I was in Best Buy today and saw this on the shelf for $100. It has been years since I’ve tried one of these over the power line Ethernet solutions, and since I have a networking problem in my house, I thought I’d give it a try and see how well this works.
My wife and I both work out of the house, I work here full-time, she is part-time. My office is in the front of the house and has all the switches and routers, her computer is in the back of the house and uses a USB dongle to connect to the WiFi. The home we live in isn’t big, a little under 1,000 sq feet, but it was built in the 1940s. The walls are plaster and lath, the electricity is mostly original wiring with the house and is only partially grounded.
Her latency was about 9ms with a ping and over a 100 pings, her computer saw a loss rate of about 1%. While this worked fine for doing stuff on the internet, large file transfers were problematic – and since most of what we do here involves very large local file, I needed to get this problem solved.
I have the skills and the supplies to make a run with Cat5e – however, if I go through the house, I’d have to tear part of a ceiling out. If I go outside the house, now I have to either buy and install conduit or buy exterior grade Cat5e. So considering that, and my curiosity of how the technology has evolved, it was worth the money to see how this would work.
Using the Monster Powernet 200:
Getting started is simple. Plug one powernet wall wart into the plug in my office (I went directly into the wall) and put the other wall wart in my wife’s office. They synced up immediately and the diagnostic lights indicated that I had a great connection between the two. I plugged in the included Ethernet cord into my wife’s computer then to the powernet wall wart and then plugged the powernet wall wart in my office up to the router. And voila, everything worked. My wife still shows a bit of latency – about 2-3ms. If I ran I a wire, my latency would be <1ms, so the power net is easily more than twice as slow – however the ease with which this all works is quite nice. Despite the latency, large file transfers are speedy fast. Where we were getting 3-15mbps, we’re now getting 5-6MBs. Still not as great as it could be, but good enough for the work we’re doing.
Things I’m curious to know:
There are a number of factors that I’m curious to see as time goes on:
- What happens when we introduce a device that may put a lot of noise on the house’s power system? Hairdryers and other electric motors might interfere with the Powernet’s ability to work OK.
- What happens when we have surges – while the Powernet includes surge suppression, It can’t obviously do anything about power spikes or dips that occur on the house’s high voltage system. So weather and typical distortion might make things interesting.
- I have a very limited amount of power in my office – and I run a lot of equipment in here off of one 15 amp circuit and the Powernet 200 is at the front of this chain of consumption. I wonder what will happen when I overload the circuit? I don’t see any resets on the device, I hope that we don’t have to buy a new device should it trip before the house’s circuit breaker does.
To wrap: the Powernet 200 seems to be a solid device, for now. Certainly a much better experience than my previous powerline network adapter experiences. Hopefully this thing keeps working this well.