Powerline Ethernet describes data transfer over electrical energy lines. What this simply means is as you are able to plug in one powerline Ethernet adapter to the wall, hook it into your router, and plugin in another adapter near your computer, and connect your computer to it. You are using these adapters as a means to make use of your existing electrical lines to transfer internet data. Your internet is going right through existing electrical wire!
This sounds great, and it may be, with some caveats. Let’s dig in. How fast is the powerline adapter. Netgear has some models we could use for instance super wireless ethernet bridges the entry-level XE102 model supports up to 14mbs, while the mid-range model supports 85MBps, and the top model claims speeds up to 200 MBps. Gigabit Ethernet over electrical wire is also available.
These ranges are under ideal conditions, and are likely not to be performed practically. Before engaging in the nitty gritty, lets look at wireless speeds. Common wireless technology in 2010 is either 802.11g or 802.11n. wireless-g claims speeds of 54MBps, and Wireless N claims theoretical speeds of 300 Mbps. Real life issues such as for instance insufficient channel bonding, radio interference, overhead of protocols, and etc limit Wireless N to practical limits of 70 MBps.
Measured speeds in non-lab conditions for electrical internet adapters indicate practical speeds of 30-45 Mbps. This is dependent upon encryption, the circuitry of the electrical system, and other electrical interference. There’s not a lot of difference between gigabit Ethernet and 200 MBps in terms of speeds.
Considering the data, you would genuinely believe that wireless is the clear choice. However, the sole way to ascertain which system works healthier is to try both out. Powerline Ethernet works better than wireless-g for many people, including my house. The decision for me was whether I will upgrade from Wireless-G or simply get powerline Ethernet. The adapter is cheaper, and one can attach an instant router to one of these simple adapters as a repeater. I tried it, and it worked better for me than wireless-G, and was cheaper than upgrading to wireless-N.