Powerline Network Adapter Shootout

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Powerline Adapters An Overview

Powerline Network Adapters
It used to be that wireless adapters could cover an entire house with no problems.  Today we examine four popular Powerline Network Adapters to find out which one is the fastest and most ideal for streaming high definition multimedia in the home.  We took a ride down to our favorite electronics store and picked up what they had on the shelves.  We wanted to use the fastest possible Powerline and these are all “gigabit-capable” adapters. Our question was a simple one:  Which Powerline Network Adapter is the fastest?

For those of you who have never used a Powerline Adapter to connect your network, using one of these devices is as simple as plugging a cell-phone-sized box into a wall outlet and connecting a network cable to it.  The Powerline adapter is able to connect computers in your home using existing electrical wiring to create a network.  This set up doesn’t add to your electrical bill whatsoever, and provides theoretical network speed of up to 500Mbps.  You can find many of these Powerline Network Adapters for well under $100 per unit – of course you need two units for a connection.  All of the units that we tested today came bundled with two network adapters and retail for well under $200.

How Powerlines Work
There are plenty of articles around the internet detailing and discussing what Powerline Network Adapters are and how they work.  We aren’t going to get into that in this article.  Rather, we really want to know which adapter package works the best for our needs.  We wanted to look at the fastest units on the market so we pulled adapters from Belkin, Netgear, D-Link, and TRENDnet.

To be honest, this article isn’t written to give the reader a complete primer on what a Powerline Network Adapter is all the ins-and-outs of how they work.  There are plenty of resources on the web that will give you a feel for that.  This is strictly a look at how four of the most popular manufactures on the market compared to each other.  Our main objective is to find out how high-definition video would stream with these adapters in a single-family home environment.  Of course there are tons of different needs that a Powerline adapter can solve, but we thought viewing 1080p videos was one of the toughest (and popular) problems to handle.

How Powerlines Work

Our main use is the transmitting of data for HD streaming, but as data will show later, it doesn’t really matter what your primary use is, you should be able to get some useful information from our test results. Before we get into the numbers, let’s take a quick look at Powerline Adapters.

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