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Tag: networking

Gigabit Powerline from Trendnet at CES

Posted by Andrew at 8:37 AM on January 5, 2014

TRENDnet LogoNetworking over electrical power lines has come a long way since the first HomePlug specification back in 2008 which was was rated at 14 Mb/s. Today network specialists Trendnet have announced a gigabit class, Powerline 1000, with the launch of the TPL-420E2K adaptors.

Trendnet Powerline 1000Based on the HomePlug AV2 standard and using MIMO techniques originally used in wireless data transmission, Powerline 1000 doubles the speed of the previous implementation.

Zak Wood, director of global marketing of Trendnet said, “Trendnet’s TPL-420E2K is designed to easily handle multi-HD streams in a busy connected home.

For the first time, Powerline products use all three electrical wires: the live, neutral, and ground (earth) wires. MIMO technology sends information over the fastest two out of the three available electrical wires. If a user lives in an old home which is not cabled with ground wires, the maximum throughput is reduced from 1,000 to 600 Mb/s.

The TPL-420E2K connects over electrical lines for distances of up to 300 m (a little less than 1000 ft), which is roughly the size of 5,000 square foot home. Powerline 1000 is compatible with existing Powerline 500, 200 and HomePlug AV rated products but when connected to a lower speed adapter, speeds are reduced to the lower rated adapter.

As you’d expected, the communication between the adapters is encrypted and to reduce energy consumption, the TPL-420E2K units go into standby mode when not in use.

The MSRP is US$169 but the Powerline 1000 units are not expected until June 2014. I’m looking forward to testing these already, especially if Trendnet produces an adaptor which incorporates a fast wireless access point.

TP-Link WiFi Powerline Extender Review

Posted by Andrew at 5:35 AM on December 9, 2013

From smart TVs to DVRs and games consoles, many items of consumer electronics now expect a network connection to download media or to upload hi-scores. Most homes don’t have ethernet cabling as standard and surprisingly few of these gadgets actually have wireless connectivity. Even then, it’s rare to have good signal throughout the house.

TP-Link Wireless Extender Box

This is where the TP-Link 300 Mbps AV500 WiFi Powerline Extender can come in, solving two problems at a stroke. First, for those who aren’t familiar with Powerline, it’s a technology that uses the mains electricity circuits to transmit network signals and as most homes have power sockets in every room, it’s ideal for spreading the network round the house. This kit (TL-WPA4220KIT) from TP-Link has two adaptors, one of which connects up to the broadband router and the other goes into the otherwise network-free room.

TP-Link Units in Box

But that’s not all….the room unit provides both wired and wireless services. A pair of ethernet ports on the bottom of the adaptor can hook up two cabled devices, say TV and DVR, and the wireless extender can strengthen the 11n network in the room to keep a games console happy. The kit can be extended with additional Powerline units to supply multiple rooms with networking.

TP-Link Side On

That’s the theory…how does it work in practice? Frankly, everything went very smoothly. Out of the box, the two units found each other and paired up across the house. The wireless unit has a clever clone feature where you press the WPS button on your usual wireless box and then the “clone” button on the front of the wireless adaptor. After a few seconds, the TP-Link adaptor then presents the same SSID and password as the existing box, but chooses a different channel to transmit on. To all intents and purposes, it appears that there’s a single wireless network in the area. Clever and very easy. (The configuration can be done manually as well.)

Performance-wise, I did some testing using Totusoft‘s Lan Speed Test. Bear in mind that no two homes will be setup the same, so while the Mbit/s figures are of interest, it’s the relative performance that matters. Remember, no-one gets real-world data transfer rates anywhere close to the headline rate because of the networking overheads. With that in mind, I tested the download speed from a Buffalo NAS to a Toshiba laptop using a 500 MB file. The figures are approx averages of a couple of tests.

  • Wired connection via standard ethernet – 146 Mbit/s
  • Wired connection via TP-Link Powerline – 72 Mbit/s
  • Wireless connection via TP-Link Powerline – 64 Mbit/s

I’m fairly impressed with those figures. Effectively, the throughput over the mains was about half what I’d get from an ethernet cable but 72 Mb/s throughput is pretty good, with the wireless not far behind.

For further comparison, I had a 200 Mb/s Belkin Homeplug system, which is a similar but slightly older technology.

  • Wired connection via Belkin Homeplug – 32 Mbit/s

Again, interesting. The Belkin is rated at 200 Mb/s with the TP-Link at 500 Mb/s. It’s perhaps unsurprising then that 32 Mb/s isn’t far off 2/5ths of 72 Mb/s.

