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Performance - more

Transmit (upload) tests showed a similar pattern, but with slightly higher throughput. Peak average throughput of 100 Mbps was obtained witih the adapters in different outlets. But once again, Figure 9 shows significant throughput variation in both Location A tests. Lowest throughput of 66 Mbps was obtained in the most distant test Location E.

NETGEAR XAV5001 throughput, three locations, transmit

Figure 9: NETGEAR XAV5001 throughput, three locations, transmit

The comparison in Table 2 once again shows significantly lower throughput loss as distance increases between adapters.

Product
(click link for throughput plot)
Test Locations
A C E
NETGEAR XAV5001 100.0 78.7 65.6
TRENDnet TPL-401E 70.1 46.7 26.3
Table 2: Transmit throughput summary

Figure 10 shows the TRENDnet transmit plots for your comparison pleasure.

TRENDnet TPL-401E throughput, three locations, transmit

Figure 10: TRENDnet TPL-401E throughput, three locations, transmit

I ran simultaneous up and download tests in each location to see if throughput could be increased witih more traffic streams. Figure 11 shows the just shy of 122 Mbps of total average throughput with the adapters in different outlets in Location A and simultaneous up and download tests running.

NETGEAR XAV5001 throughput, Location A, different outlets, simultaneous up and down

Figure 11: NETGEAR XAV5001 throughput, Location A, different outlets, simultaneous up and down

You can also check out simultaneous up / down plots for Location C and Location E.

Running four simultaneous streams, however, didn't provide higher total throughput as Figure 12 shows.

NETGEAR XAV5001 throughput, Location A, different outlets, four download streams

Figure 12: NETGEAR XAV5001 throughput, Location A, different outlets, four download streams

I didn't run noise immunity or interoperability tests, having already sufficiently explored those topics in the TRENDnet review.

The last test I ran (because I knew I'd be asked) was to view the Megamind 3 trailer that I used just the other day in Three Stream N For HD Streaming: Close, But No Cigar, i.e. my test of three-stream N for 1080p HD streaming.

I chose the farthest location E, which I measured having 68 Mbps of nice steady download throughput. I just opened the file stored on a Synology DS109+ using Quicktime 7.6.5. and looked for playback problems. I'm happy to report that while I still saw a bit of frame drop during the fastest action sequences, the clip otherwise played fine. I decided to also try VLC 1.1.7, which did not show any signs of playback problems.

Closing Thoughts

So it looks like design (or maybe just firmware level) does matter when it comes to "500 Mbps" HomePlug AV powerline adapters. And for now, NETGEAR's XAVB5001 kit is the one to buy if you want the best example of what this technology can do.

While you won't get 100 Mbps of throughput throughout your home, you can probably count on at least 60 Mbps of steady, dropout-free bandwidth. And when it comes to 1080p HD streaming, slower, but steadier wins the race.

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