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Review: TP-Link AV500 Powerline ac Wi-Fi Kit

by Tarinder Sandhu on 15 February 2016, 16:33

Tags: TP-LINK

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacyla

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Real-world performance

How well does it work - Powerline

Setup is, indeed, a cinch. We had both the Powerline and WiFi aspects up and running within a few minutes. Testing out the capability of the Powerline segment first, we attached a laptop to the base adapter and a PC to the larger plug. Both were equipped with Gigabyte Ethernet capability. The first test measured the transfer performance of the TP-Link kit when both adapters were in the same room - a best-case scenario.

Our testing showed that the kit achieved an 85Mbps read speed and 81Mbps write speed when transferring a 2GB file. This is a far cry from the potential 500Mbps stated on the box, but is consistent with real-world usage seen on similar devices. Moving the larger adapter 35 feet away and separated from the base via a floor, the same test's throughput dropped to 57Mbps read and 52Mbps write.

The salient point to note here is that the speeds are barely enough to sate a regular broadband connection. Anyone with 100Mbps, for example, will find the Powerline kit stunting the potential of their line. Appreciating this, a better course of action would be to use a WiFi adapter for a desktop PC, connected to an 802.11ac router. Doing just this with an 802.11ac client connected to the 5GHz band of a BT Home Hub 5 router offered 138Mbps read and 101Mbps write - or about 2x the Powerline's performance.

You might assume it's not worth investing in a kit of this ilk if the WiFi signal is reasonable, but do bear in mind that WiFi is prone to interference. Ever lost your Call of Duty high score because the wife has turned on the microwave and killed your WiFi connection? Then Powerline, while potentially not as quick, could be more stable.

How well does it work - WiFi extender

We then change testing by moving a laptop to the very corner of a larger-than-average home but leave the WPA4530 receiver in the original position. The premise is to see how well the extended WiFi performance compares to accessing the BT Home Hub 5 directly. The same transfer tests were undertaken. Connected to the Home Hub 5 directly, speeds averaged 96Mbps read and 88Mbps write.

Accessing the cloned WiFi from the TP-Link receiver, which sat two-thirds of the total distance away from the router, increased the transfers to 127Mbps read and 96Mbps write. The WiFi extender portion of the kit becomes a valid value-add if, and only if, the current WiFi setup in your home or office is substandard in the very extremities of the property.

Conclusion

The speed and range advances in home and small-office WiFi, made possible by widespread use of the 802.11ac standard, have put Powerline kits in an awkward position. Most kits are trumped with respect to pure performance and naturally require multiple adapters if servicing a few rooms. Manufacturers of such kits, such as TP-Link, have increased the functionality of Powerline by adding multiple ports and, as is the case here, additional WiFi coverage from the receiver.

Our testing with the TP-Link WPA4530 kit shows that it's the multi-port usage and WiFi extender function that add value, and it becomes a valid alternative to a multi-port AC bridge in properties where wireless coverage is spotty. We believe that TP-Link's £70 kit makes most sense in homes where the extant WiFi hasn't yet been upgraded to the latest standard. Easy as pie to setup and seamless in operation, this TP-Link kit is a bridge between best-in-class WiFi and running cables all around the home.

The Good
 
The Bad
Super-easy to setup
Three-port on receiver
Excellent build quality

 
Large receiver



TP-Link AV500 Powerline ac Wi-Fi Kit

HEXUS.where2buy*

The TP-Link AV500 Powerline ac Wi-Fi Kit is available to purchase from Scan Computers.

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At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.



*UK-based HEXUS community members are eligible for free delivery and priority customer service through the SCAN.care@HEXUS forum.



HEXUS Forums :: 17 Comments

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The AV2/gigabit powerline adapters seem to get around 300Mbps in real word tests from what I've read on various sites. Those are what I'd look to replace my existing ones with when the time comes (only need them for one room, can't hard wire it like the rest of them!)
daddacool
The AV2/gigabit powerline adapters seem to get around 300Mbps in real word tests from what I've read on various sites. Those are what I'd look to replace my existing ones with when the time comes (only need them for one room, can't hard wire it like the rest of them!)

Pretty much what i have found in use with my TP-Link gigabit versions.
Have pair of TP-LINK AV500, unfortunately they stopped recognizing network, nothing I can do.. tried all powerline sockets in house no connection between those two… Worked for month good, then in one day just stopped.
Not reliable way of data transmitting IMHO…
Is there any passthrough manufacturer other than TP-Link? I I've had 3 different sets, in 4 different houses. Every time I have suffered random dropouts that require the device to be reset.

To make matters worse, I tried a firmware ‘upgrade’ from their website, which, from what I can tell, was actually an older version (despite it not be labelled as such on the site). And now the software can't read the device to do a reset from there.
simonpreston
Is there any passthrough manufacturer other than TP-Link? I I've had 3 different sets, in 4 different houses. Every time I have suffered random dropouts that require the device to be reset.

Who make the BT pass throughs?