Rants & Raves

Differences between HomePlug 1.0, HomePlug AV and HomePlug AV2




In previous posts I have discussed  What are HomePlug Adaptors and why choose homeplug for your home network and I elaborated a bit more on What is a HomePlug Network.

I will aim to help you identify and differentiate between different HomePlug standards available, in order to help you choose the best standard for your requirements.

The use of Powerline technology a.k.a HomePlug adaptors, as a home networking solution has been steadily increasing over the past few years. The first incarnation and the first standard released, on inception in 2001, – HomePlug 1.0 – it was seen as a quirky alternative home networking solution, with wireless becoming the dominant solution. However, in 2013 the latest standard HomePlug AV2, the contender has now become a first choice solution.

Many households are starting to adopt HomePlugs to fulfil an ever-increasing demand for network capability. This demand is set to increase as the demand for Internet connected devices in the home increases.

Most broadband providers supply a WiFi capable router, but unfortunately most homes suffer from WiFi Deadspots.

You may also want to extend the range of WiFi networks, especially during the summer months, when desire to work from your garden strikes.

HomePlug adapters are easy, reliable and cost-effective way to connect devices, especially when far from your router. By simply connecting one adapter to your router, you connect your router’s broadband Internet signal to every outlet in the home.

HomePlug Adaptors enable you to plug in and connect as many additional adapters as you need to provide a reliable high-speed Internet connection to your game console, PC, Smart TV, Internet radio, etc.

There have been a few differing standards for HomePlug over the years causing a lot of confusion and misconceptions regarding this technology. The following will be a brief summary to explain the difference between 1.0, AV and AV2 HomePlug in order to clear any misunderstandings and provide the uninitiated with an overview of the technology thus far.

Homeplug 1.0

The initial release in November 2001, the first powerline networking specification to connect devices to each other through the home electrical circuit. It revolutionised the way we connect to the Internet.

Homeplug 1.0 came in two speeds with initial 14Mbps versions being superseded by the 85Mbps ‘Turbo’ Homeplugs.

HomePlugs based on the 1.0 standard, still work great if you are connecting a desktop computer and will be doing basic web surfing and email etc. However, once you start pushing it any further than that, for instance attempting to watch you tube videos or listen to pod casts or stream music, you’ll soon run into performance problems

HomePlug AV

The second release of the specification in 2005 to deliver raw data speeds up to 200 Mbps using the home electrical circuits. It was built from the ground up to support entertainment applications, such as HDTV and home theatre.

A convenient and cost-effective method of distributing HDTV in the home without the need for wires.

Until 2013, it was the best solution available.

HomePlug AV2

Specification was announced in January 2012 to deliver up to 1000Mbps/Gigabit performance (that’s five times better than an AV 200 mbps HomePlug), in addition to improved home coverage.

Designed specifically to work well when streaming HDTV, using VoIP phones, playing online gaming and recording security camera footage

AV2 copes much better with the high-bandwidth needed and need for low-latency (quick response time).

AV2 will deliver a much better experience for Audio Visual tasks.

For my home office I personally make use of Solwise 1200AV SmartLink PowerLine HomePlug AV2 Ethernet Adapter with Filtered Mains Passthrough and 2 x Gigabit Ports

Offering a stable, high-speed data transfer rate up to 1200Mbps on a line length up to 300 meters.

Built-in Qos and powerful AES encryption.

a Solwise 1200AV SmartLink PowerLine HomePlug AV2 Ethernet Adapter with Filtered Mains Passthrough and 2 x Gigabit Ports is a good choice for a whole home solution to connect all network compatible devices:

  • Computers
  • Game consoles
  • Set-top boxes for IPTV
  • Printers
  • NAS hard drives.




Homeplug speed specifications

Each of the home plug standards has a headline data speed associated with it. For instance, the home plug 500AV standard is associated with 500 megabits per second. It is important to understand that this number does not represent the data throughput between two devices.

The data throughput rate between any pair of devices will be significantly less than the headline speed. There are a number of reasons for this discrepancy but you should understand that it is normal to represent networking equipment this way.

HomePlug AV2 standard offering speeds between 500 – 1200 mbps are ideal for most home users

if you consider the speed of your internet connection and the speeds required for the internal use of the home plugs, such as transferring of data from one computer to another you may find the 1200AV2 devices are more suited. This will certainly be the case if you have a very high-speed fibre connection or transfer very large files internally.

Top Tip

If you are considering purchasing a Homeplug adaptors I strongly recommend you purchase Pass Through type adaptors, for two very important reasons

  • Don’t lose plug space
  • using a main-passthrough adapter at the router end solves the problem of ‘noisy’ power supplies. Interference is caused by a number of things, noisy power supplies from routers

Summary

The major difference between the HomePlug Standards is not only the agae of the technology but also the through-put speeds available.

HomePlug AV2 standard offering speeds between 500 – 1200 mbps are ideal for most home users networking needs.

It is important to remember that the data throughput rate between any pair of devices will be significantly less than the advertised headline speed. This is due to the fact that there are a number of variable factors that could cause disruption to speeds.

These factors include:

  • Noisy mains
  • Age and State of the building electrical cabling
  • Type of building i.e. Apartment, house or communal building

Setting up a HomePlug network is incredibly easy and you will need at least 2 HomePlug adaptors to create a network. You can easily extend your HomePlug network by simply adding more HomePlugs.

It is recommended that if you are adding more HomePlugs to your home network, that they should all be of the same brand and have the same through-put speeds.



Gary Woodfine

Freelance Full Stack Developer at threenine.co.uk
Helps businesses by improving their technical proficiencies and eliminating waste from the software development pipelines.

A unique background as business owner, marketing, software development and business development ensures that he can offer the optimum business consultancy services across a wide spectrum of business challenges.

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