PLC Performance: ARRIS SBX-1000P (G.hn) vs. D-Link DHP-P701AV (HomePlug AV2)

The ARRIS SBX-1000P is a wired network extender based on G.hn technology. It is meant to be used in conjunction with a RipCurrent router such as the SBR-AC1900P. The aspect that differentiates the SBR-AC1900P from other AC1900 routers is the integration of a G.hn PLC chipset inside the router itself. Otherwise the design is a standard Broadcom-based AC1900 router (Broadcom BCM4709A as the SoC and the Broadcom BCM4360 for the 3x3:3 an+ac / bgn 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz radios). The G.hn PLC chipset is from Marvell - the 88LX3142 for the digital baseband and the 88LX2718 for the analog front end.

The SBX-1000P is a simple PLC node with a single Ethernet port. It uses the same Marvell platform as the G.hn segment of the SBR-AC1900P. Similar to the Comtrend PG-9172 that we reviewed earlier, it comes with MIMO support and G.hn / HPAV co-existence technology.

The D-Link DHP-P701AV is an AV2 2000-class HomePlug AV2-compliant PLC kit. It uses the Broadcom BCM60500 chipset. It earns the AV2 2000 designation, thanks to its MIMO capabilities and the use of the full possible spectrum allowed by HomePlug AV2 - 2 to 86 MHz.

Note that this kit is meant to be used in conjunction with a regular router. There are products such as the Nighthawk DST in the market that combine the router and PLC chipset in a single unit (like the ARRIS kit we just discussed above). However, the Nighthawk DST uses a cheaper SISO version of the Broadcom chipset that is only AV750-class.

In any case, we are going to compared wired backhaul over power lines using the best possible products that G.hn and HomePlug AV2 currently have in the market. The graphs below shows the TCP and UDP downlink and uplink speeds across the six different locations in our test setup.

In almost all cases (except for a few UDP ones), the HomePlug AV2 2000-class D-Link DHP-P701AV delivers better throughput. This is in contrast to the previous review of the Comtrend PG-9172, where the G.hn kit could hold its own against the AV2 1200 products. The upcoming generation of G.hn chipsets promises better performance - it remains to be seen if that makes G.hn achieve performance parity with HomePlug AV2 in our particular test setup.

Evaluation Methodology and Tested Configurations Extending Wi-Fi Reach: ARRIS SBX-AC1200P (G.hn) vs. Netgear Orbi (Mesh Wi-Fi)
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  • mpickard - Monday, April 3, 2017 - link

    Help your clients roam better, make sure you are setting up your wireless Access Points (APs) such that their transmit (TX) power doesn't exceed your weakest client device. Usually this means turning the TX power down to about 25% on 2.4 ghz band and 50-60% on 5ghz band. Additionally, 2.4ghz band should be restricted to 20mhz wide channel widths and utilizing channels 1, 6, or 11 so they are not interfering with each other. Can also turn off 802.11b compatibility (may be able to turn off 802.11g as well if all your client devices support newer standards) which will also help force clients to connect at higher speeds (= closer APs) Reply
  • cen - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    WiFi is the worst thing ever. It should cover the whole house x2, instead it covers 50% if you are lucky and then you have to waste your time with extenders. In the meantime I can get 4G with faster speeds than wired from a tower 100km away! Ridiculous. Reply
  • jordanclock - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    Yeah, it's almost as if different frequencies have different penetration properties. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    Don't you dare bring science into this! Reply
  • timbotim - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    Quite superb! Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    There's also regulatory bodies that limit transmit power resulting in limits on range. Reply
  • sor - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    Could you imagine if every household were broadcasting a signal that could be picked up from miles away? :) Reply
  • savagemike - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    The worst thing ever? Really? Settle down and finish your dinner. Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    >Netgear does have the Nighthawk DST (Dead Spot Terminator) kit hat combines a Nighthawk R7000 with a Broadcom-based HomePlug AV2-compliant PLC chipset. However, it is more of a limited release with the kit being sold only through Best Buy.

    Just wanted to say that the "Netgear R7000" in the BestBuy/GeekSquad DeadSpot Terminator (DST) bundle isn't an ordinary Netgear R7000, which is popular amongst prosumers for running open source router firmware, known as DD-WRT.

    It's actually a modified R7000, running different base firmware, and has the power adapter integrated into the router enclosure. It's officially known as a "R7300DST", and unfortunately has no DD-WRT firmware support.

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-r...

    Ironically, the older R7000 is more expensive than the R7300DST, which comes with the powerline ethernet adapter, and I purchased the R7300DST a few months back thinking it's a better deal than any other R7000 I saw, only to be disappointed that what I had purchased was in-fact not DD-WRT compatible.

    All that being said, it's still a fine router on the stock firmware, and better than what I had before, but was originally only interested in going for a DD-WRT router, so as to go open source.
    Reply
  • Makaveli - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    I was actually wondering if Netgear upgraded the internals on that modified R7000 like asus as did with the 1900P best buy only model running 1.4 Ghz cpu vs the 800-1Ghz of the original.

    And the best Open source firmware for the R7000 is Asus Merlin. I would choose it over DD-WRT!
    Reply

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