Powerline networking adapters tend to suffer from slow speeds, especially when compared with regular wired Ethernet connections. However that's about to possibly change with two new products from Netgear.
Powerline networking kits allow you to expand your local network via the electrical wiring, sparing you from having to run network cable to a far corner of the house. This is especially helpful when the corner is so far away or obscure that the wireless signal can't get to it.
Netgear claims that both of these kits offer speeds up to 500Mbps. To put this in perspective, wired connections have speeds of 100Mbps (for Ethernet) or 1,000Mbps (for Gigabit Ethernet). This is about 2.5 times the speed of the previous generation of HomePlug AV products, such as the PowerLine AV Ethernet Adapter Kit PLK300 from Linksys .
Though they share the same throughput speed, the two new Powerline kits have some major differences. The Powerline AV 500 Adapter Kit is really compact; it's smaller than a deck of cards. According to Netgear, it's about 50 percent smaller than competing products.
The Powerline AV+ 500 Adapter Kit, on the other hand, is bigger, but it comes with an integrated filtered power socket for "pass-through" capability, which means you can still use the wall socket to power another product. Note that Powerline adapters need to be plugged directly into the wall socket to work properly.
Netgear says that both new adapter kits are compatible with the draft international IEEE P1901 Powerline standard. This means they provide greater speeds for bandwidth-intensive applications such as lag-free Internet gaming, voice-over IP (VoIP), large file transfers to networked devices, and even simultaneous 1080p HD video streaming to multiple devices.
The new Powerline kits will be available by the third quarter of the year. It's currently unclear how much they will cost.