TP-Link powerline adapters review
Extend your network with the AV2000 2-port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit
Much as we love WiFi, even the latest routers can have trouble reaching important places. For many people this means connecting a main computer or a games console to a router in another part of the house – and PC users don’t like connecting by WiFi: it’s just plain wrong (plus the unreliability of ping and connection speed is not good for things like gaming).
So even if you have a good WiFi setup in your home, using powerline adapters to extend your network can be a boon. While performance will vary depending on the layout and age of your home/office’s wiring a good set of adapters can provide a fast and stable connection these days.
The TP-Link Homeplug AV2 (this product seems to have a variety of names – the part number is TL-PA9020P Kit) consists of a pair of adapters each with two Gigabit Ethernet ports. Of course, in the world of networking, stated speeds are borderline irrelevant as you’ll never nearly hit that theoretical maximum in the real world.
So we tested them against the stalwart set we’d been using for the past several months – D-Link’s DHP-700AV AV2 powerline adapters which offer the same specs albeit with only one network port.
Running a SpeedTest over Telstra cable saw similar speeds – the D-Link was a smidge faster but that could easily be due to performing the tests at different times with different network conditions.
We also transferred a 1.83GB movie file from a USB 3 hard disk attached to our Linksys router. Both transfers averaged out at around 12.5 MB/s (100Mb/s). To check that hardware wasn’t a limiting factor here we repeated the test using a Surface Pro 3 and attained the same results.
While this is some way behind the stated speed, it’s nothing less than we’d expect and these are basically among the fastest we’ve tested on the market.
TP-Link also makes a point about them using MIMO technology to provide better multitasking when streaming but we couldn’t see any difference in our tests. ‘Beamforming’ technology apparently makes the connection more stable but we’ve not experienced instability from powerline adapters for a few years now.
All in all it comes down to price and features. D-Link’s latest AV2 powerline adapters can be had for around $150 while these TP-Link units can be had for $159 - but they come with an extra network port. Ultimately it depends on how much you need and extra port plus the price you can find either for as to which one you choose.
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