The bundle includes three software utilities with the Informer providing a quick view of all accessible AVdesk units. EasyClean is a simple but handy tool for cleaning up the mess after a browser session while EasyShare provides a neat interface for chatting with other AVdesk users and publishing shares for file downloads. The latter is a nice idea although the Norton AntiVirus running on one test PC didn’t think much of it as it considered it an intrusion attempt by a worm and blocked it from communicating. This is easy enough to get round though as we simply added the EasyShare executable to the AntiVirus permitted program list.
We’ve always looked askance at any network product’s claimed top speed as they are rarely achievable in the real world. The AVdesk products aren’t the first HomePlug devices that tout a 200Mbit/sec top speed as we first saw this with Corinex’ ultimately flawed AV PowerLine Ethernet Adapters. Performance testing with Corinex returned a paltry maximum speed of 21.2Mbit/sec and this required a registry hack to achieve as well. Devolo faired slightly better but performance was still well short of the mark. We linked a 1.6Ghz Fujitsu Siemens notebook with a Supermicro Pentium D 3.2GHz PC and initially connected them to the same plug board so distance was at a minimum. Running Iometer between them returned a raw throughput of only 35Mbit/sec – well below the claimed speeds. We confirmed this by copying a 691MB video file from the PC to the notebook and saw this take 171 seconds for an average of 32.3Mbit/sec. Using EasyShare didn’t make any difference as this took 176 seconds to download the same file from the PC to the notebook. We then moved the notebook to the floor below and to the furthest reaches of our residential power grid and reran the same test. As we saw with the Corinex products, distance can have a negative impact on performance although Devolo didn’t suffer as badly with the same file copy taking 185 seconds for an average speed of 29.8Mbit/sec.
The AVdesk kit is a simple method of reducing cable related clutter on your network but you do pay a premium for the privilege. Nevertheless, although still well short of the manufacturer’s claims, they deliver the best speeds we’ve yet seen from HomePlug AV compliant devices and are relatively simple to install and use.