100Mbps < 500Mbps
500Mbps powerline link... but then trying to squeeze that through 10/100 ethernet ports? What on earth is the point of that? Would it have killed them to have spend the extra few cents on a proper gigabit chipset?
I currently use a cheap - 10 quid from eBay - Cisco four-port 10/100Mbps switch to feed the various devices in my living room that require a wired Ethernet connection to the network. The switch connects to the router, which happens to be one floor up and at the other end of my flat, by way of a 500Mbps powerline link. I’ve not …
Comparing raw bitrates of fundamentally different protocols can be near meaningless.
Ethernet supports full duplex operations so you will potentially be able to get nearer 200Mbps for a given link, it's also running on much better quality wiring so probably has significantly lower error correction and tollerances compared to Homeplug. Some protocols (like wireless) alternate between the hub and device communicating so you can only get at most half the data transfer in a particular direction, there's also differences in quite periods in protocols after a given device has transmitted.
That said it seems stupid not to have a gigabit chip - at the very least the ethernet connected devices would get a benefit when talking to each other. I've also never worked out why more powerline plugs don't have multiple ethernet ports - once you have one I can't believe adding a couple more adds much to the cost of production.
There are a variety of bits of powerline kit coming out now that do have gigabit ports. I'd be interested to know the potential throughput of these because I like powerline kit.
It seems more reliable for streaming and faster for file transfer compared to any wireless setup I've encountered, and it's useful for linking network segments in various parts of the house together.
Don't try speedtest.net - it won't tell you much about the speed of your internal network unless your Internet connection is not the bottle neck.
iPerf (or the friendlier JPerf) between a couple of supported devices will show what EoP will support. My experience has been that the utilities are reasonably accurate.
I don't think you'll ever get more than 100Mbps out of a 500Mbps powerline adapter.
And you would be wrong, as I manage a very solid 140Mbps actual throughput - tested with iperf, tcp throughput - between two Solwise 500-AV Piggies (pass-thru) with Gigabit PHY. Adapter-to-adapter rates are 270Mbps (Tx) and 286Mbps (Rx).
As to why some 500-AV units come with 10/100Mbit ports, it's because there are basically two chipsets that dominate 500-AV - the original AR7400 which supports Gigabit PHY, and the newer (and cheaper) AR7420 which supports only 10/100. This Devolo review unit is obviously based on the AR7420 chipset.
So if you want the best Homeplug performance, make sure you buy units based on the AR7400 chipset. The price difference is usually only a few pounds, but you could be lopping 40%-50% off your potential network TCP throughput and creating a network bottleneck by selecting the cheaper chipset.
In a steel-framed house that's partially wired with Cat5e, these became a godsend for getting Wifi into the adjoining granny-flat. Speed between the adapters was about 155Mb/sec, which was fine for XBox / Sky streaming, and it got around the nasty steel frame.
The only downside was the RCD between the main house and the granny-flat, so I had to use the Wifi to get past that.
In a nutshell, this is a great little box for extending a wireless network properly. Not like these wireless repeaters that just relay whatever noise they can detect. It geniunely sprouts a new instance of your wireless network in a separate location. RFI from powerline ethernet is a concern, but not with that particular house.
£100 well spent.
I've got a similar Zyxel PLA4231 adaptor (only 2 ethernet ports, no 5Ghz support, no power passthrough - but half the price). Works OK but gets a bit warn. Suffers from the same design flaw as this though - why put the ethernet ports at the top? If the design was flipped through 180 degrees it would be less top-heavy and the wires wouldn't be sprouting out all over the place.
4 port switch + homeplug AV 500, no WiFi hotspot but only £50. No power pass through though.
I have one of these up in the office and two older Devolo AV 200 homeplug units, one in the hallway by the router and one in the lounge by the TV.
The Zyxel works fine with these two Devolo units (even though they only support the older standard). Also the ethernet ports are on the bottom (though they are close together, so you have to pull the boot back if you're using a booted cable).
There used to be such things (back in the days of 85Mbps HomePlug)
Zyxel had P660HWP and Siemens also had one for about 150 quid or so (SpeedStream 2524 or something like that).
For some reason there doesn't appear to have been any combined devices with the later HomePlug specifications. Perhaps the faster PLC interferes too much in the close proximity and manufacturers don't want to bear the cost of extra shielding. Still surprising none are on offer even if at higher price.
Guess the only way at the moment is to find one at clearance or second hand.
Many mains sockets in UK residences are just a few inches above floor level, and the bottom of the powerline devices tends to be even lower. Trying to plug ethernet cables into sockets pointed to that floor can be a serious PITA - and may be entirely fruitless, or necessitate unplugging the unit entirely (thereby temporarily disconnecting anything else).
Ideally, all these devices would come in top/bottom socket variants so that buyers could select whichever they preferred, but as that's a serious pipedream, at least the availability of some models that are top-socketed gives us choice.
Gosh! You're not really suggesting that someone do that themselves without having some clipboard carrying jobsworth from the council inspect their work afterwards, are you?
I think I'll go AC on this, as I also DIY electrics.......and all the other things that the stateist nazis say I shouldn't.
Powerline devices often warn that they won't work with extensions.
My own experience with crappo devices supplied by BT (didn't work at all even in the same room) and Netgear (didn't work in most of the flat) is that you should only buy these devices if the retailer agrees to a full refund if your home's wiring turns out to be unsuitable.
"I think I'll go AC on this, as I also DIY electrics.......and all the other things that the stateist nazis say I shouldn't."
