you need that level of testing before buying a 60 quid doohickey, you can buy 'em yourself and post your own results. Me, I don't need all that nonsense here.

Even 200meg powerline is better than 5GHz Wi-Fi. No one I know has Cat 5 and a gigabit switch at home, even the guy I know who does the IT at a major Japanese bank. Ditto UPS. The review talks about using power gangs. Powerline folks have been saying for years you shouldn't use surge protectors.

FWIW, I use this stuff and I get decent - well, good enough - speeds with all sorts of stuff plugged in around it. No fluoro lights, though; don't have any. It all lives behind the TV, and I'm not reaching down there every time I need to charge my phone. Who would?

7
3
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Tests?

This is a review of domestic consumer kit, not a government science lab evaluation, so we approach it accordingly.

Second guessing what punters *may* connect in close proximity to a powerline adaptor - UPS, hairdryers, USB power adaptors, toasters, lawnmowers, whatever - testing these situations and publishing the numbers is likely to yield a very long list of numbers 90% of readers are not interested in, and about which some bright spark will grumble that we didn't test with the brand of curling tongs he uses.

Fair point, other reader, about stand-by power consumption. I didn't measure it; I will make sure we do so in future. Devolo quotes "under 0.5W".

6
4
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Cat5 and Gigabit

Well, no, they wouldn't have, you want at least Cat6 for a stable gigabit network. Just like I have here at home, in fact.

GJC

3
4
Meh

Re: Tests?

I have my house wired with cat 5E with a gigabit switch and Draytek router with a phone line, all in the built in cupboard with all the power switches. Worth every penny £440 including installation. £125 was just the router, it handles all my VOIP calls too so I don't need the voice line except for emergencies. I have a UPS in there too so I have always protected power. If I can do it, why can everyone else? It's a fast, reliable purpose built infrastructure that ensures I have a secure internal network and has room for future expansion without much additional cost or effort. The router is capable of bonding 2 ADSL lines, manages 2 VOIP lines with room for 8 more, I have added to the kit a personal 6TB file server to stream films to my TV and a email manager ensuring my email is always available even if my ISP email goes down, and gives me 2 back ups too. It's a small price to pay for reliable, secure internet around the home.

3
3
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Tests?

Comparative tests with 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz a/b/g/n?

Pointless. Comparing apples and oranges. Comparison against other powerline networking products used with the same domestic power wiring and household appliances is at least apples with apples.

Comparison with wired Cat5e via 1Gbps Switch?

Pointless. A 1Gbps switch gives you 1Gbps end to end, and no variability from interference etc. That translates to at least 100Mbyte/sec data transfer on any sufficiently agile PC and NIC.

Effect of all the light sockets with cheap CFL lamps?

You'd need to characterize the CFL lamps. Cheap but minimally EU legal? Cheap and illegal? How illegal? Are any two bulbs even from the same batch comparable in terms of powerline interference? Do they change with ageing (I know that the gas discharge does). And if you did all this, how is a reader supposed to apply it to his random collection of mains wiring and appliances?

Frankly, buy it, try it, fiddle around with your own domestic locations and extension cables and so on if you can be bothered. It works well enough for most people. Be aware your mileage will vary from the reviewers', sometimes very much so. If you want seriously predictable and consistent network performance, install cat-5e and a switch!

2
1
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Cat5 and Gigabit

you want at least Cat6 for a stable gigabit network. Just like I have here at home, in fact.

Overkill. Gigabit was specified for cat-5. Experience with cat-5 in the field suggested insufficient margin to tolerate all the kinks and scrapes that the cable plant got subjected to in the field, and cat-5e was born. I doubt you can still purchase non-e plain cat-5. Cat-5e is extremely widely used for Gbit ethernet (such as everywhere in my workplace) and has no stability issues at all provided you respect the distance limits (max 94m of fixed wiring with max 6m total of patch cable at the ends, no joins in the middle. If the cable run in the middle is considerably shorter, as it usually is, you can take some liberties with longer patch cables at the ends).

