Useful Consumer Review

I’ve got a computer in the kitchen (as one does), but it’s very difficult to get Ethernet

cabling to where it’s at.  So I’ve been using a Devolo dLAN Highspeed Ethernet II home plug network-via-powerline plug.

And it totally sucks.  Sure, it’s slow, but worse is the latency and unreliability.  I’m using it for NFS stuff, and it’s just too crappy for words.

The throughput is pitiful, but it’s acceptable.

[larsi@stories ~]$ scp 07112011002.mp4 sparky:/tmp
07112011002.mp4                               100%  105MB 535.1KB/s   03:21

But the  latency is crappy:

[larsi@stories ~]$ ping sparky
PING sparky.gnus.org (80.91.231.5) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from sparky.gnus.org (80.91.231.5): icmp_req=1 ttl=64 time=29.0 ms
[…]
64 bytes from sparky.gnus.org (80.91.231.5): icmp_req=14 ttl=64 time=3.24 ms
64 bytes from sparky.gnus.org (80.91.231.5): icmp_req=15 ttl=64 time=4.59 ms
^C
— sparky.gnus.org ping statistics —
15 packets transmitted, 15 received, 0% packet loss, time 14020ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 2.524/8.827/29.004/8.068 ms
So before I went all drill-ey with the Ethernet cabling, I thought I’d try a different poweline model — the Netgear Powerline 200 Mbps Nano Adapter (XAVB2101 (phew)).

And look:

[larsi@stories ~]$ scp 07112011002.mp4 sparky:/tmp
07112011002.mp4                               100%  105MB   3.5MB/s   00:30

It’s like a lot faster!  7x better throughput.  The latency is kinda similar, but more even:

[larsi@stories ~]$ ping sparky
PING sparky.gnus.org (80.91.231.5) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from sparky.gnus.org (80.91.231.5): icmp_req=1 ttl=64 time=11.7 ms
64 bytes from sparky.gnus.org (80.91.231.5): icmp_req=2 ttl=64 time=9.04 ms
[…]
64 bytes from sparky.gnus.org (80.91.231.5): icmp_req=12 ttl=64 time=3.36 ms
^C
— sparky.gnus.org ping statistics —
12 packets transmitted, 12 received, 0% packet loss, time 11016ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 3.353/7.262/11.787/2.470 ms
So…  it’s better, but it’s not…  good.  A max latency of 11ms, compared to the max latency of 29ms of the Devolo.

Anyway, the comparison isn’t really fair.  The Devolos are a couple years old, so they’re previous generation tech.  But it does mean that if you’ve got old powerline gear, and you want slightly less crappy performance, you may consider buying new gear.

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