Homeplug vs Wireless network speed test

Lots of specifications, statistics and wildly inaccurate quotes abound in IT no more so than network speeds.

A long wet Easter weekend was therefore put to good use as i conducted a non scientific, non technical but hopefully realistic test on homeplug powerline vs 802.11g wireless thoughtput in the real world.
The real world being my humble 4 bedroom detached house of standard brick construction, full of noisy electronics, power saving bulbs, microwave, multi-sockets gangs in every socket, 3 kids (v.noisy) with DS & computers, Wii, xbox360, loads of power sockets stuffed with chargers and everyday run of the mill geek heavendom.

The Test
Standard white BT homehub in the sitting room would be the core, connected to the router was a Lacie 500gb NAS with a Ubuntu 8.10 file 699mb all in one big ISO file.

54g USB WiFi adapter

85mbps Homeplug

200mbps Homeplug
Test 1.Same room
36mb/s 38mb/s 62mb/s
Test 2.Two rooms away
13mb/s 27mb/s 46mb/s
Test 3.Upstairs directly above
7mb/s 14mb/s 32mb/s
Test 4,
Upstairs – as far away as possible with power socket
unusable 9mb/s 27mb/s

Not surprising to be honest. None of the network speeds are actually acheivable outside of a lab. 802.11g wireless dropped of the quickest due to walls etc whereas homeplugs suffer most on each link on the mains,  one socket in, one socketout and a change of ring main through the fusebox to the upstairs.

Homeplug  adapters are the easiest to setup and the 85mbps model provides a very usable broadband sharing speed around the house, online gaming would be fine.

Homeplug 200mbps where pretty good with throughput, a Blueray movie is 25mb sec so would perform the media streaming even on the extremes of my house, again the AV stands its ground.

Wireless networks are the most flexible on location due to the no wires, but is ultimately limited for the same reason.
WiFi signals are prone to interference, the environemt can chage rapidly, even people walking between the base and client can blip the signal.

none from my simple test sadly, I need more data and my wife needs DIY done :-(

PLEASE comment on this thread with any data you have regarding manufacture and throughput and i will compile a chart to give a better day to day reality of Homeplug Vs WiFi.

Test conducted with netmeter


2013 Update (well its about time)

Things have changed so we conducted the whole test again.

changes mainly being:

Wet Easter weekends seem to have been upgrade to full summers of Wet :-(

BT hub has been replaced with a Billion 7800n router, the Lacie NAS died so was replaced with Netgear DuoNAS and both 54g wireless and 85mbps homeplugs are dead in the water now, also Ubuntu has been updated to 13.04


300n WiFi

Thinkpad X220

200mbps Homeplug

Solwise piggy

500mbps Homeplug

Solwise piggy

Test 1.Same room






Test 2.Two rooms away






Test 3.Upstairs directly above






Test 4,

Upstairs – as far away as possible with power socket






Lots of other things electrically would have changed in the four years and never resolved the performance of the Thinkpad.

500mbps homeplugs no surprise performed the best, no WiFi signal issues and give a nice low ping 10/100 network type performance throughout the house.

Posted in homeplug questions Homeplug speed Powerline Info on August 18, 2009.

5 responses to “Homeplug vs Wireless network speed test”

  1. John said:

    Thankyou for this test review – very useful and great to see it “tells it as it is”. I’ll be buying a Homeplug on the strength of this information.

  2. Solwise Gigabit HomePlug NET-PL-1000M in stock @ £41.00 said:

    [...] As with all homeplugs and also networks in general, the quoted speeds are always maximums from lab based test in ideal conditions on clean mains circuit. Real world is sadly something else, we did a homeplug vs wifi test some time ago here [...]

  3. Martin said:

    Thanks for this..Good to see “real-world” figures – I had not realised how severe the drop-off is, with wi-fi. Think I will use homeplugs to connect my router to my new Sony TV.

  4. Andrew said:

    Thanks for some real figures. I always find the truth more reassuring that lab test figures. On the strength of this I am confident of buying some adapters from you. Just which ones tho….?

  5. Homeplug Stated Throughput Vs Actual said:

    [...] We also carried out some real world tests in my house, results are here [...]

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