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LAN & WAN Reviews

Performance

I skipped the step of doing a "Bench" test by connecting the two adapters via a short cable. Instead, I jumped right to the "in-house" test, because my previous testing showed no discernable difference between the two methods. The "in-house" test used the configuration shown in Figure 7 (copied from the NETGEAR review).

In-house test setup

Figure 7: In-house MoCA test setup

Keep in mind that the only signal present on my home's coax network is an OTA antenna signal to receive local HD broadcasts. I receive most of my programming via DirecTV. But those signals travel on their own coaxes

The antenna line runs from the attic, down to the basement, through a cheapo amplifier that came with the antenna, into my coax patch panel that then runs the signal up to an HD DVR in the living room. For the test setup, I added a two-output splitter that connected the antenna and amp to two coax lines that run to my lab and office.

Each of the runs from splitter to MCA has around 50 feet of RG6 coax. Ignore the NETGEAR ReadyNAS in Figure 7. It was used in the previous review to perform HD viewing tests. But I also skipped those this time around, once I saw the results from the IxChariot plots.

I then ran a series of IxChariot tests using the throughput.scr, TCP/IP and changing only the test file size from its default of 100000 to 3000000 Bytes. I also ran reference tests using a 10/100 Ethernet connection between the two test machines.

Figure 8 compares transmit throughput using 100 Mbps Ethernet, a pair of DXN-220's, a pair of ECB2200's and a pair of NETGEAR MCA1001's between the two test endpoint computers. The three pair of MoCA adapters behave, for all intents and purposes, identically, producing just shy of 70 Mbps of nice, steady throughput. Note that this is around 25 Mbps less than produced by the 100 Mbps Ethernet connection.

MoCA Transmit throughput comparison
Click to enlarge image

Figure 8: MoCA transmit throughput comparison

Figure 9 compares the receive results, which look essentially the same.

MoCA receive throughput comparison
Click to enlarge image

Figure 9: MoCA receive throughput comparison
Updated 5/19/2009: Added performance data for multiple connections

A helpful reader pointed out that I didn't include maximum throughput information, so here it is. Just as with single-connection speed, multiple connection thoughput peaked with four simultaneous connections. The DXN-220 had a maximum aggregate throughput just shy of 139 Mbps (IxChariot plot), while the ECB2200 peaked at only 130 Mbps (IxChariot plot). I suspect the difference is due to different defaults in the Actiontec device that are optimized for its target service provider.

Closing Thoughts.

As I said, once I saw the test results, test time was over. With the same Entropic chipset with pretty much the same design and the nice, controlled impedance, noise-free environment of coax cabling, these three MoCA adapters will all provide the same performance.

So feel free to buy based on price and brand preference. I'd stick with the D-Link and NETGEAR products, however. Actiontec doesn't really seem interested in getting the product to many etailers. And the lowest price that I saw among the few that are carrying the ECB2200 was $135...each!

It will pay to shop around for the D-Link and NETGEAR kits, since Google Shopping showed the D-Link DXN-221 kit as low as $157 (but out of stock) and the NETGEAR MCAB1001 at $171 (but in stock).

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