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Tony: "we are not the government"

Given that the government isn't testing these things for causing lots of interference, in fact is actively stonewalling any complaints about any such quaint notion, there's a bit of a gap left to be filled. But not for el reg, it's got better things to do than to really put kit to the test, and of course chumming up to the local HAMs, armed with loudmouth kit and a couple of beers to get going is also something el reg just doesn't do. Thanks for clearing that up then.

1
1

futureproof?

I've got a couple of the 500 AV plus and a 500 AVtriple.

They work well: a pc previously connected via wifi now has a solid, reliable connection, while another which had previous been directly connected to the modem/router hasn't had any degradation at all.

I got the 500mbps version for futureproofing: our exchange is due to get fibre broadband this year.

OK it won't use all the bandwidth available to the 200mbps kit, but stick in a NAS, and a bit of interference* as neighbours start using the same kind of kit, and you might be hitting your head on that ceiling.

*I have no idea if your neighbours powerline network really will affect yours. I'd just be very surprised if it didn't, at least slightly.

0
0
Go

Solwise

+1 for the Solwise PIGGY parts here - bought two a few weeks back and I get approximately 300mbit up and down. Cheaper that the Devolos as well, and the software handles firmware upgrades.

2
0

Agree with all above asking for further information in the review.

Quiescent power consumption figure would also be useful.

1
1

Watch out for cheap LED lights

I've used their 200AV units for years. Mostly work great but lots of electrical noise isn't good for them obviously. Cheap CFL, dirty fridge compressors and surge suppressors make their life harder no doubt, but they are still usable.

I found that when I installed LED GU10 spot lights in the kitchen that killed the signal totally. I had to put the "strongest" ferrite round the cable in the light mount I could fit and even then it still hammers the performance.

I'd like to know how much power they use in use and when idle? and how good they are at dealing with line noise.

1
0
Flame

Re: Watch out for cheap LED lights

Ironic is it not, that PLT can only operate correctly if everything else on the mains actually meets their EMC regulations and do not load the mains with noise!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Solwise stuff

Hands up that my employer resells it so I get it at trade prices (and having a fairly unique name means i'm going Anon ;-) ) but I've found that a single port Solwise 500 thingy at the router, and a 'four port switch' one up in my bedroom gives me plenty of punch for throwing disk images from my NAS downstairs to my main machine (a quad core, 16gb RAM monster) for running VMs, playing back HD movies etc.

I was using Wifi - which was genuinely painful - not any more.

Crappy old mains in a crappy old flat, dodgy fridge, tumble drier, cheap TV, cordless phone/mobile adapters all over the place, never 'properly' tested the speed but I'd say about 50MByte/sec between gigabit PHYs is a fair guess - plenty quick for most stuff.

Overall though, powerline networking gear at '500mb' is now 'good enough' for 90% of applications IMHO - if you had doubts about it, unless you are running some pretty weird kit (pre-filtered/surgeprotected sockets etc) then there's no reason not to try it.

3
0
Silver badge

…enough latency compensation to deal with any the powerline adaptors add.

It would have been nice to measure and quantify this for us. Do these adaptors add in the order of 0.1ms, or in the order of 20 ms?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: …enough latency compensation to deal with any the powerline adaptors add.

Unless you are playing lemming, Kiss gaming goodbye.

0
1

This post has been deleted by its author

The socket position ,along with the design, means that these would not fit in most of the sockets in my house. I realise newer properties may have the sockets higher up on the wall, but all of mine are on the skirting boards.

Extending upwards would be fine, as would having a socket on teh top or side, but goign downwards and having the socket on teh bottom means I'd have to ignore these as an option

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
Facepalm

Think laterally

Unscrew the socket, rotate 180 degrees, screw back in place. It's only convention that the earth pin goes at the top and the switch (if any) is "down" for on. Obviously, make sure you don't strain the mains wiring in the socket box when you do this.

2
0
Thumb Up

Are there any of these in power socket form factors?

I'd be happy to refit all my socket fronts with plug sockets and an RJ45 socket - as opposed to plugging in these beasts - I'm 'guessing' the bulk stop that happening currently.

