– Speed Tests Performed in Typical Suburban Home
– Only Retail Products Were Used
One of the first things we’re all taught about technology is that the new technology is always better than the old one.
That’s not always true as we found out when we tested the HomeGrid Forum’s newly developed G.hn powerline technology against that of the older HomePlug Alliance’s HomePlug AV2.
However, HomePlug AV2 clearly outperformed G.hn in the tests we conducted in four rooms — in both up and down speeds — faster by 30% to 58%.
Home networking: solutions to 21st century problems
It helps to keep in mind that the AV2 version of HomePlug a) isn’t old – it’s as new as G.hn, b) it contains new technologies such as MIMO that make powerline home networking faster, c) the AV2 version incorporates everything its members have learned about powerline network performance over the last decade or so and d) its developers include two of the world’s leading network technology giants, the chipmakers Broadcom and Qualcomm.
The Online Reporter has been reporting on the potential of G.hn as a powerline home network technology since May of 2008 — See: “Intel Leads HomeGrid Effort to Accelerate G.hn as Single Standard for Wired Home Networks” in TOR587. G.hn products are finally coming to the retail market where they’ll compete against the much older HomePlug powerline technology — although HomePlug has a snazzy new model but with a less-than-snazzy name of AV2.
We conducted a test of Comtrend’s G.hn adapters versus D-Link’s HomePlug AV2 adapter as a result of a challenge from Rob Ranck, the president of the long-established powerline technology group called the HomePlug Alliance, whose two main chip making members are the giants and rivals Broadcom and Qualcomm. Ranck had performed the same test in three homes in Oregon and reported that he had similar results to what we found — albeit different results in each of the three home but with AV2 being faster in every room of every home he tested.
The characteristics of the home and the test procedures are detailed elsewhere in this report but any summary would say that the tests were in no way influenced by either of the powerline groups or their members and that the adapters being tested were purchased at retail and were never tinkered with by any company or chipmaker.
There are different ways of testing and calculating home network speeds but we used software from TamoSoft, which simultaneously sends data both up and down between home network adapters that are each connected to a PC. We spent almost three days testing and the final results are shown in a separate spreadsheet.
We tested only in one home but it’s a very typical suburban home: 20+ years old and about 2,400 square feet with three bedrooms and bathrooms, laundry room, storage room, an office/library, dining room, breakfast room and kitchen.
The AV2 version of HomePlug outperformed G.hn in every test in every room. No results were even close.
Box maker Comtrend, which uses Marvell’s G.hn chips, and G.hn chipmaker Sigma Designs have shipped us G.hn adapters with the latest firmware that are shipped to broadband operators but not to consumers, not yet at least. We intend to test those next week.
SISO and MIMO
The most controversial aspect to the tests was whether or not the G.hn adapters we tested had the latest firmware in their G.hn chips. Specifically, whether they had the latest version of the MIMO technology that enables the chips to check whether the electrical wire has three wires and all three are connected to the three sockets in each electrical outlet. The first time we ever heard the term MIMO was from Sigma Designs when it was renaming its ClearPath technology to MIMO.
MIMO provides a substantial increase in network speed because the G.hn chip continuously monitors all three wires to determine which two it can best use to speed the flow of data. We’re pretty sure the Comtrend adapter had the MIMO technology because it performed slower when only two prongs were plugged into the electrical outlet. The fact is that the two…
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