Powerline vs Wireless N

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by indyjones, Apr 20, 2008.

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Powerline HD vs Wireless N

Poll closed Jun 19, 2008.
  1. Powerline HD (up 200Mbps supposedly)

    3 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Wireless N (up 270Mbps supposedly)

    3 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. indyjones

    indyjones OSNN.net Adventurer

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    Hi all

    We have just got a new TV for the bedroom and I am going to install a new pc so we can access the recorded content on our Vista Media Center.
    Problem is the pcs are at opposite corners of the house to each other and I don't fancy running Ethernet cables.
    I currently have a netgear rangemax wireless g router, and the media center is on the network via a wireless usb dongle which came bundled router. Problem is media playback does not seem to work very well across the network (tested using my Xbox 360 as an extender (that was on the wired network)). Video playback is fine if you are just watching things, but it does not like you browsing through folders or skipping though media (for example at commerical breaks).
    Due to this poor performance I am looking to improve my network and I was have been looking at the powerline adapters (eithernet over powerlines) or wireless N.

    Out of those two what would people recommend? I know it will never be as good as gigabit cable but its not really a option.......
     
  2. Sazar

    Sazar F@H - Is it in you? Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    Oooh, I would love to know this as well. :D
     
  3. LordOfLA

    LordOfLA Godlike!

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    powerline. Those rangemax things are expensive paperweights.
     
  4. madmatt

    madmatt Bow Down to the King Political User

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    Linksys WRT600N Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router

    Works extremely well.
     
  5. tdinc

    tdinc █▄█ ▀█▄ █ Political User

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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2008
  6. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    I would not seriously consider either for multimedia. Bite the bullet and run the cables.

    If the cable just isn't feasible I suppose I'd look at the power line. There is some really good new tech out but they are expensive and have the risk of injecting lightning or power surges into your entire network. That is frightening since I lost a bunch of good equipment 15 years ago.
     
  7. Sazar

    Sazar F@H - Is it in you? Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    What if you plug them into surge protectors Lee? :)
     
  8. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    dunno if surge protectors would work all that well, since it might interfere with some aspect of the tech. and still... surge protectors aren't all that lightning-proof.

    LeeJend: why wouldn't you recommend Wireless N? I've been using it for quite a while with a D-Link DIR-655, and have had nothing but good experiences. excellent range, excellent speed (up to 480Mbps). Granted, wired would be faster and a more consistent connection.... Wireless N would be the next worthwhile alternative if you ask me.

    And if i remember correctly, the D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N router is one of the highest ranked, if not THE highest ranked Draft-N router around.

    http://reviews.cnet.com/routers/d-link-dir-655/4505-3319_7-32145084.html
     
  9. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    This is an interesting topic. I've been considering using the powerline adapter to replace the wireless g access on my main machine, but was curious as to what the difference would be if I were to go wireless n. It would probably be cheaper to go with the powerline since I'd be buying a router and card for the computer.
     
  10. Sazar

    Sazar F@H - Is it in you? Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    The power and ethernet are operating on different frequencies so I am not sure how or why that would interfere if used with a surge protector buddy :)
     
  11. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    reading some of the powerline networking hardware reviews on Newegg.... doesn't appear to be the best option, especially if you plan on streaming HD video's. people seem to be reporting around 30Mbps average on $80 hardware, where the D-Link DIR-655 and compatible Xtreme-N card is capable of hitting those speeds with roughly 200ft. of distance.

    can get the DIR-655 on Newegg for $120, and you can even get a choice of one out of two 4GB thumb drives for free with the combo deal. sadly the DWA-652 PCMCIA card is $90, while the PCI adapter is $100. expensive.... but i believe entirely worth it.
     
  12. indyjones

    indyjones OSNN.net Adventurer

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    Good stuff keep it coming please :)
    So far then one vote wireless N, 2 for powerline HD. There is the other brand (other than netgear) as well which I can't remember off the top of my head but they are ment to be quite good
     
  13. X-Istence

    X-Istence * Political User

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HomePlug_Powerline_Alliance says it can interfere, and I would tend to agree with that. Most surge protectors have filters that are supposed to filter out power spikes, those same filters will distort signals.

    The reason I don't like powerline is that they can cause radio interference with other radio equipment. I have seen powerline travel much further than just the house it is at, and distort CB radio as well as ham radio.

