Understanding About Ethernet Over Powerline

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Published: 10th January 2011
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Powerline ethernet is a technology that allows you the move data over your home's power lines, and offers a great alternative to wireless, or having ethernet cables strung about your home. The setup is pretty straightforward, and most of the time, you simply need to plug the adapters into your home outlets and then connect your computer and router to these adapters. There are 2 standards for powerline ethernet, Homeplug and UPA. Major makers of powerline ethernet products include Linksys, Netgear, Western Digital, Zyxel, Plaster Networks, and Belkin. The speeds achievable for the best adapters usually are somewhere between 40 and 80 Mbps but we will get into specifics. Here are some examples of adapters you can expect to come across.

Gigabit powerline ethernet kits have been launched since 2009. Belkin

was among the 1st to come out with the Belkin Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit. In controlled assessments, this was measured at three hundred Mbps.

Practical tests, however, of the Belkin Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit demonstrate speeds of around 100-120 Mbps per second. This is certainly plenty quick, and faster than 10/100 ethernet, however the word Gigabit in the product name seems overkill.

This kit is compliant with the following specifications: IEEE 802.3/802.3u. and HomePlug AV. Homeplug 1.0 works as well. The encryption is 128 Bit AES and is set up with a push button.

Belkin claims the adapters can be located as much as 300 meters apart, which ought to be ample for most houses. One particular issue that people point out about the adapters is that they are one port only. Other types of powerline ethernet adapters include extra ports and this can be handy in case multiple devices that need net access are present. A cheap switch can overcome this shortcoming though.

Another feature Belkin mentions is the mesh network. This is part of Gigle's xtendnet technology, and provides path switching, failover capability, and channel bonding to boost network performance.

Netgear Powerline AV Ethernet Adapter Kit (XAVB101) is another 200 Mbps powerline kit. Data security is by means of 128-bit AES encrypted key, and the security management software can be obtained on Microsoft windows as well as Mac PCs according to the Netgear product specification sheet. The adapters (the kit includes 2) have got single port 10/100 ethernet jacks.

PC Magazine gave this unit an Editors Choice award, and also was impressed with the device running cool to touch, saying that overheating is a challenge which often contributes to poor life in powerline ethernet products. PC Magazine also tested this device at around 96 Mbps, which is superb performance for a powerline system. The three LEDs on the device give information about connection quality.

To get more suggestions, visit these product internet pages: and the WD Powerline AV.

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