Belkin's New Powerline Kit: Fast, but Not Gigabit Fast

POWERLINE networking kits let you connect hardware all over your house to your home network. Theylink your router to a power outlet at one end and to another power outlet else where in the house at the other, turning the outlets into ethernet ports. And unlike most Wi-Fi options, they provide the stable highspeed connections required for HD video streaming.If Belkin's $150 Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit reached its nominal transfer rate of 1000 megabits per second, it would be five times faster than the company's AV+Starter Kit, which claims a link rate of 200 mbps. (In my testing, the AV+ kit averaged 68 mbps,so it hopes that the Gigabit would reach 300 mbps.).

But the new kit's throughput actually ranged from 112 to 157 mbps; and though the Gigabit kit is twice as fast as the AV+ kit, I prefer the latter. Since streaming full HD video from a PC to a
TV requires a transfer rate of only 20 to 25 mbps, the extra speed is mainly useful for tasks like network backup.The Gigabit kit seemed more susceptible than the AV+ kit to interference, too.
And the Gigabit kit's two adapters have one port each (the AVt kit's one adapter has three ethernet ports).Finally, the Gigabit kit can't sit on a desk because it has to plug directly
into the wall.According to Belkin, the Gigabit and the AV+ are interoperable products, but the Gigabit has yet to receive HomePlug AV certification, which would guarantee interoperability.


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