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LAN & WAN Reviews

Performance - Powerline

For the AV200 powerline's performance testing, I used the same five test locations around my home that I used for the HomePlug Turbo Roundup testing. Go here if you want the details on the locations and distances.

I used Ixia's IxChariot and set up two copies of the standard throughput.scr script to run simultaneously, one from the IxChariot console to a remote endpoint (for transmit), and the second with endpoints swapped (for receive). I used TCP/IP, changed the file size to 300,000 Bytes from the 100,000 Byte default, and set the scripts to loop for one minute.

NOTE!NOTE: I did not follow Corinex's recommendation to change the TCP window size to 512 kBytes to accommodate the "higher latency" of a powerline network, since I don't like messing with my TCP/IP settings. But if you have no such qualms, you can run the scripts Corinex supplies to execute the tweak for Win 98, XP or Linux kernel 2.4 or higher.

AV200 powerline throughput comparison with HomePlug Turbo

Figure 13: AV200 powerline throughput comparison with HomePlug Turbo
(click image to enlarge)

Figure 13 shows the results for the AV200 along with the results from the HomePlug Turbo roundup testing. I guess I can see why networking product manufacturers are willing to give up HomePlug interoperability to use DS2's technology! The AV200 beat the best case HomePlug Turbo results (Netgear XE104) in all test locations and had a best case (Location 1) throughput of almost three times that of HomePlug Turbo (70.9 vs. 24.8 Mbps)

Figure 14 shows an IxChariot plot of the simultaneous receive and transmit runs in Location 1 so that you can see the throughput variation.

Location 1 AV200 throughput

Figure 14: Location 1 AV200 throughput
(click image to enlarge)

Figure 15 shows the plot for my infamous Location 4, which seems to defy all attempts at networking to it other than with good old Ethernet! I know why this location is tough for wireless, but have yet to figure out why it's also bad news for powerline networking.

Location 4 AV200 throughput

Figure 15: Location 4 AV200 throughput
(click image to enlarge)

Performance - Coax

I was only able to give the AV200 Coax adapter a few cursory throughput checks since my in-home test setup still needs more development. My original plan was actually to test the Corinex AV200 Coax product against MoCA-compliant (Multimedia over Coaxial Alliance) adapters. I've been after MoCA to supply product for review since CES 2005 and thought I was finally going to succeed after an encouraging meeting at this January's CES. But after a number of emails with a MoCA rep after the show, I finally got the word that no MoCA product would be forthcoming since member companies weren't able to part with product due to "certification" and "standards-ratification" activities.

So I had to settle for two relatively unstressful tests. The first test just connected two AV200 Coax adapters via a 6' piece of RG 6 coax with an IxChariot test pair plugged into the adapters' Ethernet ports. I ran the same script that I used for the AV200 powerline tests, with the results shown in Figure 16.

AV200 coax direct back-to-back throughput

Figure 16: AV200 coax direct back-to-back throughput
(click image to enlarge)

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised by these results, which were essentially the same as those I got in the Location 1 powerline test. But I had thought (hoped?) that given the superior electrical environment of coaxial cable over power wiring, that DS2 could have tuned its OFDM signal processing magic to eke out higher throughput.

But I suspect that the coax product's real advantage comes from less throughput degradation over distance, even though I couldn't effectively test that...yet! Instead I had to settle for simple tests using the two-way splitters that came packaged with each AV200 Coax adapter. For one test, I cabled the IN connectors of the two splitters together with a short piece of RG 6, then connected each AV200 Coax adapter to one of each splitter's OUT connectors in a back-to-back splitter configuration.

AV200 coax throughput through two back-to-back splitters

Figure 17: AV200 coax throughput through two back-to-back splitters
(click image to enlarge)

The results are shown in Figure 17, which are essentially the same as Figure 16. I also connected the splitters in a cascade configuration, i.e. an OUT of one splitter to the IN of the other, but the results were again essentially the same as with the direct cable connection.

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