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I used the same methodology as in the HomePlug AV roundup so that I could append the TPL-401E's results to the chart from that review. Ixia's IxChariot running the standard throughput.scr script generated TCP/IP traffic for testing. The only change made to IxChariot script defaults was to change from 100,000 Byte to 1,000,000 Byte test size. Each test ran for one minute.

I started by plugging the adapters into an outlet strip to test for best-case throughput and ran a single transmit stream. Figure 6 shows this resulted in 70 Mbps of total throughput.

TRENDnet TPL-401E best case throughput

Figure 6: TRENDnet TPL-401E best case throughput

I found in the HomePlug AV roundup that running multiple simultaneous streams provided higher aggregate throughput (around 80 Mbps with four streams). So I ran two pair of receive / transmit streams, which yielded 88 Mbps of total throughput for the pair of TPL-401Es (Figure 7), a gain of about 25%.

TRENDnet TPL-401E four streams

Figure 7: TRENDnet TPL-401E four streams

I also ran a single transmit / receive pair, which got me 83 Mbps of total throughput. I didn't test beyond four simultaneous streams, because I suspect there would be negligible further gain.

For "distance" testing, I used the same three locations used in the HomePlug AV roundup. No locations put adapters behind AFCI breakers and I made sure no noise sources were present in the test locations.

  • Location A: Adpaters plugged into same unfiltered outlet strip
  • Location C: Outlet in living room, one floor up and middle of home
  • Location E: Outlet in kitchen, one floor up and opposite end of home

For the Location C and E tests, the other adapter was plugged into an outlet just outside my office on the lower level and one end of my home, so that it was not behind the AFCI breaker that protects my office. If you want more info on the locations, see this article.

Table 1 summarizes the average transmit throughput from a one minute IxChariot test in the three locations for the TPL-401E and HomePlug AV adapters previously tested. Even though the product is no longer available, I've added in the Gigle-based Belkin "Gigabit" adapter test results for good measure.

I've bolded the highest throughput in each location. If results were within 1 Mbps of each other, I bolded both.

(click link for throughput plot)
Test Locations
TRENDnet TPL-401E 70.1 46.7 26.3
Cisco Linksys PLK300 37.3 39.2 38.6
Plaster Networks PLN3 / AV200 45.6 43.9 36.6
NETGEAR XAVB2001 44.8 47.2 44.6
NETGEAR XAVB2501 48.6 45.6 44.1
TRENDnet TPL-303E2K 43.6 44.8 42.1
Belkin F5D4076 Gigabit Powerline HD 122.1 26.2 16.1
Table 1: Transmit throughput summary

Although the TPL-401E is second fastest when both adapters are plugged into the same outlet, that advantage over HomePlug AV quickly fades with the adapters further apart, but well within the 300 ft maximum distance spec. The drop to 26 Mbps in Location E is particularly surprising.

The IxChariot transmit plots for the TPL-401E's tests are shown in Figure 8. Click on the links in the table above for IxChariot plots for the other adapter tests.

TRENDnet TPL-401E throughput, three locations, transmit

Figure 8: TRENDnet TPL-401E throughput, three locations, transmit

Single stream receive test results are summarized in Table 2. The TPL-401E clearly outpaces the HomePlug AV adapters in the same outlet test and again significantly fades with moderate distance. This time, however, the TPL-401E beats all the HomePlug adapters (and the Belkin adapter) in location E, although not in Location C.

(click link for throughput plot)
Test Locations
TRENDnet TPL-401E 72.9 31.9 45.9
Cisco Linksys PLK300 33.3 33.9 34.0
Plaster Networks PLN3 / AV200 37.3 35.6 35.2
NETGEAR XAVB2001 41.4 40.3 39.6
NETGEAR XAVB2501 43.7 40.6 38.5
TRENDnet TPL-303E2K 37.1 38.3 38.0
Belkin F5D4076 Gigabit Powerline HD 118.8 26.4 11.6
Table 2: Receive throughput summary

Figure 9 shows the IxChariot receive test plots. It's worth noting that both transmit and receive are free of any significant throughput dropouts.

TRENDnet TPL-401E throughput, three locations, receive

Figure 9: TRENDnet TPL-401E throughput, three locations, receive

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