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”.

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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.