Our main focus on testing the 200Mbps Powerline AV Fast Ethernet Adapter Kit is to first determine that it works properly (check!) and what type of performance it is capable of producing against standard wired and wireless network connections.
We used PerformanceTest 6.1 by PassMark which you can find out more information about here. It has a handy Advanced Networking section which is perfect for our testing. My main desktop PC acted as the server (Intel Q9450 quad-core CPU and 4GB DDR3 RAM running RAID 10) and the client PC was a brand new high-end Hypersonic notebook, kindly provided by the friendly folks over at OCZ. Results were gathered by sending data from one computer to the other and determining the average transmission speed.
We tested in a whole range of different configurations, but decided we would provide results for the most common configuration that is likely to be used by most users. We plugged the first TPL-302E adapter into a power point by itself and into a spare LAN port on our D-link Extreme 802.11n broadband router. The second TPL-302E adapter was plugged into a power point on the first floor of our house (about 10m away) and also into a third floor power point (about 75m away).
To give these results some context, we compared with a CAT6 connection cable (15m in length from the router to the notebook) and also against wireless 802.11n on the first and third floor (we used the built-in Intel 802.11n networking on the Hypersonic notebook).
It is of little surprise that the CAT6 connection provides the best performance at 917Mbits (or 114.7MB/s). On the first floor, when we compared the TRENDnet solution (3.2MB/s) to the 802.11n connection (1.9MB/s), power line was out in front, offering about 1.3MB/s faster transfers.
On the third floor, both feel the pain of an estimated 75m range and the wireless connection struggled to provide a solid connection at just 22KB/s. The point line device provided 1.5MB/s (a little over 12Mbit), which was enough to max out a standard ADSL2 connection and stream MP3s as well as DVD and 720p quality movies. We tried streaming 1080p video but it was just too much for it to handle at the 75m (third floor) range.
Of course CAT6 is the leader of the pack offering sub 0ms latency times. On the first floor the 802.11n wireless connection actually managed to provider a slightly faster latency than the TRENDnet power line solution.
On the third floor, things were almost neck and neck with only a 1ms latency difference. The power line solution changed between 4 and 5ms. And even though it had the highest latency, it will not affect you much at all.
- Connection Speed
The final test result is the connection speed in Windows. The only real thing of note here is that the power line adapters always connected at 100Mbps, no matter where they were plugged in.