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 Powerline Neworking (review)

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bdquick
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PostSubject: Powerline Neworking (review)   Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:56 pm

This isn't a help question, but the Hardware section seems like the best place for it.

I recently purchased a powerline networking starter kit http://www.tp-link.com/us/products/details/?categoryid=1862&model=TL-PA211KIT . They were a Newegg Deal of the Day, and pretty reasonable. Was looking for a simple solution to stream to my blu ray player, and possibly other non wireless devices in the living room. I do have a wireless router and one option was a wireless bridge adapter, but they are kind of spendy and I wasn't sure about the consistency of wireless around all the other electronics. Another choice would be to run a wire, but I didn't really want to cut holes in my wall and floors. Had a couple of reasons for wanting this. One the blu ray player requires software updates once in awhile to fix playback glitches and to acquire new DRM keys. Only seem to need it once a year or so. The other reason was to stream NetFlix to it.

These could not have been simpler to use. Litterally plug and push the button to pair them. The ones I bought say they are 200Mbps, and the speeds seem to support that.

I did some speed tests just to get an idea of how my network was performing. Picked two large files sitting on a samba share to copy to my laptop. Both machines have physical gigabit cards. I have a gigabit router with Wireless-N. First file was a 700MB AVI, and the second was an 8GB ISO. I didn't time with a stopwatch or anything.

Code:

Network                              File 1 700MB                          File 2 8GB
-----------------------------    ------------------------              ----------------------
wired gigabit                      85-95 MB/s  (~10 secons)        23-27 MB/s (far slower and longer than I thought it should run)

powerline                            6-8.5 MB/s  (under minute)      6-8.5 MB/s  (cancelled after it got solid speed)

wireless N                          5.5-7.5 MB/s (about a minute)  5.5-7.5 MB/s (cancelled after it got solid speed)

The wireless was also tested in the living room. The only result that puzzled me was the 8GB file on the gigabit. The file copies on gigabit used 100% of a core on the file server.

I would recommend these to anyone looking for any easy way to extend their network. Also there are gigabit versions starting to appear.

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Last edited by bdquick on Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:44 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fix formatting of the table)
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welan
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PostSubject: Re: Powerline Neworking (review)   Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:09 am

This could solve my network issues at home...

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PostSubject: Re: Powerline Neworking (review)   Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:50 pm

Thanks for the report. Sounds like a very viable network solution in many places. I think I'd still rather run wires where possible, but not everybody wants to or can do that.

Two questions. What kind of range do they have; for instance if you have a very large house or a separate shop/garage, can you use them there. Second (and kind of related, I guess), is security; can the house next door (or down the block) or, more likely, the apartment next to yours receive/intercept the signal? That could be useful if neighbors are your friends, not so much in other cases.

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PostSubject: Re: Powerline Neworking (review)   Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:58 pm

The box says the range is 300 meters, so they should cover a good sized house. Remember that's 300 meters of wiring. I would say its possible that it could go outside to a shop, if its close enough. They do use 128 bit AES encryption to try and keep your neighbors from sniffing. Don't think it would be a worry except the apartment, condo, or townhouse. I've heard they won't send a signal through a transformer, which would make sense. Had also heard people say they had to be on the same circuit, which I took to mean breaker. That doesn't seem to be true because mine are on different breakers. The instructions do say not to use them on like a power strip.

The only con I have found is that they don't pass a socket on through.

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PostSubject: Powerline network caveat   Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:18 pm

I tried it two years ago, and it was good while it lasted. Heading instructions from the manufacturer I did not use it with a surge supressor. Sure enough when there was a power bump in my neighbourhood, I lost one of the units, along with the motherboard, cpu, etc in one of my computers
even though the computer itself was surge protected.
It's wireless for me from here out.
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PostSubject: Re: Powerline Neworking (review)   Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:21 pm

bdquick wrote:
Had also heard people say they had to be on the same circuit, which I took to mean breaker. That doesn't seem to be true because mine are on different breakers.

In my experience they did not have to be on the same circuit, but did have to be on the same
phase. Most distribution pannels interleave the phases, so both units need to be on either odd or even numbered breakers.
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PostSubject: Re: Powerline Neworking (review)   Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:41 pm

I'll be honest I have no idea if they are on the same phase, but I only have 1 electrical panel in my house. I always thought phase had to do with how many amps/volts of service you had. Most residential is single phase.

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PostSubject: Re: Powerline Neworking (review)   Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:59 pm

bdquick wrote:
I'll be honest I have no idea if they are on the same phase, but I only have 1 electrical panel in my house. I always thought phase had to do with how many amps/volts of service you had. Most residential is single phase.

You are quite right, my mistake, it is a asingle phase.
What I meant was, that the power is delivered to most homes as 220V, 3 wire. (Black - White - Red) Both trransceivers need to be either on Black-White, or Red-White, but not split.
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PostSubject: Re: Powerline Neworking (review)   Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:08 pm

Ok, I see what you meant.

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