Remember when, not so long ago, home networking using power lines seemed down for the count due to slow throughput rates, especially as Draft N wireless devices entered the market? Thanks to improved technology, the HomePlug standard is staging a comeback, with big-name brands like Linksys releasing new kits using the updated HomePlug Turbo and HomePlug AV flavors. Netgear is now upgrading its offerings as well, finally releasing the new Powerline HD Plus Ethernet Adapter Kit (HDXB111) and Powerline AV Ethernet Adapter Kit (XAVB101) (which were first shown at CES in January).
Both kits come with two adapters that use a Powerline HD interface that is rated at 200Mbps maximum throughput, though Netgear is emphasizing the Quality of Service features of the HDXB111 that will prioritize video, gaming, and VoIP traffic. The HDXB111 adapters also come with built-in AC outlets, so you can plug in other devices while the adapter is plugged in to the wall outlet. If you can live without those features, the XAVB101 will be a little cheaper ($149.99 versus $169.99 for the HDXB111).
As its name suggests, the HDXB111 is being touted for its ability to stream high-def content with minimal hiccups. We'll have to see some reviews before we can be assured that this is the case, but it's encouraging to see that the convenience that power-line networking offers hasn't been tossed on the dustbin of history just yet.
Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and IT Security blogs.