Powerline adapters are one of the ways of extending your home network. They use the existing electrical wiring in your home, and all you need is at least two electrical outlets. 500Mbps powerline models are becoming more and more common compared to a year ago, when we had our last big test of powerline adapters. High time for a new round-up, in other words. Expanding your network over your home power grid, how well does that work nowadays?
Last year we tested 30 powerline adapters. Most of those were of the 200Mbps variety. At the time the first 500Mbps models are starting to arrive, with Netgear at the forefront. For the current test we asked every known manufacturer of 500Mbps models to provide one, and 200Mbps adapters were also welcome. We ended up with 32 different models, the majority of which are 500Mbps.
500Mbps adapters are quite a bit more expensive than 200Mbps ones. The slower ones are usually more than fine for networks that don't have huge amounts of traffic, so the question then is why would you buy the more expensive one? For streaming media, from a NAS to media player, a speed of 80 Mbps (at 25 metres) is more than enough. However, if you're frequently sending large amounts of data from one side of your house to the other (and you want to use powerline adapters to do this), then more speed is of course very welcome. Also if you have multiple devices communicating with each other at the same time, then the extra bandwidth a 500Mbps adapter offers can be very useful.