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Benchmark Results: Zap Tests, Same Room

Which Networking Technology Is Right For Your Home?

First, let’s check out our short-range test. Again, this is something of a best-case scenario. Obviously, no one is going to run a MoCA, WiFi, or powerline network solely in the same room. You’d simply run Ethernet and be done. Still, we can use these numbers as a benchmark by which to judge results taken from a more sensible in-home distance.

Predictably, Gigabit Ethernet using UDP blows everything else off the map. We expected to hit average (50%) numbers in the 800 to 900 Mb/s range and weren’t disappointed with our 892 Mb/s average. This is about as much as a 1,000 Mb/s Gigabit line can sustain. The interesting thing to note here is the 488 Mb/s minimum performance number. Taken in ratio against the average number, we see a much higher drop-off with Gigabit Ethernet than the other technologies, but let’s keep things in perspective. Only Gigabit Ethernet can let you run 10 or more concurrent HD streams at perfect frame rates with no visible glitching. Every other option merely competes for the most compelling runner-up spot. Because of this massive disparity between Gigabit Ethernet and everything else, we nearly eliminated it from our test set, but we felt the comparison had its own educational merits.

This same-room UDP chart sets the stage for most of our subsequent results: MoCA edges out WiFi, which in turn skates past powerline. Keep in mind that our Netgear MoCA and powerline adapters use 100 Mb/s rather than Gigabit Ethernet ports. We really wonder if MoCA might have distanced itself further ahead of WiFi and coax had Netgear implemented GbE. If and when MoCA 2.0 arrives, perhaps we’ll find out.

The TCP numbers may rank the same as the UDP set, but notice the differences. MoCA and the 5 GHz kit pull in similar average numbers, but we see a surprisingly large difference in the 99% results, perhaps indicating that all of that extra coax shielding may be helping packets get safely from point A to B unhindered, after all. Also noteworthy is that the Powerline AV kit manages to squeeze past the 5 GHz product on our 99% TCP test. The interesting take-away for us in these short-distance tests was not that MoCA blew past its rivals—which is sort of irrelevant since hardly anyone has multiple coax drops in the same room—but that powerline held its own against 5 GHz wireless. Yes, WiFi emerges as slightly faster at both average and minimum performance levels, but it wouldn’t take a lot of additional 5 GHz interference or a change in building materials to tip the balance strongly in powerline’s favor in a close-range networking scenario.

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