Powerline + Wireless
Updated 7/10/2010: Lower Amazon price
Of course the real reason you'd shell out
$170 $155 is for the ability to position the 210P in your (not so) favorite wireless dead zone. Figure 16 shows the test setup I used to see whether the combination of powerline and wireless N is any better than what I got when I tried this with the ZyXEL HomePlug AV + 11g wireless.
The IxChariot console is a computer in my office connected to a LAN switch, where the 200P-I1 HomePlug AV adapter that comes in the kit with the 210P is also connected via its 10/100 Ethernet port. The 200P itself is plugged into the outlet just outside the office, so it bypasses the AFCI breaker.
Figure 16: Wireless vs. wireless via powerline throughput test setup
The 210P was then plugged into the outlet used for the Location F powerline test, which provided about 38 Mbps throughput to the 210P's 10/100 Ethernet port. But this time, instead of connecting the test client (IxChariot Endpoint) via Ethernet, I connected via wireless, with only 3 feet or so between the 210P and the notebook.
Figure 17 compares downlink speed between the computer in my office to the wireless notebook directly connected via wireless (the lower traces) and through the HomePlug AV + 11n wireless route. (For the lower direct wireless traces, tst(1) is 20 MHz mode and tst(2) is 20/40 MHz mode.
Figure 17: Wireless vs. wireless via powerline throughput - Location F downlink
It's pretty obvious that having the 210P nearer the wireless client, even though the connection back to the wired LAN is only 38 Mbps, yields much higher throughput. And the 21 to 25 Mbps bandwidth with this setup is better than the 14 Mbps that I got with the Zyxel EBG318S / PLA450 combo, which used 802.11g.
This little kit ended up surprising me. Although its powerline performance isn't as fast as I've seen with other "200 Mbps" powerline gear, it did seem to be more consistent from location to location than I've previously seen. And as much as I dislike single-stream N APs, in this application, it's appropriate, since the powerline connection bandwidth ends up limiting the end-to-end throughput anyway.
Updated 5/17/2011: Lower Amazon price
$170 $155 $130 seems a bit much for this combo. But if you tried to make a DIY version with a pair of HomePlug AV adapters and a cheap 11n router / AP, you'd end up around the same price anyway, and with not as compact and convenient a package on the AP end. And with little competition, there is little incentive for Innoband to lower its price.
I'd feel better recommending the product if Innoband were a more familiar name and the products were available from more places than just Amazon. But at least the company has a U.S. office in San Jose and publishes its phone number. On the other hand, if you hit the support page, you're told "Technical support is available between Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM (PT). Please contact us using the email addresses below". Not exactly confidence inspiring if you like a product with strong support.
I wouldn't rely on this kit to provide reliable HD video streaming. But if you need better Wi-Fi coverage out on your deck, on your patio or at your pool this summer for audio streaming, iPad browsing or whatever and don't want to spend a lot of time getting it done, this Innoband HomePlug AV Wireless N Kit may be the way to go.