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I have a multi-purpose computer without a Ethernet drop at its location and I've been on a quest to increase its network speed. I'll eventually run cable, but there is no way I'm working up in the crawl space during the summer in AZ. :sn: Short of running copper, I've tried a number of things and thought my tests might benefit others in a similar predicament.

Initially I was using a set of Netgear XAV101 power line Ethernet adapters. They are a discontinued product I've had for years. The served me well for XBox updates and Netflix streaming, but with the addition of a file server, I need more speed.

For my testing, I used NetStress (default settings) as my network bench-marking utility. The other machine used for the tests is a hexacore, overclocked i7-980X, 24GB or RAM, etc. etc. For brevity, I'll refer to this machine as "PC" and the media/file-server/HTPC machine mentioned above as "HTPC".

For a baseline... the Netgear XAV101's provided 35 Mb/s (4.37 MB/s) from the PC to the HTPC and 28 Mb/s (3.5 MB/s) from the HTPC to the PC.

Since the Netgear power-line adapters are old tech, my next choice was to try some newer units from Trendnet. I used a Trendnet TPL-406E 500AV on the PC side and a Trendnet TPL-405E on the HTPC side. The TPL-405E has a built-in, 4-port switch which is nice. The result was a disappointingly small gain: 41 Mb/s (5.12 MB/s) from the PC to the HTPC and 32 Mb/s (4 MB/s) from the HTPC to the PC. Oddly, using two TPL-406E's as endpoints was a bit slower.

My next step was to replace my router with a WD My Net AC1300 and on the HTPC install a WD My Net AC Bridge. Many have reported amazing throughput with this combination, so while the combo runs close to 300 bucks, I decided to give it a go. Disappointment returns. The connection would drop routinely. Pings would timeout, then be fine, then timeout again. I moved the AC Bridge to within a foot of the AC1300 router to try some troubleshooting. I found that pumping packets from the bridge side to the router side was stable, but much slower that it should be considering the 1 foot distance. However, pumping data from the router side to the bridge side would cause it to drop the connection. I assume the bridge unit I have is defective.

Since the bridge wasn't working as hoped for and before giving up and returning to the stable but slow power-line adapters, I tried the built-in 802.11ac adapter of the HTPC's motherboard with the WD My Net AC1300 router. From the PC to the HTPC I got 65 Mb/s (8.12 MB/s) and from the HTPC to the PC I got 70 Mb/s (8.75 MB/s). When coping files, I average slightly faster. This behavior is reflected in NetStess if I increase the number of data steams and increase the segment size; can sustain over 88 Mb/s (11 MB/s).

I'm reasonably happy with the speeds I can get with the AC1300 and the 802.11ac adapter in the HTPC and feel I can give it a rest for a while.
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