Thursday, October 28, 2010

NETGEAR Powerline Ethernet Adapter vs CAT5e

I compared local area network bandwidth between the NETGEAR Powerline Ethernet Adapter model XAVB101 and CAT5e with gigabit Ethernet switches. I conducted 6 tests, 3 on each transmission medium. I used the commonly used network testing tool iperf. Bottom line: Pull CAT5e wire or better when feasible.

Below is a table of the bandwidth results.

CAT5ePowerline Ethernet
637 Mbits/sec73.4 Mbits/sec
629 Mbits/sec74.0 Mbits/sec
612 Mbits/sec74.5 Mbits/sec

My tests were conducted to favor the Powerline Ethernet adapter. I placed the two Powerline Ethernet adapters within 8 feet of each other in the same room. No extension cords were involved. The CAT5e circuit was a couple of hundred feet and include 2 Ethernet switches between the computers.

Here is the raw output from the iperf command:
Ethernet Over Power

htplainf@fe0:~$ iperf -c 192.168.1.5
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.1.5, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  3] local 192.168.1.6 port 34985 connected with 192.168.1.5 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.2 sec  88.9 MBytes  73.4 Mbits/sec
htplainf@fe0:~$ iperf -c 192.168.1.5
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.1.5, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  3] local 192.168.1.6 port 34986 connected with 192.168.1.5 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.1 sec  89.0 MBytes  74.0 Mbits/sec
htplainf@fe0:~$ iperf -c 192.168.1.5
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.1.5, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  3] local 192.168.1.6 port 34987 connected with 192.168.1.5 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.1 sec  90.2 MBytes  74.5 Mbits/sec



CAT5

htplainf@fe0:~$ iperf -c 192.168.1.5
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.1.5, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  3] local 192.168.1.6 port 41387 connected with 192.168.1.5 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.0 sec    760 MBytes    637 Mbits/sec
htplainf@fe0:~$ iperf -c 192.168.1.5
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.1.5, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  3] local 192.168.1.6 port 41388 connected with 192.168.1.5 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.0 sec    750 MBytes    629 Mbits/sec
htplainf@fe0:~$ iperf -c 192.168.1.5
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.1.5, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  3] local 192.168.1.6 port 41469 connected with 192.168.1.5 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.0 sec    729 MBytes    612 Mbits/sec
htplainf@fe0:~$ 


Here are the specs on the Ethernet adapter in the client computer. Notice it has negotiated at a gig with the Ethernet switch.

htplainf@fe0:~$ sudo ethtool eth0
[sudo] password for htplainf: 
Settings for eth0:
 Supported ports: [ MII ]
 Supported link modes:   10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full 
                         100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full 
                         1000baseT/Full 
 Supports auto-negotiation: Yes
 Advertised link modes:  10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full 
                         100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full 
                         1000baseT/Full 
 Advertised pause frame use: No
 Advertised auto-negotiation: Yes
 Link partner advertised link modes:  Not reported
 Link partner advertised pause frame use: No
 Link partner advertised auto-negotiation: No
 Speed: 1000Mb/s
 Duplex: Full
 Port: MII
 PHYAD: 3
 Transceiver: external
 Auto-negotiation: on
 Supports Wake-on: g
 Wake-on: g
 Link detected: yes


Here are the specs on the Ethernet adapter in the client computer when connected to the Powerline adapter. Notice it has negotiated at 100Mb/s.

htplainf@fe0:~$ sudo ethtool eth0
Settings for eth0:
 Supported ports: [ MII ]
 Supported link modes:   10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full 
                         100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full 
                         1000baseT/Full 
 Supports auto-negotiation: Yes
 Advertised link modes:  10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full 
                         100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full 
                         1000baseT/Full 
 Advertised pause frame use: No
 Advertised auto-negotiation: Yes
 Link partner advertised link modes:  Not reported
 Link partner advertised pause frame use: No
 Link partner advertised auto-negotiation: No
 Speed: 100Mb/s
 Duplex: Full
 Port: MII
 PHYAD: 3
 Transceiver: external
 Auto-negotiation: on
 Supports Wake-on: g
 Wake-on: g
 Link detected: yes

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