Netgear Powerline Nano 500 Ethernet-over-mains adaptor
Review When a vendor puts a colour-coded performance guide LED onto a powerline Ethernet product and admits that "best" throughput - the light is green, natch - is "greater than 80Mbps", you immediately realise how big a gap lies between the technology's reach and its grasp.
Netgear's latest adaptor, the XAV5101 500 Nano, is labelled "Powerline AV500 Gigabit", which will suggest to some that it can do 1Gbps. Or maybe that 500 tells you it's capable of 500Mbps.
The Nano 500 is much more compact than past Powerline adaptors
To clarify, the world "Gigabit" is there because the Nano has a 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet port on board. But, as the packaging reveals, the device has a maximum speed of 500Mbps. In the cheeky parlance of powerline networking kit makers, that speed adds the uplink and downlink speeds together - 250Mbps each way, in other words.
Either way, it's still a much bigger number than 80Mbps.
The Nano is compliant with the 200Mbps HomePlug AV specification which is part of the IEEE 1901 powerline standard, and it's this the delivers the higher speed. Bottom line: it'll work with most of the powerline adaptors out there, but not older HomePlug 1.0 devices.
The lower two LEDs show the Powerline link speed grade, and whether the device is connected to a local Ethernet port
The Nano's other selling point, beyond speed, is its size. It's rather smaller than many a powerline adaptor being not so very much larger than a mobile phone power brick. So even though the Ethernet adaptor faces downward, there's plenty of room to get the cable in and out if you're using the Nano in a low-mounted power sockets.
It's a lot smaller than last year's XAV5001 adaptor - it's 67 per cent of the latter's volume - which offered the same spec. But it too sports a data encryption button which gives you two minutes to press the equivalent button on all your other adaptors, at which point they'll jointly negotiate and share a 128-bit AES encryption key.
Netgear new and old: XAV5001 and XAV5101 back to back and to scale
Next page: Wire oh wire
http://www.ban-plt.co.uk/ contains all of the reports Ofcom tried to bury, but were forced to release by the Information Commissioners Office. It begs the question: If PLT is such a benign issue, why are government organisations covering up reports they commissioned in to the effects on the radio spectrum? Why do Ofcom keep saying they can introduce a Statutory Instrument to effectively curtail interference from PLT, yet fail to do so?
The simple fact remains: These devices, and many Switch Mode Power Supplies, Panasonic Viera Plasma televisions and a host of other electronic crud, are flouting the EMC Directive in order to make a quick buck and the UK national regulator (Ofcom) and various government departments (BIS, DMCS) are complicit in allowing this to happen. If you continue to support PLT manufacturers, plasma TV manufacturers, and assorted crud mongers, you cannot complain when everything in your house fails to work due to unacceptable levels of EMC interference!
I've got the Cat5e cable Mage, will you talk to my landlord and come install the cable please?
What's that? The landlord didn't let you drill his 1860's house? Oh.
The Tranny in the Kichen?
"Try as I might, I couldn't get the Netgear kit to interfere with either my DAB radio or the FM tranny I have in the kitchen."
Think yourself lucky the Gov snoop infrastructure isn't in place yet. You keep some poor gender-confused cow locked up in your kitchen, attempt to assault her with items of networking equipment and then write about it on a public web site?
You are bang-to-rights, sir!!!