NetGear XAVB101 Network Adapter Reviews
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NetGear XAVB101 Network Adapter

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plug and surf

Mar 11, 2010 (Updated Mar 11, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Installation:
  • Ease of Use:

Pros:easy to install with great consistently high bandwidth

Cons:somewhat pricey and your miles might vary depending on your home wiring and environment

The Bottom Line: give it try if your home doesn't already have ethernet jacks or wifi technology is hindered by distance/walls/etc.


Why would I go back to the stone ages and get a wired connection when wireless is here? Here's why:

1) bandwidth
2) security
3) consistency

I'll come back to compare these. First, setting up the Netgear XAVB101 was a piece of cake. The XAVB101 kit comes with two adapters and two ethernet cables. I plugged one adapter directly into the wall near my computer.  From the adapter, I connected one ethernet cable to my PC.  With the second included netgear adapter, I plugged it into the wall power socket near my router/cable modem.  From it, I connected the ethernet cable to my router.

Done. I was able to browse the web, view my network shares from my computer as if I directly connected to the router via ethernet or wifi.  Since it's 10/100 ethernet technology, it's compatible with nearly every operating system including MAC, Windows and Linux.

Since I live in an apartment with neighbors, it's possible that someone else's electrical system is connected to mine. Thus, it's possible to interfere or connect to others with the same homeplug technology. This is where the encryption plays a role.  Each adapter is capable of storing a secure password and only connect to adapter which have the same password. The process is simple: hold one adapter's security button for 2 seconds, followed by doing the same on the second adapter. The same process can be performed on up to 10 adapters.

Netgear includes a disc manual and a software utility to browse and configure the adapters you own.  This software is very useful and includes features such as: change passwords, prioritize certain clients/protocols/vlans, turn off the LED's, and upgrade the firmware.  Turning off the LED's was a big plus for me as I have an adapter next to my TV.

Finally, going back to the bullet points above:

bandwidth -
across my 2 bedroom apartment:

Netgear's XAVB101 = 40-45mbps
802.11g wifi =12mbps
802.11n = 16-20mbps

When in closer proximity to my router/basestation:

Netgear XAVB101 = 60-70mbps
802.11g wifi = 20mbps
802.11n wifi = 64-100mbps

Pretty impressive especially at a distance.

security - both wireless and netgear's XAVB101 homeplug support encryption.  But i'd think it's less likely someone can physically plug into my home's power grid and break the encryption than snoop wifi packets surrounding my home.

consistency - Netgear XAVB101 is always on with little variance in latency and bandwidth.  When my computer comes out of sleep, boots or hibernates, the network connection is instantly on.  With Wifi, I tend to have some delay as access point is being connected to.  Overall, once connected, both wired and wireless have stable network connections.

power consumption is relatively low at 3-4watts.  If the computer is shutdown (ethernet is not connected), the Netgear adapter sleeps at around 1watt.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 120
Driver Availability: Windows, Linux, and Mac


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