And finally, I tried doing what you are warned against doing, namely plugging the TP-Link Powerline adaptor into an extension lead. I think the figures speak for themselves. Rubbish!

  • Wired or wireless connection via TP-Link Powerline in extension lead – 15 Mbit/s

Overall, the TP-Link Powerline units work well and they’re a good way to provide network connectivity to blackspots, both wired and wirelessly. The wi-fi clone feature makes it especially easy to setup. If you are getting some new gadgetry for Christmas that’s going to need a network connection, give this  Starter Kit a look. It’s available from all good retailers, including Amazon.co.uk for around £70. There is an older 200 Mb/s version that looks similar so make sure that you are buying the right one.

Note, all the figures above are megabits per second. No megabytes here, except for the download file size. Thanks to TP-Link for providing the Starter Kit for review.

Phenomenal D-Link Wireless Gaming Router at CES

Posted by Andrew at 1:01 AM on January 7, 2013

D-Link LogoAt CES today, D-Link will announce a phenomenal wireless gaming router that will support data transfer speeds in excess of 1 Gb/s by combining 11ac and 11n technologies in a single router.

DGL-5500 D-Link Gaming RouterThe D-Link Gaming Router (DGL-5500) uses Qualcomm’s StreamBoost technology offering Gigabit wireless speeds for fast gaming and HD video streaming to multiple devices. The phenomenal wireless speeds of up to 1.3 Gb/s are achieved by aggregating both 11ac and 11n wireless technologies. Using both, 11ac can deliver up to 867 Mb/s and 11n, 450 Mb/s, which when taken together gives the 1.3 Gb/s. In addition to wireless connectivity, the router has four wired Gigabit ports. Obviously the receiving devices will need to support the same standards and there will be data overheads but it’s still amazingly fast.

And it looks pretty cool too.

The Gaming Router represents the ultimate in home network speed and control, offering the ability to fine-tune bandwidth to deliver the high-performance hungry gamers crave,” said Daniel Kelley, Associate Vice President of Marketing at D-Link Systems. “Through the unique Qualcomm StreamBoost technology, this router intelligently optimizes a home network for the games you want when you want, making lag time, buffering and failed downloads a thing of the past. With the new Gaming Router, play against real opponents live, any time day or night, for unparalleled multi-player combat performance and first-person shooting experiences online.

The DGL-5500 will be available from late spring with pricing to be announced.

Wi3 Uses Coax for Ethernet Networking

Posted by Andrew at 9:29 AM on February 21, 2012

Wi3 CartridgesThe folks at Wi3 have developed a new and innovative way of using the cable TV co-ax wiring to carry more that just pictures. Jeffrey and Andy find out more from Adam.

The Wi3 system replaces the cable wallplate with a modular unit that offers a range of connection or transport options. The first two modules offer twin ethernet ports or a single ethernet port with wifi access point. Later modules may offer a built-in “set-top box”  with HDMI out or a small PC could even be squeezed in. And all without affecting the cable TV signal by using MoCA technology.

It only takes about five minutes to install and one of the neat things I like about this product is that the connections come sideways out of the unit. Consequently, it looks more attractive and less noticeable in the home.

The first two modules are only available to dealers at present but they will be stocked in big boxes nationwide later in the year. Prices are $150 and $200 for the ethernet only and wi-fi models respectively.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Andy Smith of Geocaching World.Support our coverage sponsors:
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The iTwin Infinite Capacity Thumb Drive

Posted by Alan at 8:33 AM on February 16, 2012

iTwin is solving more than just the capacity problem with thumb drives, they are also tackling remote access at the same time.  It all begins with a very small device that looks like a pair of USB thumb drives fastened together back-to-back.  It’s a bit more than something that simple though.  Each time this device is plugged into a computer it automatically generates AES 256 encryption.  Once it’s attached to your PC a virtual folder pops up that allows you to drag-and-drop all of the files you want, in fact you can drop your entire hard drive on it!  After copying all of the files you want then you can split the device into two USB drives.  Leave one on your home or office PC and take the other with you on the road.  Now you have a secure VPN to the base computer without the hassle and expense that VPN can entail.

