Computers, Home Cinema, Media Players, Networking, Reviews

Hands On: NETGEAR XAVB5004 Internet Adapter For Home Theater

netgear_internet_adapter_for_home_theater_xavb5004_774306_g1

NETGEAR XAVB5004 Internet Adapter For Home Theater

Design8
Features9
Performance7
Ease of Use8
Value for Money6
7.6 out of 10
Summary The NETGEAR XAVB5004 Internet Adapter For Home Theater packs a great set of features and 500 Mbps bandwidth. But be warned that the quality of your home electrical wiring will ultimately dictate speeds.

Introduction

Last week, I checked out a 500 Mbps powerline adapter kit from TRENDnet.  This week, I get to try out a second 500 Mbps powerline adapter kit from NETGEAR, termed the “XAVB5004 Internet Adapter For Home Theater”.

XAVB5004

For those who may not be aware of what a powerline adapter is or what it can do, I will once again repeat my short synopsis of networking alternatives:

[box type=”info”]In this connected world, there are 3 basic methods of getting information from one computer to another. All 3 have their advantages. And disadvantages. These methods are:

Wired Ethernet networking provides the fastest and highest quality signal.  However, running cable can get quite expensive to run in homes that do not lend itself to running cable. It also severely limits the mobility of mobile computers such as notebooks and netbooks.

Wireless networking allows one to “cut the cable”.  While wireless has improved greatly over the years, particularly with wireless-N technology, limited range along with “cold” spots have hampered it’s success for streaming media.

Powerline networking is basically another form of Ethernet cable networking.  The difference is that powerline networking uses the electrical wiring in a home to duplicate the function of routing Ethernet cable to areas that would not be accessible otherwise.  It is there to provide Ethernet cable quality networking for steaming media.  It is not as fast as Ethernet cable, and it not as flexible as wireless networking; it is simply an alternative when the other options are not feasible.[/box]

The NETGEAR XAVB5004 Internet Adapter For Home Theater is one product that falls into that last networking method.  With this kit, I am quite curious how the higher bandwidth capability of a 500 Mbps adapter over a 200 Mbps adapter will effect throughput, and how it performs against the TRENDnet 500 Mbps kit.

What’s In The Box?

The XAVB5004 adapter kit comes in normal consumer oriented package for sale in a B&M store.  A once-around the packaging gives one a very good idea of what is in the box and what the product can do for you.

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Upon opening the packaging, you find the adapters well secured for the trip from the factory to your home or business.

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Upon removal of the contents, you will find a sender adapter, receiver adapter, two Ethernet cables, Quick Installation Guide, a product catalog, and a Resource CD.

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A few close ups of the XAV5001 sender,

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and a few close ups of the XAV5004 receiver/switch.

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You may note the various colors of the Ethernet ports above.  NETGEAR designed these ports to have varying degrees of Quality of Service (QoS) priorities assigned to each port:

  • Port 1 (dark green) has HIGH priority, and gives uninterrupted service to the
    connected device. Devices you would connect to Port 1 include media servers,
    storage devices, gaming consoles, video players, or internet telephones.
  • Port 2 (light green) has MEDIUM priority. You can connect devices such as
    gaming consoles, video players, or internet telephones to this port.
  • Ports 3 and 4 (yellow) have LOW priority, and are best for networking data
    devices, such as printers.
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Hello. I’m from the heartland of the U.S. Lots of corn and beans, although Iowa is a lot more than just farmland. It also has a few computer enthusiasts (no, not me!). I’ve been around PCs since I got my 1st PC XT aloooong time ago. WGS is one of the first sites I found centered around WHS. And the best. Every once in awhile, I do get away from the KB and enjoy time with and my wife and our 4 kids. And I do have a day job.
  • Harry C

    Hi to everyone, I have one of these kits here in the UK, I have a Billion 7800N ADSL router and a WHS EX495 all placed in my garage including the 5001 sender, the 5004 receiver is in my lounge and connected to my media centre, Boxee Box etc. I can stream 1080p movies from my Boxee Box with no problems as opposed to streaming via good old wireless. I think the cost is justified considering the increased viewing pleasure and the reduced grief from my wife.
    Keep up the excellent work you guys put into this site.
    Regards Harry Calland

  • pxrnm

    Hi, just wondering how is this product compares to WD Livewire? I am torn between these 2 products and don’t know what’s best to get?

  • Michael

    Very complete review – answered a ton of the questions I had.  Thanks for the legwork!

  • Age Boelens

    I have a question. Could I use one sender with two receivers? So connect one adapter to my router and then send network to both my TV downstairs as well as my PC in the bedroom?

  • Shiva

    I was in the market to buy either the XAVB1004 or XAVB5004. The price difference (here in Sydney, Australia) between the two is around $60. I read the review by Jim Clark (excellent by the way) on both the products. I am now somewhat confused as to to which one to go for. Under ‘Verdict’ for XAVB1004 I notice that it is NOT much good for Video. By the same token on XAVB5004  the Verdict says that there is ONLY marginal improvements between the two products. If that is the case, I would rather opt for XAVB1004 (due to price) but I do want to make sure my Internet-TV, Roku Box and SetTopBox will work with anything I stream through the internet by connecting it with the NetGear kit. If necessary, I am prepared to pay the HIGHER price. Any helpful comment would be appreciated. 
    My environment:* Two story house around 25 years old – wiring fine; Netgear Router is upstairs (2 yrs old)* Cable Internet; http://www.speedtest.net says I average 12Mbps* I have an imac and an ASUS Windows Laptop & a HP Internet Printer* Using Imac, Laptop & Printer via WIFi (wireless)* Also, an STP, Roku-box & internet enabled TV (3D capable).* I subscribe to some Asian channels using Channel-store via the ROKU box.* Do NOT care about HULU as I am unable to get it here in AustraliaThanksEmail me please; shivaiyr2004@yahoo.com.au:     

  • willover

    Wow. A great review. Many more insights than expected. I will be checking back here for other product reviews 😉 Very well done!

  • Guest

    Maybe a dumb question but can u have two transmitters with only one reciever?

  • Jeff Goldman

    I was unhappy with the WiFi connection from my WHS 2011 server over Gigabit Router (Asus RT-56AC) to both 802.11n 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz. While the signal was acceptable there were noticeable delays in starting the video and fast forward/skip forward also had some delays. The files were both ripped .mp4s and wmv files – some from a BluRay original and others from a DVD original. The Powerline adapters (500 Mbps D-Link and Actiontec (they were compatible with each other) made a noticeable difference in both the startup lag and times when I had to fast forward/rewind/skip forward in any file. I was lucky enough to get the TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT High-speed AV 500Mbps Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit and a TRENDnet TPL-406E2K Powerline 500 AV Nano Adapter Kit at $29.99 and $24.99 PER KIT (respectively). At those prices it was a steal.

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