Powerline (or HomePlug) tech has been around a looong time. We first wrote about it in 2002, which makes it positively prehistoric, but the early products – which offer an alternative to WiFi by feeding the Internet down your mains electricity cables – suffered from patchy speed and problems with electrical noise on the line which stuttered the throughput badly. But that was then. Today the new models promise ultra fast speed, no glitches and the ability to install in an instant. Do they work? We test one model out to see.
The TP-Link AV2000 Gigabit Powerline Starter Kit is a new high speed powerline starter kit which delivers ultra fast Internet using nothing more than your standard home electricity cables. All you have to do it plug a unit into the mains plug socket nearest your Internet router, and then plug another unit into a mains socket in the room where you want Internet, and bingo. Job done! Check out our video below to show exactly how easy, and fast this new model is.
The kit comes in a simple package, which includes everything you need to get going with Powerline (the hint is in the product name, right?). So you get two units, two Ethernet cables and a brief but useful User Guide to help you get going. Because this is the Ethernet version, you also get an advert for a wireless router which you can plug in to the remote AV2000 to give you wireless in that room.
The first thing to note is it’s incredibly quick and easy to install these latest powerline products. Someone has clearly been working on the tech to make it fool-proof, thank goodness. Just plug one unit in, connect to the router with the supplied Ethernet cable, trudge over to your remote location, plug in the other unit, press pair on both and that’s it. Within a couple of minutes you’re ready to go.
As you will see from the video we tested the review units with a netbook computer (the only one we had with Ethernet built in), and tried out some speed tests down the line. The first test was pretty impressive, we got around 10Mbps upload and 16Mbps download with a 13ms ping. This translates to way enough speed to watch movies or play games without any real hassle. Admittedly we were testing on a fiber to the cabinet connection which usually maxes out at around 40 to 50 Mbps download, but even so we were impressed.
We then decided to do the ultimate test and run a hairdryer on the same power plug as the AV2000 to see if the electrical noise slowed down the throughput at all. After a bit of to and fro, the powerline system settled down to a nice steady speed with the hairdryer running full blast of around 30Mbps down and 10Mbps up, which is really excellent. We’re not really sure why the later readings were faster, it may have been just an anomaly (leaves on the line or something), but we really liked those higher readings a lot. Especially when you understand that the room we tested in could not received the WiFi signal from the route because of thick walls! Result!
If you have a house or office which has problems with WiFi speeds, reliability of just range issues, then this new generation of powerline is definitely something you should consider. We were genuinely surprised by how well the kit worked out of the box, and how easily it was set up. Our previous encounters with powerline (or HomePlug) have been less than stellar, and while we always loved the idea, the implementation, with patchy results and tricky installs had kind of put us off. But no longer.
* Home Plug AV2 – Provides ultra-fast powerline transfer speeds of up to 2000Mbps
* 2X2 MIMO with Beamforming – Establishes multiple simultaneous connections for you to enjoy higher powerline speeds and greater stability
* 2 Gigabit Ports & Extra Power Socket – Create secure wired networks for desktops or IPTVs, and get power from the outlet for other devices with the integrated power socket
* Plug ,Pair and Play – Establish a unified and secure network in minutes, up to three years manufacturer’s warranty
* Power-Saving Mode – Automatically reduces power consumption by up to 85%