    Wireless N is on known frequencies. 2.4 Ghz, and 5 Ghz, which means it is not going to affect other radio transmissions.
     
  14. indyjones

    indyjones OSNN.net Adventurer

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    Most of my surge protectors have RJ45 ports on them, so I will use that to protect my equipment.

    I have seen mixed reviews on both methods though, which is why I have started this thread :)
     
  15. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    indy, that's actually 2 votes for N, 2 votes for powerline. madmatt also voted for N early in the thread... 4th post.

    and i think the other brand you're thinking of is Belkin..... which i'm not too sure of. the D-Link Xtreme N seems to be one of the top performers.... although it seems to fall behind a bit when it comes to long range (again... 200ft test. kinda doubt there's that much distance between your computer and TV).... it appears to handle mixed mode better than most other Draft-N routers. And i think the D-Link was the first to pass the Draft-N 2.0 standard.... or something like that...... forget exactly how it was said.
     
  16. Sazar

    Sazar F@H - Is it in you? Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    Not going to disagree but if you look at the links as well as other resources online, you will note that most of the interference occured with the older products.

    It seems the newer 85Mbps and 200Mbps parts are designed to avoid and eliminate spikes and delivery constant throughput.

    I might pick up an item from Fry's tonight and give it a twirl and see how it performs :)

    If it sucks, I can always return it.
     
  17. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    For a surge protector to be fully effective it needs both clamping and slew rate limiting. The slew rate limiting could affect signal quality on a power line modem. I'd have to see the designs on the protector and the modem. Note - cheapo protectors usually omit one of the other (or both...) and are not as effective.

    Then you have the other concern with protection - sneak paths. The more points a network is interconnected the more potential for producing ground loops which can amplify surges.

    You also get more entry points into the "network" from phone lines, power lines, appliances, cable, satellite, printers, multiple PC's, cross talk between the two power phases (power in is on 220Vac line to line which is grounded at the house to split that into phase shifted 115Vac.). It turns protecting the network into a nightmare.

    Data leakage back out onto the power grid is an issue also especially with the wimpy 56 BIT encryption on some of the power line modules. Probably no worse than cable or wifi though. I can't wait for the RIAA/MPAA to file the first suit because somebody's multimedia rig can be picked up outside of their house... :dead:

    As for why not "N".
    -I don't like the higher signal levels used by N. We're getting irradiated enough as it is.
    -Probably more interference prone than powerline, though that is arguable (fridge, AC, power tools, etc.).
    -Overall I say go wired for the bandwidth. Two friends have HD over DSL and it's got bandwidth limits. The bachelor is happy with it, but the family guy's picture goes to peices (literally) if anyone else in the house goes active on the network. Granted N or powerline has more bandwidth than DSL but the crowd here at OSNN tends to be net active (P2P, gaming, folding, etc) so limited bandwidth approaches to multimedia are risky. Wireless is the most liekly to get tapped into so I consider it to be more of an issue for collisions and drop outs. You have to add an $80 node to expand the power line net. Just about everything has built in wireless capabiltiy these days.

    All that said I'm dying to mess with power line networking but I'm too cheap. What I really want to do is set up at my place and see how many neighbors and how far away can tap into my net.

    Warning! If you live in an apartment building and are concerned about security forget power line! I can (and do) block and shield wifi using directional antennas and careful layout planning. With power line you are connected!

    SAZAR
    I can't remember if you're in an apartment or house these days, but if you're in an apartment try plugging in at the lobby or to an outside power plug by the pool or patio areas just for grins. The ultimate test would be clipping into the low voltage decorative lighting...
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2008
  18. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    Thanks for being our guinea pig, Sazar, if you end up doing it. :)
     
  19. X-Istence

    X-Istence * Political User

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    The amount of radio communications on all bands is insane. Really, 5 Ghz won't make much of a difference in the amount of radiation our body has to withstand.

    The 5 GHz range right now is being used by all kinds of different things, maritime communication, satellite and many other things. Wireless N is on a very narrow band, and unlike Wireless B/G there is no overlapping of the signal whereby you are "bleeding" from other channels onto other channels. For example, if I am on channel 3, I bleed over onto channels 2, 4, and 5.
     
  20. indyjones

    indyjones OSNN.net Adventurer

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    Doh can't count then :) still noticed its now gone to 3 for each!

    Sazar please pick up a powerline and test it that would be great :D