Getting your broadband to other rooms used to mean trailing cables. Then came powerline adapters. However, we have just taken delivery of Devolo’s Gigagate starter kit. Wireless networking of your wired tech? Yes please!
I live in a rented house. This means that I can’t start poking holes in stuff in order to run CAT5/6 cable upstairs.
Typically, the ADSL (yes, and I live in London!) point is downstairs with the modem and router. Our ‘office’ is a spare room upstairs. Thankfully, powerline adapters have improved and we’ve been using TP-Link and Devolo 1200mbps adapters.
Today, Devolo’s Gigagate landed on our desk. Is it any better than the powerline adapters? Let’s find out.
Devolo Gigagate design
So, just like a powerline adapter, you had the base where the modem is and then sit the the satellite in a bedroom, office, or wherever you need your extra internets.
In the box of the starter kit you get a base station and one satellite device. Each device measures 150 x 140 x 30mm – so, quite compact. They look almost identical. However, the satellite has a lot more going on to look at.
The sides are very shiny, smooth black plastic. Whereas the body section that holds the ports and indicator LEDs is more of a matte finish.
Near the rear of both devices are neat extendable feet. Something I didn’t notice until later. As they can be slided in or out, this gives you the option to stand them up or have them laid down on a surface.
The base station has one Gigabit Ethernet port which is used to connect it to your existing broadband router. From here it uses 4×4 MIMO technology to create a high-speed Wi-Fi link to the satellite, using 802.11ac Wi-Fi on the 5GHz frequency band.
That 5GHz connection is reserved for the base station and satellite, so no other devices can slow down the Gigagate system down by grabbing any of that bandwidth. So, no. You can’t hook up your phone or tablet to its 5GHz band.
Finally, the Gigagate’s satellite station is primarily designed for wired connections, and includes one Gigabit Ethernet and four 10/100 Ethernet ports for those connections. This is definitely a strong point in favour of the Gigagate.
Devolo Gigagate performance
Devolo has provided you with everything that you’ll need. As well as the base and satillete devices, you get a pair of plugs for power, as well as a pair of Ethernet cables. That is literally all you need to get these set up.
As it uses the 5GHz band, my main concern was penetration, so to speak. 2.4GHz might not be as speedy, but it has little issue with punching through walls and floors. It’s time to test.
Firstly, I would like to say that, unlike the powerline adapters I have had, the base station and satellite pair together automagically. I really had to double check that I was connected. I simply plugged the base in to my router downstairs and powered it on. Then I went upstairs and powered the satellite on. Thinking that there’d be another stage I plugged my desktop PC’s cable in to the satellite so I could see it registered if/when I had a connection. And there it was already.
I was all good to go in less than 5 minutes!
The only time I had to do anything else was when I cloned the Wi-Fi credentials. All that entailed was pushing the WPS button on the Netgear X8 D8500 and then the satellite copied what it needed to.
The Wi-Fi it does dish out is 802.11n on the 2.4GHz band. However, the speed on offer should still be enough for web browsing and streaming HD video and music from Spotify to tablets and phones.
Wired for web
The Gigagate is all about the wired connections though. Also, this is what I need it for. The previous powerline adapters have offered two or three Ethernet ports. However, the Gigagate offers 5. This makes it perfect for my shared office. Furthermore, it would no doubt bring a cheer in a den, teenager’s bedroom or even home cinema room, should you have that luxury.
The emphasis on wired connections means that the set-up process is simple enough even for networking novices. You just plug in an Ethernet cable at each end, and you’re ready to go.
I am also happy to report that I have not had any penetration issues regarding 5GHz getting through the floor and walls. Phwew!
It came as no surprise that the 2Gb/s emblazoned upon the packaging is the theoretical maximum. Moreover, in practice, the 5GHz connection between the base station and satellite will be closer to 1Gb/s
So, I didn’t feel overly cheated when the dashboard showed 975Mb/s. This is still decent and will cope with streaming 4K video, online gaming and all that kind of carry on.
Should you have a large home and need more connectivity, then you can just add another satillite when needed. This means you can kit out the upstairs office, as well as the basement home cinema room, and the gaming suite in the loft.
Devolo Gigagate review conclusion
As it uses the 5GHz Wi-Fi band to communicate between base and satillite, it does mean that you only get 2.4GHz from the satillite. Now, I don’t see this as a huge deal breaker, but you might.
Also, the cost of the unit is quite an investment when compared to powerline adapters. However, the Gigagate offers a reliable and stable connection, no matter the state of your home’s internal wiring.
This is where you have to decide whether or not you’re prepared to pay the premium for a compact solution that offers you 5 ports.