Happy with wifi at the moment, but if I could just replace the socket fronts it'd be an interesting argument.

0
0
Boffin

Re: Are there any of these in power socket form factors?

"BS 7671 prohibits Band I and Band II cables sharing the same cable enclosure or multicore cable unless: every cable is insulated for the highest voltage present"

0
0

Re: Are there any of these in power socket form factors?

I haven't got a copy of 7671 to hand to see what the actual wording is, or whether (as with so many of the BS/EN standards I do have to work with in my professional life) there's scope for creative interpretation of the standard. However, I struggle to see what the difference would be between repackaging one of these adapters into something that would fit a standard back box, vs plugging the present adapter into the LNE connections provided by the existing socket that occupies said back box... Either way you'd have the same mechanical/electrical separation internally between the mains and network connections, the only difference would be that instead of connecting to the mains via the 3-pin prongs, you'd be going via screw terminals.

0
0

Re: Are there any of these in power socket form factors?

problem is that most UK backboxes are 25mm deep. That means there is no room for anything to be mounted inside. You'd have to pull out the existing backboxes and replace with 45mm ones including chasing out the brick/block behind. If you're going to that much trouble it's much easier just to fit cat5E externally around your house.

0
0

Re: Are there any of these in power socket form factors?

There is a 200-AV Homeplug with four RJ45 sockets that is the size of a standard UK double mains socket - you even get a spare mains socket (as the RJ45's take up the second mains socket).

It's expensive, and IMHO not sure it's worth the extra cost and hassle of installing it. The only reason I can see for installing one is if you plan on using it in a public area, as it would be much harder to steal.

If you're just looking for something that is neat and tidy, I'd go for one of these instead, as they're easier to install (just a standard plug and mains cable to the wall socket), cheaper, faster (500-AV not 200-AV), and you can easily hide it out of the way (along with all of the connected the RJ45 cables) amongst your kit.

The 200-AV Homeplug wall plate might initially appear neater, but just wait until you're running 4x RJ45 cables up to it - it will be a mess.

0
0
Boffin

Re: Are there any of these in power socket form factors?

I'm pretty sure that the Cat5e that I've used has all been rated to lots of volts for that very reason.

0
0
Silver badge

Why should one test it?

I mean they all probably share exactly the same chipset, having exactly the same circuit towards the power line. So any differences you measure probably just random.

0
2

@GrumpyJoe

There was a round up on reghardware a while ago for just such a thing - you swapped the socket faceplate for one with a single 13A socket and four RJ45s - something like this: http://www.etcelec.co.uk/Power-Ethernet-PE-200AV-T1000-Double-Socket-and-4-x-RJ45-Outlet-119

0
0

Reliable

One thing I've found for the Devolos - they are much better ventilated than the Netgears and so don't have the same tendency to cook themselves.

I've had four of the 200Mb devlos in operation in three flats over the past two years with no problems anywhere.

Prior to that I went through four netgears in six months with RMA replacements.

0
0

Gigabit

The page you link to apparently has gigabit adapters, why not review those?

http://www.solwise.co.uk/net-powerline-gig-pl-1000m.htm

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Gigabit

Because they're shit, and don't conform 100% to the Homeplug standard using some quasi-standard of Gigles (the chipset vendor) own making. They're no faster than 500-AV (often slower) and don't work with all 200-AV/500-AV devices - pointless contraptions that aim to sell based on "bigger number" marketing. Avoid.

0
0

The speed you get..

The performance of these sort of "plugs" pretty much depends on the quality of your electric system in your house. My tip would be, try to avoid extension-leads, as they seem to decrease performance dramatically. And if your through- put seems very low, try another wall socket nearby, and use ordinary twisted pair for the last bit. We tried the D-link ones to connect from the adsl -router to the downstairs TV-room (wireless did not reach to down there). the first power socket we tried down there gave us a drizzle of bits less then 1mb/s out of 500. The socket in the hallway, gave us over 150mb/s. And yes we removed the extension-leads in both ends and used longer tp-cables instead.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.