Marvell’s Beats Extollo’s HomePlug AV2 in Lab & Field Tests

– Won in All Scenarios and in the Worst Case Environments

In June 2015, CNET said the Extollo LANSocket 1500 power-line adapters, which are based on HomePlug AV2, had the “best power-line performance to date.”

At the end of last month, October 2015, the test lab Network FX, a subsidiary of CableLabs, said that, after conducting tests, adapters using Marvell’s chips “performed better than the Extollo [HomePlug AV2] devices in the lab and in the field under a variety of test conditions in a single network and in multiple networks.”



Stutter-free streaming, no matter how remote the room, is the ultimate aim of home networking


The main chipmakers promoting (Marvell and Sigma Designs) and HP AV2 (Broadcom and Qualcomm) are members of CableLabs, which owns Network FX, as are MoCA chip and equipment makers.



– Marvell contracted for Network FX to perform both the Lab Repeatable Power-line Testing and the Field Home Testing.
– Marvell purchased the Extollo adapters from Amazon on August 20, 2015. No firmware upgrade was available on Extollo’s Web site. Extollo’s adapters have Broadcom’s HPAV2 MIMO power-line chipset.
– Marvell provided Marvell-branded adapters that are based on its reference design and which it makes available to equipment makers. They are not available at retail but the exact same chips are in Comtrend’s adapters that are available at retail. Consumers can and should download the latest firmware from Comtrend’s Web site. Amazon sells a pair for less than $90

ARRIS is expected to launch a powerline adapter that will have the same Marvell chips. Comtrend and ARRIS adapters both have Marvell’s 1 Gbps powerline chipset, not its new 2 Gbps chips, which are not due out until 2016.
– The IPTV field tests were conducted in a house in Colorado with 4,850 square feet, two living floors plus a basement. The source for the video streams was located on the first floor. UDP IPerf commands were used to simulate HD or 4K streaming to each IPTV client. The 4K video had 30Mb per stream. By comparison, Ericsson’s MediaFirst IPTV 4K HD, which many telcos use for their pay TV technology, only streams at 12MB per stream.


Test Results

Network FX found the same results that Rider Research did in two homes in terms of packet size. At higher packet sizes, the throughput of Marvell’s and Extollo’s are about the same at 70dB of attenuation.

At 80dB and 90dB of attenuation, Marvell results were better than Extollo’s.

At lower packet size (82 bytes), the throughput of Marvell at all attenuation levels was higher than Extollo’s.

When testing for TCP throughput in neighboring networks at 40dB attenuation, the results showed that Marvell devices can provide higher throughput and lower latency than Extollo for all packet sizes. The term neighboring networks refers to residences in MDUs, a prime target for telcos that are prospects for selling adapters.

– The products did not have any packet errors or drops, which Marvell said is the “ideal technology for video delivery in the worst tested environments.”

– Marvell performed better in neighboring networks’ test setup for all test parameters (ie lowest/average/higher packet size).

– In testing network stability under “bursty” traffic conditions, Network FX said Marvell devices completed the test without dropping a single packet at a throughput rate of 80 Mbps. The Extollo product showed a 7-8% packet loss. Network FX said, “This indicates that Marvell devices are more stable under bursty traffic conditions.”

Network FX said Marvell won in all scenarios and in the worst case environments in both the Lab Testing and Home Field Testing.

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