14 gigabit powerline adapters: review

Networking on the power grid

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Introduction

The last time we discussed these products, powerline adapters with claimed gigabit speeds were not very common, however these days they are the norm. Time for an update! We tested 14 adapters - the extensive comparison table can be found here - from various manufacturers that allow you to realize a network connection using your existing power grid.


These days powerline is no longer a new technology, however there are still quite a lot of new developments. Modern models claim maximum theoretical throughput speeds of 1200 Mbit/s, provided a ground wire and mimo can be used. Especially in combination with a 802.11ac wireless access point, they are potentially effective solutions for coverage issues at home, for example in new houses isolated with concrete and isolation material.

However, for this article we only tested powerline adapters without a built-in access point, since there were already more than enough of those. Models that did have wifi onboard, quite a decent amount of them did actually, will be discussed separately in a future review. The models that we're discussing here can be split up in two categories: one with a maximum theoretical speed of 1000 Mbit/s and one with a maximum theoretical speed of 1200 Mbit/s; both fall under the HomePlug AV2 standard. These speeds will practically never be achieved, they mainly look nice on the box.

Just like with WiFi the specs are mainly about theoretical full duplex speeds, overhead is not considered here. If you want a more realistic idea of the expected speed, you should half the number and then subtract 10 to 20 percent afterwards. Considering our test results, the value you get is still on the optimistic side. The speed on the spec list is mainly an indication of the features of the adapter in question.

Based on the criteria we mentioned, we found 14 kits consisting of 14 adapters from various manufacturers, with prices ranging from 60 dollars to 155 dollars. We'll extensively cover what you get for your money, and whether a more expensive money is worth the higher price, based on both our test results and feature sets. The models that we are covering today are:


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