HOMEPLUG GROWS UP
The premise of power line networking is simple. You have a pair of HomePlug adapters; one goes into a socket next to your router and the other into the socket of the room that you wish to extend your network to. It is cost effective and doesn’t require additional setup or cabling. The problem with power line networking is that every home is wired differently, which can greatly affect network performance. Also, signal noise generated by other electrical equipment, from phone charger to TV to washing machine will also interfere with speeds.
This is the reason that the number you see on a HomePlug product and the actual speed you get in your home can wildly vary from room to room and user to user. This is also why HomePlug has never been a viable solution if you need sustained data rates for high bandwidth tasks like gaming or media streaming.
Sineoji’s newest PL1800EP aims to change that. Instead of the more common Qualcomm/Atheros chipsets, the PL1800EP uses a Broadcom BCM60500 chipset, which supports the HomePlug AV2 standard and MIMO beamforming technology. This supposedly allows the PL1800EP to utilize all three electrical wires (Live, Neutral, Ground) in your home to transmit data as opposed to just a single wire of past-gen products. Theoretically, you should experience higher data throughput and a more stable connection.
As its name implies, the PL1800EP carries a max data rate of 1800Mbps. Now, remember that the number on the box is the ideal rate capable of the chipset with zero interference in a controlled lab setting. Once you plug it into a live socket, all the environmental factors mentioned above comes into play. When asked, Sineoji themselves put real world speeds at an average of 200Mbps. During testing, I was able to achieve an average of 115Mbps when routing my network from the fiber point in the hall to my router in the study. Sineoji is working on a new firmware to improve speeds to meet their claims. I tested this new firmware, and got up to 150Mbps. I also tested the same adapters on another home, and achieved 190Mbps on average.
So, while the new firmware should improve performance, how much you gain will still depend on your home wiring.
Still, compared to the 45Mbps to 60Mbps achieved on past gen HomePlugs, the PL1800EP proves that the 100Mbps barrier is not just achievable, but also sustainable.
TESTED & RATED