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Netgear integrates HomePlug and Wi-Fi

Pitches 500Mb/s powerline too

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CES 2011 Netgear is to merge wireless and wired powerline networking, pitching at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a "hybrid" 802.11n Wi-Fi router with an AC adaptor that doubles up as a HomePlug AV adaptor.

It also launched what it claims is the first ever 500Mb/s powerline adaptor.

First, the hybrid box, the N3200 - model number WNXR2000 - which allows you to extend your network's reach out into wireless cold spots by roping in mains wiring. It has basic 200Mb/s HomePlug AV support integrated into its mains adaptor - just plug in a separate HomePlug AV adaptor to create the link.

You could use Netgear's new Internet Adaptor For Home Theatre adaptor - aka the XAVB5004 - a four-port unit that also supports 200Mb/s Homeplug AV.

But use the bundled router-end adaptor and the XAVB5004 will establish a direct link that runs at up to 500Mb/s. The inevitable caveat applies: don't expect anything near 500Mb/s in real-world usage.

That's particularly so if you use more than one of the four Ethernet ports on the back, each colour-coded from green through yellow to orange according to the priority the gadget assigns to packets passing through them.

The proof of Netgear's speed claim wil be in the eating. Belkin, for one, already offers a gigabit powerline adaptor that uses proprietary tech from Gigle to take the link past the limits of 200Mb/s - also an "up to" bandwidth - HomePlug AV.

Finally, Netgear also took the wraps off its Powerline AV 200 Nano, a diminutive 67 x 55 x 34mm 200Mb/s adaptor the company claims is the smallest in the world - handy if you're fed up with the space most 200Mb/s powerline adaptors take up.

No word yet on pricing and availability this side of the pond. ®

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