Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter - HotHardware

Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter

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When it comes to solid, reliable networking connections, nothing beats copper at the moment.  It's not the most convenient, as most people (particularly wives and girlfriends) don't want cables running across the floor, or even jacks in walls throughout the house.  That leaves wireless, and although most people have wireless-G at this time, 54 Mbps (when you consider actual throughput) pales in comparison to standard 100 Mbps wired Ethernet.  Even when you consider wireless-N, which still hasn't even been fully ratified, and its up to 300 Mbps speed, throughput isn't that fast by any means.  Let's not forget the issues with distance and signal drop that exist in both current wireless solutions.

The only other option, short of snaking CAT5 cables inside walls and around your home or office, is powerline networking.  It's not new, but only recently have products entered the market which have the potential to meet or even exceed 100 Mbps wired Ethernet.  One such product is the Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 Mbps Ethernet Adapter, which we are evaluating here.


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Image Courtesy of Actiontec


The kit comes with two oversized wall adapters and two Ethernet cables. The idea is simple in concept: you plug one adapter into your router with a cable, then into a wall socket.  Next you plug the other adapter into another wall socket and from there run the cable to your PC.   Sounds simple?  In principal it certainly is.

Standards
IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, HomePlug AV

Additional Protocols
CSMA/CA channel access scheme(upgradeable to TDMA); CO device generates a periodic beacon carrier
for channel access scheme
Forward Error Correction (FEC)
Automatic Channel Adaptation

Data Rate
PHY Rate: Up to 200 Mbps over standard home power lines and 10/100 Mbps over Ethernet*

Operating Range
Up to 300 meters in wall power lines
Capable of passing through circuit breakers
 Security
128-bit AES Link Encryption with Key Management

Frequency Band
2 MHz – 28 MHz

Modulation
OFDM Symbol Modulation on Line Synchronization
QAM
QPSK
BPSK
ROBO Carrier Modulation
CSMA/CA channel access scheme(upgradeable to TDMA); CO device generates a periodic beacon
carrier for channel access scheme
Forward Error Correction (FEC)
Automatic Channel Adaptation

Data Rate
PHY Rate: Up to 200 Mbps over standard home power lines and 10/100 Mbps over Ethernet*
QoS
Integrated
Prioritized Random Access
Contention-Free Access
Segment Bursting

LEDs
Power, Link, and Ethernet

Power Input
100 to 240V @ 50/60 Hz internal

Regulatory Compliance
FCC Part 15 Class B
UL
HomePlug Certification

Environmental Ranges
Temperature: 0°C to 40°C
Humidity: 10% to 90% (Non-condensing)

Warranty
See Product User Manual

Operating Range
Up to 300 meters in wall power lines
Capable of passing through circuit breakers

Security
128-bit AES Link Encryption with Key Management
 Frequency Band
2 MHz – 28 MHz

Modulation
OFDM Symbol Modulation on Line Synchronization
QAM
QPSK
BPSK
ROBO Carrier Modulation

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So the automatic configuration process seems kinda cool -- is it something that is complicated if one were to use say 4 total adapters (one "uplink"  and 3 hosts)?

Also I do not quite understand how it stays local to your house....obviously the electricity comes from an outside source; would Billy Joe from 10 blocks down from my house be able to get an adapter and attempt to access my internet (if I didn't encrypt we'll say)?

Interesting read though..

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I don't think there would be any complications at all configuring more adapters on the line. They would all need to share the same key of course but they would just work. Think of this system as what it is; an "adapter" from power lines to Ethernet. Basically, any machine plugged into an adapter would get provisioned an IP as if it was plugged into a standard RJ45 jack going to your router.

And no, Billy Joe couldn't tap in because there is a finite range with these systems. It's longer than WiFi but your house is on it's own circuit and isolated from others houses as well. That way, if your house blows a fuse, your neighbor doesn't blow one as well, right? So, no, the standard AC circuit setup wouldn't allow cross-talk to other power circuits in a neighboring house. Billy Joe could probably rip out a mad Green Day song though, on his own power. ;)

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Thanks Davo....makes sense when ya explain it like that.

Last question, how vulnerable are these things to line noise etc...? For ex: Crappier circuits when say, you turn on a vaccuum, the other rooms tv becomes semi-scrambled yes? So if this was on an older/more stressed circuit would this cause a severe drop in your internet connectivity if you turn on a vaccuum or microwave or blender....?

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