Trendnet 200Mbps Powerline Neworking Kit - Performance and Final Thoughts

Article Index
Trendnet 200Mbps Powerline Neworking Kit
Features and Specifications
Installation, Setup and More
Performance and Final Thoughts
 

Network Performance:

As far as performance goes, we fired up iperf to do a little benchmarking on this router.  Iperf results show bandwidth that the network is actually capable of.  In the real world, you won't see wired transfer rates approaching 1000mpbs because hard drives are barely fast enough to read and write at this speed.  Also, CPU overhead becomes an issue when transferring this much data.  We use iperf with confidence as it shows how good the network hardware actually is and if it can perform anywhere close to its rated specs.

Network Performance

 

As this is our only Powerline kit we've ever reviewed, we haven't compared it to other products.  If you're interested in raw network performance comparisons, our latest router review of the Linksys E4200 has wired and wireless performance numbers that should compared to the "Medium Range" results of this product.  In terms of the wired network performance on that review - range doesn't matter.

Overall, the range of the TPL-307E2K impressed me.  While the speed takes a serious hit over that much distance, we dropped no packets and the signal remained "good" (amber LED) all through the tests.  Over medium range, performance was much better however and the ping was about twice as good.  Short range performance is where this product shined - if you can say achieving 29% of the rated speed on the box is shining.  Using a multi-threaded iPerf instance we managed to squeeze out an average of just under 59Mbps with a ping of 3ms.

 

Final Thoughts:

The TPL-307E2K from Trendnet is an interesting piece of hardware.  Trendnet promises a lot with their advertising, but fails to deliver the claimed performance - not just by technical limitations, but by physical hardware insufficiencies.  They cripple the product immediately by limiting the Ethernet port to 100Mbps so it cannot reach the 200Mbps speeds advertised on the box.  Perhaps the chipset inside the device is capable of more than 100Mbps, but when they limit the input side of things, I seriously doubt it.

The build quality of this kit seems pretty solid.  I has a nice durable feel to it and the bonus outlet is very handy as I plugged it into the wall then plugged my laptop into the provided outlet.  This is a great way to operate the device and it will allow you to have a couple of cords (network & power) running from the wall to your device.  This is a great way to help solve cable clutter.

The included cables were appreciated and are just the right length to hook to the device that you've plugged the power into.  In some cases, a longer cable might be nice, but for most instances and typical uses of the TPL-307E2K, the cable length is just right.  

Installation is a snap.  It's simple, straightforward, non-complicated and fast.  You couldn't really ask for an easier product to install, setup and use.

Performance.  Ah... Where to begin?  As previously mentioned, Trendnet operates under an umbrella of confusion with this product as they advertise speeds that it can't achieve.  That being said, the fine print "clears this up", but the average consumer will not read this and become disillusioned with Trendnet once they notice their network performance is not anywhere close to what was indicated on the box.  Overall, I have no frame of reference when compared to other Powerline products, but at short range, I'd expect a little better bandwidth.  I understand that signal degradation occurs over longer ranges and this is what pulls the speeds down over our "long range" tests.

I was impressed that we didn't experience packet loss, but in the end the 3Mbps performance was a little painful for file transfers.

In terms of value, I've seen this kit on sale for as little as $90 and for that price they could be tempting in certain situations.  Granted, they do have some performance issues and Trendnet has some marketing issues that they need to resolve, but for that price, they might be worth considering if you need a long-range network and don't have line of sight for wireless and simply cannot run a network cable.

 

Pros:

  • Super simple to install and setup
  • No wireless interference 
  • Affordable for special situations
  • Don't drop packets - even over long range

 

Cons:

  • Not 200Mbps
  • Only have 100Mbps ports
  • Performance drops rapidly as range increases

 

If Trendnet marketed these as 100Mbps adapters, I'd be happy to recommend them, but as they have tried pull a fast one on consumers, I would leave them be.  Hopefully, we can try out the 500Mbps kit in the future and will test and judge their performance against these.

BCCRating 

I would like to thank Trendnet for sending the TPL-307E2K kit over for us to review.  We do look forward to following up this review with their other mainstream Powerline product in the future to see how it all compares.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.