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IOGEAR Homeplug Networking Reviewed 99

Chris Allen writes "Wired or wireless? This is always just about the first thing anyone thinks of when planning their new home/soho office. It always comes down to price/performance/practicality, in whichever order you feel is more important. Sometimes it just isn't possible to run CAT5, for a variety of reasons. The only options available for the average consumer is wireless, HomePNA, which uses your existing telephone network in your house, and HomePlug, using your existing power grid. HomePNA has been around for around 3 years or so, and has matured some, starting out transmitting at dismal speeds and lackluster reliability in regards to interference. HomePlug is short for HomePlug® Powerline Alliance."
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IOGEAR Homeplug Networking Reviewed

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  • by oliverthered ( 187439 ) <oliverthered&hotmail,com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @08:44AM (#5024471) Journal
    What about when you get GBit to the door over fiber.

    You'll have to upgrade the wires at sometime in the next 50 years I expect, though it shouldn't be too much hastle and should always be quicker than anything else (unless you're using wormholes)
  • by guacamolefoo ( 577448 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @10:40AM (#5025055) Homepage Journal
    What security do these devices have to prevent the neighbor from eavesdropping on your powerline LAN? The power lines don't stop at the walls of your house?

    Is there some sort of device you can put in at your fuse box to block data going in/out? What are the practical restrictions on someone coming up and using an external outlet at your house (none that I can see)?

    This may be somewhat convenient for some applications, and perhaps more secure than wireless, but there are still some physical security issues that seem harder to address than with CAT5.

    Throw in the lower level of convenience than one gets with wireless as well as a much lower rate of throughput than with 802.11a, and I don't see much more than a niche market for this sort of product.

  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday January 06, 2003 @08:05PM (#5029292) Journal
    If everybody else on your street bought HomePlug data-over-electricity, you'd not only have the security issues, but also the issue of bandwidth. Is this the kind of thing that gets you 5-14Mbps if you're the only home on your block using it, but shares those same 5-14Mbps with everybody on your block, so get much lower effective bandwidth if the system becomes popular? What's the distance at which it communicates, or interferes with communication? Is this something that could wire an entire apartment building? A "typical" city block? Everybody behind a given power transformer?

    I looked at some of the [] web sites and member sites like Asoka [].
    Homeplug runs natively at 14Mbps (USB devices are limited to USB's 12 Mbps speed), though effective speeds are often lower, depending on how noisy your environment is (one site said 80% of their tests got 5Mbps or better), and it's good for up to 1km, as long as there aren't power transformers in the way. You can only put 16 devices on the network; I assume that's 16 devices per 56-bit-DES security key, but I could be wrong. That does mean that you're not going to wire everybody in your neighborhood together in the same LAN. Nothing I saw talked about the throughput effects of having your neighbors sharing the network, only the security effects.

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