This is a mini-review of the Devolo
MicroLink dLAN Ethernet Kit as per Devonavar’s suggestion. First things first, I am in no way associated with Devolo
This is my first review, so only constructive criticism please
Also, it appears that this technology has been readily available in retail channels to consumers for a couple of years now. It may not be new to everyone, but it certainly has not yet hit the mainstream (at least in Germany). In the event that you are already familiar with this, I don’t mean to bore you.
Devolo is a German company located in Aachen (former engineers of ELSA). They only distribute their products in Europe, but there are also companies in North America and elsewhere who produce and distribute HomePlug based products (see this link
I first heard about this technology of LAN over home electricity wires about 8 years ago when the local internet provider in my town announced that they would be investigating this technology. I had indicated my interest that I'd like to be a pilot customer, but the project never got off the ground. I guess the technology wasn’t mature enough. Since then, I have not followed developments in this arena. But I had enough of cable-salad, and would have had to have laid some tricky cable after a move – so I got on the WLAN bandwagon. Here in Germany, homes are built with thick metal reinforced concrete floors and stone walls. Not an ideal environment for WLAN. Unfortunately I never even considered dLAN at that time – in the meantime it had totally escaped my attention.
A couple of weeks ago, I friend of mine mentioned in passing that he has had dLAN installed in his home for some time now. I looked at him like he was a horse. dLAN
What the heck is that
After he told me, I was sold. I was able to get a test set of Devolo’s first version, which has a transfer rate up to 14Mbits/s. The newest Devolo version released has a transfer rate of up 85 Mbits/s. These transfer rates also depend on the electrical installation in your home – they are theoretical. My WLAN 802.11g has a theoretical transfer rate up to 54Mbits/s. Normally, my WLAN adapter client shows me a transfer rate of 6 to 24 Mbits/s (remember the thick concrete walls).
So, what is dLAN? “Direct” LAN, or dLAN (a trademark of Devolo) is the transfer of LAN traffic over home electrical wires. It is based on the “HomePlug
” Concept. So when I refer to dLAN in this review, I actually mean the HomePlug technology. There are no cables to lie, nothing complicated to configure, and it’s easy and fast. Any two devices, e.g. PC, router, modem, gaming console, IP-TV, that are connected via a dedicated cable or wireless technology, are now connected with electrical wires in your home – just plug an adapter into a power outlet, plug a LAN cable into it, do the same on the other end, and your connected. The Devolo set has a really small and simple configuration utility. All you do is type in the Security ID of the Adapter you want to connect to, that’s it. Each adapter has its unique Secure ID number located on the sticker on the backside.
Now, on to my test. My home network consists of two PCs and one notebook attached to a router with 802.11g WLAN technology. A repeater is situated between one of the PCs and notebook, and the router. The router is attached to a DSL modem via an Ethernet cable.
Since I only had two dLAN adapters, my testing was somewhat limited. First I tested the internet connection between PC1 and the router. For this setup I didn’t need to install the configuration utility. One adapter attached to PC1, the other attached to the router, and I was surfing, it was really as simple as that. I achieved downloads up to twice as fast as with my WLAN setup. I tested a download of the WINAMP client. With my WLAN setup I had a max transfer rate of 110 KB/s, 5 Minutes later, from the same URL, I had 225 KB/s with dLAN. For the sake of accuracy I repeated this test and had the same results. The Devolo utility showed me that my connection rate was 9 Mbit/s. The WLAN connection rate was “apparently” 20 Mbit/s. I don’t understand why the dLAN download was so much faster, but it was.
Then I wanted to test the connection between two PCs. I attached the dLAN adapter to PC2. In order for PC1 and PC2 to recognize each other, I needed to install a small configuration utility. All this utility asked of me was to insert the Security ID number of the adapter I wanted to connect to on the other PC and visa versa. According to the Devolo utility, I realized a transfer rate of 6Mbit/s between the two PCs. Nevertheless, with the dLAN connection I also encountered faster transfer rates than with the WLAN connection. Also, when I moved through directories on the networked PC, the directories opened up and displayed the contents as if they were local. When I move through directories on the networked PC with the WLAN connection, I suffer with an hourglass after each click. The dLAN connection is just snappier.
Keeping in mind, I was testing the first version of Devolo’s product with up to 14 Mbit/s, I wonder what the newest release will be like with 85 Mbit/s.
There is quite a bit of information on the web. Here is one short review
of the Devolo product I found in English. Devolo also has other interesting products based on this technology such as the transfer of audio and USB signals over home electricity wires (really, I am not associated with Devolo!)
Prices: According to geizhals
, the 14Mbit/s dLAN Ethernet starter kit (incl. two adapters) runs around 75 Euro in Germany. The high speed version runs around 145 Euro. That is reasonable enough for me, especially when I consider, that I could unload three WLAN adapters, a repeater and a WLAN router in Ebay.
Conclusion: I am convinced that this technology is the way to go for me. It is utterly simple to set up, reduces cable work and configuration and is fast. No matter where I want to move a PC in the house, I am connected.
So, for those of you who are interested, maybe this mini-review whetted enough appetites for Devonavar to perform a full scale review. We’ll see! I know I’d like to read it
p.s. I was uncertain if I should post this in the User Review forum. If a moderator feels it should be moved, please do so. Thanks.
EDIT: for some reason I had to relink the pictures (??)