Netgear launches next-gen powerline Ethernet kit
But no Gigabit performance just yet
Netgear has announced what may well be the world's first consumer networking products based on the as-yet-unratified IEEE P1910 next-gen powerline Ethernet standard.
Netgear's Powerline AV 500 series comprises single-adaptor and two-adaptor starter kits. Each adaptor delivers speeds of up to 500Mb/s, Netgear said, fed through a Gigabit Ethernet port.
Of course, the devil is in the "up to", since no powerline product - or wireless, for that matter - has yet delivered real-world speeds that come close to the theoretical maxima used to market them.
Adaptors based on the 200Mb/s HomePlug AV standard, for example, are so unlikely to go beyond 100Mb/s that no supplier actually equips them with a better Ethernet connector than 10/100.
Belkin, for one, offers a "Gigabit" networking powerline adaptor - reviewed here - and while it exceeds 100Mb/s, it delivers speeds a long way off 1000Mb/s.
The Belkin adaptor uses proprietary technology from chip maker Gigle, so it will be interesting to see how the Netgear kit, based on a spec defined by many different companies, fares. Even with a 500Mb/s cap, it could out-perform the Belkin adaptor - and will certain fly in comparison to 802.11n Wi-Fi.
IEEE P1901 is just one next-gen powerline standard. The other is G.hn, backed by the International Telecom Union (ITU). P1901 was originally set to be compatible with G.hn, but that plan was rejected late last year. It will form the basis for the next version of HomePlug.
G.hn kit is expected later this year.
Netgear's adaptors - some with pass-through power sockets - will be out later this autumn, priced from $159 (£103) per pair. ®
Special Report G.hn-ing for gigabit
Just dont try and use any radio receivers, or DAB and may be a
problem with the airband if used near a airport.....These units are
"Eventually I got tired of this "musical chairs" and switched from Solwise PL-200's to Devolo AVsmart+ adapters, which have proven to be 100% reliable, although strangely enough, slightly slower than the Solwise ones."
Not strange at all. I've seen this with modems, with wireless adapters, all kinds of kit where there's multiple speeds to choose from -- brand A will just try blasting along at full speed or close to full speed, while brand B in the same conditions will recognize conditions aren't good enough for that and drop the speed down a tick.. so A will run faster for those moments when it's working, while B is a little slower but actually reliable.
Got to wonder..
..how far up the pipe the signal travels. Can a neighbour on the same phase snarf your packets? Everyone attached to the same line coming from the substation? What happens if your neighbour also has power line ethernet?
Wonder how long it'll be before WPA for power lines?
Some houses have the outlets balanced across two or more phases. You have to make sure the two outlets you link are on the same phase. This can't really be addressed. If you can't find a location where the far end adaptor works, move the first adaptor to a different outlet.
Powerline adaptors in US and Canada can be challenging too, as each circuit comes out of a breaker panel, rather than the busway-like system used in the UK. The extra there and back wiring can degrade the RF. Though most homes in the US and Canada only have single phase electrical systems.
As far as reliability goes, I've heard bad things about Solwise. But I've never used them. But it seems that IPTV STBs are really driving powerline networking development now.
James: I'm in a similar position - some wireless hardware (like my Canon printer) work fine. Other stuff, like the main Windows PC, kept dropping connection. So I went to PLE to get around this - and it worked fine for a while. Then I started get a problem where a particular client adaptor (one connected to the PC's, rather than the "server" adaptor connected to the router) would fail and I'd have to swap in a spare. Then, when after a couple of days the "spare" would fail, I could swap in the old adaptor which would work fine ... for a couple of days.
Eventually I got tired of this "musical chairs" and switched from Solwise PL-200's to Devolo AVsmart+ adapters, which have proven to be 100% reliable, although strangely enough, slightly slower than the Solwise ones. I wonder if these new Netgear adaptors have the musical chair "feature" or are Devolo-reliable?
But then again, someone's bound to point out that ALL PLE adaptors are the spawn of the devil because of the havoc they wreak on radio hobbyists.