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Stuck - 802.11N vs homeplug AV

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This is my first post, so hello all!

I am about to upgrade my home network from a wireless G setup, but am completely stuck as to whether to go for a dual band 802.11n or Homeplug AV solution. I have a few rather constraining requirements which is making things rather difficult, and was wondering if anyone here could help me decide what to do.

So, here's what I have...

In the lounge:
HTPC (gigabit LAN, 802.11g)
PS3 (gigabit LAN, 802.11n)
Wii (10/100 LAN, 802.11g)
Macbook Pro (802.11n)
Windows Laptop (802.11g)

In the office:
ADSL Router (10/100 LAN, 802.11g)
Windows PC (10/10 LAN)

In the bedroom:
DMA2200 media center extender (10/100 LAN, dual band 802.11n)

I may add a NAS somewhere in the house (depending on performance constraints).

My main requirement is for streaming HD video content (1080p) from the HTPC to the extender (and from NAS to extender if I add one, but not at the same time) with a few Mbps left over for internet access for the laptops, PS3 and/or Windows PC.

I know a wired setup is always going to be best but it's just not possible (better half won't let me...). At the moment I am not sure whether to get a few Homeplug adaptors (HTPC, router and extender) or a N router and adaptor for the HTPC. The 802.11n setup would have to allow for 802.11g connections as one laptop can't be upgraded.

My main concerns with 802.11n are that performance will be reduced because it needs to work with G, and heavy-bandwidth traffic will have to flow over wireless twice - i.e. from HTPC to router to extender. My existing 802.11g network gets about half strength at both endpoints even though it's a small house. I am also not sure how this meshes with dual band - not sure if the macbook pro or PS3 support it, and will it work with g?

My main concern with Homeplug is that the extender is limited to 10/100. I'm also not entirely sure how it works, i.e. can everything talk to everything else this way, at full bandwidth? It would also be nice to have gigabit somewhere in the mix for writing to the NAS.

So which would be better?
Trouble-free HD streaming is not guaranteed with either draft 11n or powerline. As you point out, two wireless hops for the HD stream will really cut your bandwidth.

You didn't describe the distances involved, home construction or surrounding wireless environment. But I'd say that your chances of getting HD streaming to work with your setup are low.

Powerline is not guaranteed either, since light dimmers and other noise sources can kill throughput.

Ethernet is best for HD. If you only need to go one room to another, just drill a small hole in the wall and be done with it. Otherwise, I'd try powerline first. Get a pair of HomePlug AV or UPA adapters, rated "200 Mbps" or higher. Get same make and model.
Thanks for your reply Tim, I feared you might be right. In truth the HD is not so important right now, but I plan to introduce this soon. I do have a couple of dimmers but could potentially replace these, so perhaps you're right that powerline is the way to go. Is it the presence of the dimmers that is the problem, or would running them either fully off or fully on be fine? I'd rather not replace these just to test the throughput.

I'm still not sure exactly how powerline works, in particular with respect to the inclusion of the router (using three powerline adaptors). Would this setup suffer from the same 2-hop issue?
It is the electrical noise generated by the dimmers that can reduce throughput. Full on may cause lower noise. There won't be a problem if the dimmers/lights are switched off.

Good question on the multi-hop issue for powerline. You get the throughput hit with a wireless router because the one radio in the router has to receive, then retransmit, which doubles the airtime and effectively cuts end-to-end throughput in at least half.

Powerline operates peer-to-peer. So traffic flows directly from HTPC to Media Extender. This is another plus for powerline.
The main issue here is what you'll get for effective bandwidth.

I have the linksys powerline pltk300 and 2-pls300. Setup is very easy. The pltk comes with the pls300 and one adapter with a single ethernet port. Setup is very easy. Plug the single ethernet adapter into your router, and plug it in to an electrical outlet. Then just plug the pls300 into any outlet and it connects to any network and you have 4 ethernet ports to connect to ps3, DVR, or whatever.

Works fairly well, however in my home with this setup I do not have enough bandwidth to be able to play bluray high def material or home movies captured with my HV20 high def camcorder. I do have enough bandwidth to play high-def recordings of tv stations captured with Hauppauge tv tuner. DVD quality material plays great as well. I play these files through ps3.

I have had good luck with dual band wireless N. My router is a DLink dap-825 and I have a hp 475 homeserver connected to the router. I have a ps3 connected to a DLink DAP-1522 and can stream all these files to my ps3.The signal only has to go through one wall and the DAP-1522 is about 30 feet away. I have to stream through the 5Ghz channel as the 2.4Ghz channel is not sufficient to stream high-def. The problem with 5Ghz is that the signal is drastically reduced with distance and how many walls/and or concrete it has to penetrate.

Hope this helps.
Wireless to the bedroom would have to go through the bathroom (two tiled walls) and a total distance of about 35 feet I'd say. To the lounge is about 12 foot through a floor.

My existing 802.11g setup seems to play standard def recorded TV (MPEG2) fine, I just am not sold by wireless having experienced problems in the "bad old days".

How much of a difference would running a 802.11n network in mixed mode make? Can I still use dual band for the extender (albeit through those 2 walls) and 54g for the laptop?
Throughput is only reduced in a mixed b/g/n network when both flavors are active simultaneously. So don't use the notebook when you are watching HD video.

With the tile walls, HD video might not play without problems if you use the 5 GHz band, since 5GHz signals get attenuated more quickly than 2.4GHz. The floor might be ok. Only way to know for sure is to try. But again, the two-hop with wireless also works against you.
Thought I'd update and say a quick thank you - I've bought a couple of Homeplug adaptors (Zyxel 200Mbps) and they seem pretty good. Dimmers make no diffrerence either. Now the only problem is the performance of my media center PC when the extender is in use :)

As I was installing the homeplugs in the lounge I discovered a phone port I didn't know was there! So as it happens I would have been able to hardwire the downstairs PC into the router, and cut out one of the wireless steps. Such is life! I feel more confident in the homeplug solution anyway.
Thanks for the update. How were you going to use the phone line to run Ethernet?
Sorry, to be clearer the phone line wasn't for networking, it's just needed for placement of the ADSL router - I had thought the lounge didn't have one which is why the router was upstairs) but turns out it does :)
That makes sense. All the HPNA (phone line networking) guys have gone to HPNA-over-coax, so I was wondering...

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