The iTwin is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.  They have also solved a lot of the potential security problems and dynamic IP problems, as you will see in the video below.  The iTwin is available now for a one-time cost of $99.99, no monthly fees like traditional VPN services.  It’s available directly from iTwin or from many retail outlets.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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HomeGrid Forum Shows Off “Any Wire, Anywhere” Technology

Posted by Alan at 8:27 AM on February 3, 2012

homegrid forum logoHomeGrid Forum may not be a household name, but if you are looking to build-out the best home network imaginable then you may want to check out their technology.  HomeGrid Forum is made up of many major companies from around the world such as AT&T, Intel, Best Buy, Motorola, Marvell, and others.

Using G.hn, a home networking standard that you can learn more about from Wikipedia, you can stream up to 1 gigabit of data across any wire in your home.  That means everything now becomes a potential network connection – power outlets, coax connectors, and phone jacks – creating a whole-home smart grid.

Products are now coming to market that will make all of this work.  Consumers just need to look for products with the HomeGrid Forum logo on them to know that they are compatible.  Products from different vendors and even different chipset makers will all work flawlessly together.  HomeGrid Forums promises this new technology will be priced to compete with current solutions already on the market.  You can get more information at HomeGrid Forum and see demos of the technology in use in the video below.

Interview by Jon Wurm of F5 Live.

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Network Switches and Data Transfer Speeds

Posted by Andrew at 5:17 PM on March 27, 2011

I recently upgraded my home network from 100 Mb/s to 1 Gb/s by replacing the switches. The main house switch is an unmanaged 1U rack-mounted switch, with a second desktop switch. Out of pure interest, I took the opportunity to do a little bit of speed testing to see how much of a difference upgrading the switches made in terms of actual data transfer speeds.

A few basics to avoid confusion  – b/s is bits per second and B/s is bytes per second. All of the reported figures will be in MB, so converting b/s to B/s:
Fast Ethernet = 100 Mb/s = 12.5 MB/s
Gigabit Ethernet = 1 Gb/s = 125 MB/s

100 Mb/s and 1 Gb/s refer to the speed of the underlying technology but data transfers at these rates are never achieved because of protocol overheads and such. As a baseline, if I write a large file (8 GB) to my PC’s local disk, I get a data transfer of between 50-55 MB/s.

On my network, I have two Buffalo Linkstation NAS devices, one with a Fast Ethernet interface and one with a Gigabit Ethernet interface. 2 GB’s worth of data would be written to each of these devices with different Ethernet switches in place to see what actual data transfer speeds would be achieved. The following Linux command was used five times in each situation and the result averaged.

time dd if=/dev/zero of=testfile bs=16k count=16384
Switch Model Data Rate to Fast NAS Data Rate to Gigabit NAS
1U Rack
Dynamode SW240010-R(Fast) 6.2 MB/s 8.6 MB/s
TP-Link TL-SG1016 (Gigabit) 6.4 Mb/s 21.4 MB/s
Desktop
D-Link DES-1008D (Fast) 6.2 MB/s 8.6 MB/s
Netgear GS605 (Gigabit) 6.5 MB/s 21.1 MB/s

I also carried out two further tests:

  1. With Gigabit Ethernet only, I wrote to both NAS devices at the same time. The data transfer speeds were unaffected.
  2. I connected the two Gigabit Ethernet switches in series and wrote to the NAS. Transfer speeds were reduced by 1 MB/s on the Gigabit NAS to 20 MB/s. The change on the Fast Ethernet NAS was minimal.

There are several things that can be deduced from the information shown in the table above and the other tests.

  1. Actual data transfer rates are considerably less than the theoretical maximums.
  2. There’s no performance difference between rack-mounted and desktop switches.
  3. The write speed of the NAS can be a limiting factor.
  4. Gigabit Ethernet switches give large improvements with Gigabit Ethernet devices.
  5. Gigabit Ethernet switches give small improvements even with Fast Ethernet devices.
  6. Keep the number of switches in the network path to a minimum.

 

Flixwagon Mobile Video Broadcast and Social Networking Platform

Posted by tomwiles at 5:11 PM on February 2, 2011

Arie Offner and Roy Ginat present Flixwagon (http://www.flixwagon.com/), a mobile video broadcast and social networking platform. The product is aimed at business and corporate users. Verizon will be soon launching the Flixwagon Android application for selected Verizon Android phones.

Interview by Esbjorn Larsen of MrNetCast.com and Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.Com.