You might want to check your council's building control website for an update then. The rules changed in April and a lot of what you weren't previously supposed to DIY without nanny's supervision is now OK again. Unless you're installing stuff near a bath, shower, swimming pool, etc. you're probably not breaking the rules any more.
Of course, relaxing the rules hasn't seen nearly as much publicity as when they were introduced in 2005. That's mainly because the electricians bodies aren't nearly so keen on things going back the way they were. I wonder why?
Many power adapters I have (e.g. phone chargers) appear to be "upside down" in the UK, especially if the square-pin assembly (for the mains) is obviously interchangeable for other national standard pin assemblies.
It could be that elsewhere in the world your adapters are the "right way up", but for some reason dear old Blighty's standards mean they're incongruous over here.
Most of their kit does have the ethernet ports at the bottom, this one seems to be the exception.
A client had a couple of Devolos and seemed they to work, I gave them a try and have not regretted it so far. They're not cheap, but they do what they're supposed to and the software works the way it should which makes a pleasant change.
I have been using powerline ethernet for the last 5 years or so now, mainly Devolo devices.
I mainly use these for things that do better with a wired connection, such as the PS3, 360 and my desktop etc. After using these, I would strongly recommend them over wireless. I recently picked up six TP Link devices running at the poweline ethernet equivalent of 500mbps from PC World and was very pleased to see they work perfectly with my Devolo devices.
I know a lot of people complain that these interfere with the electrics in the house, all I have to say on this is that if your electrics are in good shape, i.e. not 50 years old, then you are going to be OK. Even in a block of flats, they work (and, in lightening storms as I found out last night).
Are you mixing and matching between manufacturers? Didn't think you could do that.
On thing putting me off buying a powerline adaptor is extending the network. If I have several units of one make and can no longer find that manufacturer (or they no longer make that unit) and I want to add another link (eg hook the shed up for a bit of alone time) I'd be annoyed that I'd have to replace all the existing adaptors to be able to increase from 3 to 4 points.
I used DDWRT installed on an elderly and otherwise unused Buffalo router to create a repeater bridge. It sits behind the TV, extends the range of the wireless network and provides ports for the TV, PVR etc. So far at least, it's been set and forget.
There's a large range of supported routers and if you don't have one in the spares box second hand routers are cheap.
The RFI issue is a significant one, as it is currently only affecting a small group of people it doesn't get the attention it deserves. The but is when these homeplug things get faster and start offering 1Gbps speeds you will have interference to FM radio and the emergency services which is likely to impact a much larger group of people.
I completely uinderstand the ease of use that the devices offer but the short signtedness of the regulators will come back and bite all of us when something we really care about is interfered with.
Solwise has some kit that can transmit over Live/Protective earth as well as usual Live/Neutral which may or may not help in your case.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Solwise other than happy customer of their old 85Mbps adapters that are still going strong bridging 2 network segments.
I've got the Devolo dlan 500 AV Triple+ coupled with a Devolo dlan 500 AVplus. the Triple+ has three gigibit ports (facing downwards). the AVplus has one gigbit port facing downwards.
As I write the AVplus is reporting 178Mbps whilst the AVTriple+ is reporting 103Mbps - just power cycled the AVplus and the 'cockpit' is now showing 173Mbps whilst the AVTriple+ is now up to 198Mbps.
These units will do until I can figure out how to run cat5e behind plasterboard without damaging the plasterboard or the cable.....
An article in The Oldie recommended it, and an (old) person of my acquaintance bought one for use in his "man shed" in the garden, where (he said) "my Mac won't connect, my pc will". I was asked to rescue him 'cos he was lost!! Pity he didn't have access to your excellent review, he might have realised a) he didn't need all its functionality b) Devolo's documentation is pathetic and c) he could have bought a cheaper and easier piece of Devolo kit.
Slight problem of more money than sense (PC & Mac) and who the hell writes the reviews in The Oldie and assumes tec knowledge.
As soon as I moved to fibre, it totall screwed the white BT fibre modem to the point I was getting <10% or max sync speeds.
Tried different brands too as I had both Delovo and D-Link.
It was only laziness that'd stopped me running an ethernet cable for some years anyway so not too difficult to do but I wouldn't mind knowing if anyone else has seen similar issues or if I just happened to get a dodgy modem?
These things really do look ugly on the wall like that. Is it really not possible for them to add a normal plug/lead to the device without inpedence?
Also for the people talking about RFI problems, is that a problem with just the normal bog standard non-wifi ones? Why the hell would a wired connection put out RFI interference.
And what about where this tech comes from, it was designed to run internet from the power utlity companies, no adsl, no phone line rental, no fibre. Is that just too much of an industry changer or is it no good? We got powerline tech, the trial was supposedly a success, so why is it not happening?
"These things really do look ugly on the wall like that. Is it really not possible for them to add a normal plug/lead to the device without inpedence?"
Every manufacturer recommends plugin direct to the wall socket. I've used them on extension leads without any real difference in performance. I suspect the recommendation to plug into wall socket instead of extension lead is to avoid issues with substandard extension leads and perhaps also to make it less likely for the units to overheat due to poor ventilation being orientated differently, potentially covered by junk/clothing/anything else that may be lying on the floor.
Obviously the extension lead must not be one of the fancy filtered ones as that will hurt/kill the PLC transmission.
"Also for the people talking about RFI problems, is that a problem with just the normal bog standard non-wifi ones? Why the hell would a wired connection put out RFI interference."
Yes. WiFi has nothing to do with it. Because the way PLC works is my modulating the signal into the electrical wiring. And the electrical wiring is rather long. And what is a long wire? A bloody good antenna, that's what.
There is some difference on how much interference the PLC kit generates depending on the manufacturer and model.
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