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Which Networking Technology Is Right For Your Home?

Benchmark Results: Iperf Bi-Directional Tests

We used iperf to test bi-directional performance under TCP. This is important because many multimedia applications still use TCP and run data streams both to and from the server. Not everything is UDP, as Tom’s Hardware editor Chris Angelini discovered when trying to stream Blu-ray ISO images to his home theater. You need a solution able to handle hi-def in both protocols. Netgear suggested the Iperf parameters we’ve mentioned for testing this specific application type. When the download and upload scripts are run concurrently, the total throughput can be added. Iperf runs TCP and UDP on port 5001 by default.

We expected slightly higher Gigabit Ethernet results, but 666.3 Mb/s is still a reasonable number. MoCA essentially takes every last bit that can be crammed through Netgear’s 100 Mb/s Ethernet port. Our 5 GHz and powerline parts also turn in decent performances. Interestingly, 5GHz 802.11n takes about a 20% waltz past powerline on this test, but it’s a fleeting victory.

When it comes to doing distance streaming in the home, there’s no question that MoCA continues to dominate for homes that lack in-wall Gigabit Ethernet, again taking that 100 Mb/s port to its limit and showing zero drop-off in performance across the home. Meanwhile, powerline takes a 35% hit and 5 GHz gets whacked to 55% of its in-room level. Given that we’re talking average TCP performance levels here, we’d be hard-pressed to trust 5 GHz for the most demanding bi-directional media tasks, and even powerline would give us pause. For those who can’t string Gigabit Ethernet, MoCA is clearly the only choice when high performance is needed.