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Boost Your Connectivity With Netgear’s Universal WiFi Range Extender

Posted by Alan at 1:58 PM on January 8, 2011

If you have a large area to cover with your WiFi router then you have probably experienced “dead zones” in parts of your home, or at the least, areas of low connectivity.  You may have looked into ways to solve this and discovered Repeaters, which can be finicky to get working correctly and compatibility with your current router can be problematic or non-existent.   Those problems may be solved by a new product coming out soon.  Among the things announced by Netgear at CES is the Universal WiFi Range Extender WN3000RP.

The WN3000RP is promising to eliminate “dead zones” and provide more network bandwidth for entertainment, gaming and social networking applications.  According to their press release:

If there are rooms in the house that have limited or no wireless coverage because they are too far away from the router, the Universal WiFi Range Extender boosts the existing WiFi signal in order to reach wirelessly to these ‘dead zones’ in the home. Consumers need to simply place the product between the router and areas of the home where additional WiFi access and bandwidth are needed for activities like video streaming on a tablet or smartphone.

Netgear is saying the Universal WiFi Range Extender is that it will be compatible with all existing routers – not just Netgear brand.  That’s a big leap forward over most existing Repeaters.  You can plug it into any standard electrical outlet in your home.  Even better you could move it around any time you need to.  It’s also compatible with all current wireless security methods.  Here are some of the hightlights.

  • Extend Network — Extend Internet access throughout your home for wireless devices like iPads®, iPods®, laptops, smart phones, game consoles and TVs
  • Enhance Existing Equipment — Keep your current equipment and improve coverage to eliminate wireless “dead zones”
  • Plug-and-play — Sets up in minutes, no need to insert a CD or plug in Ethernet cables
  • Push ‘N’ Connect — Push ‘N’ Connect using Wi-Fi Protected Setup® (WPS) connects computers and/or routers to the Extender quickly and securely
  • Optimal Coverage — Link-rate LED locates the best placement spot to provide optimal wireless coverage
  • Compatible — Works with any wireless b/g/n router or gateway from NETGEAR and other brands
  • Superior Security — Works with all security standards including WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, mixed mode and WEP
  • Connect — Ethernet port allows the Extender to function as a bridge to connect to home theater devices
  • NETGEAR Green features — Power on/off button, 80% recycled packaging

The Universal WiFi Range Extender should be available in March of this year for an MSRP of $99.99.  I have not yet seen any pre-ordering available, but it’s likely that Amazon and others will make that available soon.

Social Networking Starts Locally – Social Experiment

Posted by J Powers at 10:44 PM on April 7, 2010

One thing I am surprised with some so-called social networkers – They don’t do it in their own community. I don’t know if they are ashamed of what they are doing, or think that no one else is doing it. Some might think that what they do would not apply to the local community. How wrong they can be. So I ask you: Do you network your community?

As a podcaster, I have a very scattered audience. At first, I thought that eventually it would all start coming together. But the more I pushed out to the world, the more my voice seemed to get lost in the cloud.

That is when I turned to my local community. I started to promote my shows to those who would listen. Those numbers started to change.

The reality is: If someone can put a face to a name, then they feel a little more connected. Talk with someone for a while and you might not only have made a new friend, but also an avid listener or reader. Even if you don’t think they would listen to your show or read your blog, you may be in for a surprise.

Last month, MadisonSMC (Social Media Club) had their kickoff meeting. 140-150 attended the first one. The second meeting was a little more modest. Still, I met a variety of people. Some of them tech-savvy. Others – Well… not so much.

I did meet this one girl who worked as a Social media for her company. We got to talking and found that we both do totally different things in the same field. Yet somehow, I learned from her and hopefull,y she from me.

What was the coolest was when I talked to her at the next meeting, she mentioned that she had listened to my podcasts and learned a little about tech. I had to smile there. Not only because I picked up a new listener, but it was someone I didn’t expect. Someone I just had idle chatter with and turned into a new listener. And of course, I go over to her writings so we can talk about that, too.

A strong community can mean a strong nation. This is very true in Social Networking. You never know what is going on only a few doors down from you. Have you ever wondered if your neighbors were also in Social media?

I used to live in an apartment complex on the far west side. The last two days I lived there, I found out only 4 doors down from me lived another guitar player who practiced all the time. If I would have went to the apartment picnics or volleyball games, I might have met this person earlier and we could have gotten together to jam a little. Instead, I finished moving and never saw them again.

It is important to spread your wings. Have a group of people across the world listening and reading. But let that local community work for you. Sometimes, you would be surprised. Someone that comes out of the woodwork and listens to what you have to say – reads what you write. And you wouldn’t have met them if it wasn’t for local networking…