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Netgear HDXB101 Powerline HD Ethernet Adapters - Netgear HDXB101 Powerline HD Ethernet

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


On the front of the adapters are three LEDs that, from left to right, indicate power, EOP connection, and Ethernet connection. Setting the kit up is as simple as plugging the two units in and connecting them to your existing network - one into a PC or notebook and the other into the switch, hub or router. Once correctly connected the first two LEDs will be lit and the third will flash along with network activity.

It's worth pointing out that, though these units are rated at 200Mbps this is actually somewhat misleading. The chip inside and the connecter are standard 100Mbps Fast Ethernet components. Under optimal conditions Fast Ethernet can operate in full duplex mode, which is sometimes referred to as 200Mbps, - the same way that DDR memory chips are referred to as their maximum speed rather than the actual MHz. Netgear has clearly gone with the larger figure for marketing purposes, which is a bit sneaky.

To test the kit's performance we used two laptops connected through a 100Mbps router, with the EOP in-between one laptop and the router - exactly as the manual suggests. Measurements were taken using the open source tool, Iometer.

The Netgear set attained a speed of 58Mbps, which is indeed fast enough to stream a full HD movie with plenty of headroom for Internet browsing, gaming, and other miscellaneous network activity. However, it would be interesting to see how well performance scales when you use several units on the same network.

Netgear bundles the HDXB101 with a configuration utility that enables you to password protect your network - useful if you share a building - and adjust quality-of-service (QoS) settings. You can prioritise UDP or TCP traffic, or individual programs. This is great for ensuring your favourite online game is not choked by someone downloading their latest podcast, for instance.

Lots of factors affect the bandwidth you may obtain with Powerline technology. Bad quality wiring, interference from other electronics, and the use of extensions will all adversely affect your overall speed. Even so, the majority of households will be covered by the HDXB101.


The HDXB101 is the fastest EOP kit we've ever tested though it loses points for being nowhere near the maximum speed and for misleading punters by suggesting it can do 200Mbps On the upside, setup is very simple, and the units look very elegant. However, neither of these really make up for the fact that this kit is £30 more expensive than the Panasonic kit, which is only slightly slower and offers more features and flexibility.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Features 8

Guilherme Mello

February 19, 2009, 8:42 pm

How far were the two adapters away from each other when you achieved these speeds? I've been reading reviews around the internet and a considerable number of them claim to be achieving speeds below 2mb/s!

Steve Redway

May 3, 2009, 9:59 pm

Power Line Adapters whilst seemingly a good solution to home networking are essentially a very poor technology, polluting the radio spectrum, interfering with your neighbours radio and not adhering to the European EMC directives. Passing these sort of signals, from 2-30MHz down your internal house wiring allows these signal to radiate over several hundreds of meters, much the same as an illegal radio transmitter. The government and OFCOM know the problems regarding Power Line Adapters and will respond when complaints are made by your neighbours in removing the devices, so please ensure that the shop you buy this product from has a sale or return policy.

Home networking has a perfectly good wireless system based on the IEEE 802.11 standards called Wi Fi and operating at 2.4GHz it interferes with no one, is legal, adheres to all European EMC directives and allows you to transfer your broadband and gaming system throughout the house.

There are campaigns afoot both at local and governmental level to have Power Line Adapter removed from the shops and banned, so really they are not such a good idea at all.

Mike Flower

September 10, 2009, 6:15 pm

Sorry Steve, your comments dont hold water.The IEEE 802 basket of standards are good enough but not brilliant, but 802.11 based standards do interefere with other systems. The 2.4GHz spectrum was released to be made public, and unfortunately not to be used exclusively for one type of technology (Bluetooth is one example). As far as I am aware ethernet cabling is not shielded and therefore the interference you refer to woudl be a similar issue?

The current 802. standards in the 2,4GHz is crowded. In my own network at home I am competing against at least 5 neighbours, not to mention our own Wii, all our Bluetooth equipment and our video sender! Drop outs and loss of sychronisation is a regualr occurence. I prefer wireless though and the 5GHz band is far less cluttered at the moment.

Ethernet cable

July 3, 2013, 6:31 pm

The combination of thick brick walls, interference from other devices,
and an inherent limited range make it far too unreliable and slow.

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