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LAN & WAN Reviews

Introduction

Corinex AV200 Powerline and Coax

At a Glance
Product Corinex AV200 Powerline Ethernet and CableLAN Adapters
Summary Ethernet to powerline and coax bridges targeted at household distribution of IPTV and other streaming media without running CAT 5
Pros • 2X - 3X better average throughput than HomePlug Turbo
• Multicast binding and QoS and VLAN tagging
Cons • Does not interoperate with HomePlug devices (and vice versa)
• Severely interferes with HomePlug devices (and vice versa)
• QoS features difficult to configure
• Expensive (Powerline $139, CableLAN $149)

My last look at powerline networking products was in the HomePlug Turbo Adapter Round Up, where I found that the "85 Mbps" advertised speed turned out to be typically 10 Mbps of real, usable bandwidth. Although this is twice the 5 Mbps delivered by non-turbo HomePlug 1.0 products, it's still borderline for IPTV service providers, which is the target customer. The real HomePlug solution for video streaming lies in HomePlug AV, which, unfortunately seems to remain six to nine months away - as it has for the past year or so.

This delay has opened a market window that Madrid-based DS2 (Design of Systems on Silicon) has attacked with a vengeance using its high speed "200 Mbps" powerline technology. DS2's success to date has been mostly in markets outside the U.S., since that's mainly where the action is in IPTV right now. The company claims an installed base of around 600,000 units with 30,000 in Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica alone. DS2's success seems likely to continue, given that Netgear recently announced that it will be shipping products aimed at the IPTV market, based on DS2's technology.

But we don't need to wait to see what "200 Mbps" powerline networking technology is like, because Vancouver-based Corinex is shipping its AV200 Powerline products today. This review will take an in-depth look at Corinex' powerline product and a shorter one at a version of the product for use with coax-based TV distribution systems.

Product Features

The AV200 Powerline adapter doesn't opt for "wall-wart" form factor now common in powerline adapters, but is instead packaged in an off-white plastic enclosure about 6" X 4" X 2" (148 mm X 106 mm X 47 mm). Power, Powerline Link/Activity and Ethernet Link/Activity LEDs are arrayed across the front of the product and the rear panel (Figure 1) contains only an AC line cord receptacle and 10/100 Ethernet RJ45 jack.

AV200 Rear panel and specs

Figure 1: AV200 Powerline rear panel and specifications

Figure 2 shows the back panel of the AV200 Coax version, which differs only in the addition of a coax "F" type connector.

AV200 Coax rear panel

Figure 2: AV200 Coax rear panel

With the proper line cord, you can connect either product to an AC supply from 85 to 265 V AC and 50 or 60 Hz. Contrary to the instructions in the Installation Guide, I found that the Ethernet port has auto MDI / MDI-X capability built in, so you can connect any Ethernet device you like without having to find a crossover cable.

Note that the AV200 adapters are designed as bridges and support connection of up to 64 devices, 32 of which can be AV200 Powerline or Coax adapters.

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