Home Reviews Networking D-Link Powerline - adding an Ethernet port is easy (review)

Want to add an Ethernet port somewhere and can’t hard wire it? D-Link has its PowerLine 2000 Mbps solution that may be the answer.

You may have heard about Ethernet over Power (EoP) and the defacto standard is PowerLine (sometimes called HomePlug). You plug a PowerLine adaptor into the 240V power socket and attach it via an Ethernet cable to the Ethernet switch on your router.

You plug in another PowerLine adaptor where you need an Ethernet point (home office, basement, attic or shed) and generally you have the equivalent of an Ethernet cable.

I have used these for some years in existing dwellings where retrofitting Ethernet sockets can be a problem – especially in heritage listed properties.

The new AV2 2000 Mbps (DHP-701AV) is – well, twice as fast as the AV2 1000 Mbps and best of all it has MIMO (multiple input and multiple output) over its predecessor’s SISO (single input and single output). What that means is that you can get higher data transfer using multiple streams.

You can have up to 16 adaptors on a network and as long as they are the PowerLine standard you can mix and match brands and speeds. Note with more adaptors data transfer speeds may reduce.

Before you get carried away while it is capable of 2000 Megabits per second (Mbps) it has a one Gigabit (1000 Mbps) Ethernet port. The extra capacity is for MIMO and running multiple PowerLines. One Gigabit (if you can achieve it) is capable of sustained 4K streaming.

But the caveat is that the quality and age of electrical wiring, and the length of the run can affect speed, and it does not play well with 3-phase – it needs to be on a single phase (most homes are unless they have pools or massive whole of home air conditioners – still most internal power points are on the one phase).

I live in a townhouse constructed in 2005. It has five power circuits (common bus) and the longest run would be 25 metres. In tests connected to the switch on a Telstra N600 cable gateway that gets 100-135Mbps to the Internet, a pair of PowerLine AV2 2000 consistently achieved over 80 Mbps and I achieved 25 Mbps on an older 500 Mbps HomePlug even further away – joy! Both speeds are more than enough to stream HD video.

That is amazing and it has one main advantage over Wi-Fi - it is a stable connection delivering 80+ Mbps (in my test) all-day, every-day.

Wi-Fi is subject to extreme variations. I have reviewed the excellent Minitar AC750 Wi-Fi extender to Ethernet but it was subject to Wi-Fi fluctuations and I would lose my Cisco IP phone connection several times a day. Admittedly it was not so much the Minitar fault and since I connected it to an AC2600 router it has been better but not perfect. Since testing the PowerLine AV2 2000 the connection has been up continuously for seven days!

Price, Availability, and conclusion

A pair of the AV2 2000 cost A$199.95 and you can buy from the D-Link online shop or major retailers.

Do I think its good value? Absolutely as it solves a unique problem for stable Ethernet broadband connection. Would I buy one? Absolutely these new 2000 Mbps MIMO units are amazing.

These can be used anywhere in the home - think of the kids bedrooms, in the man/woman cave or even to stream music where Wi-Fi is not avaialble.

I have one minor complaint - the units are wider than a standard 20V GPO so you can not use them with a dual GPO. They should be plugged directly in to a GPO - not a power board. You can use an old style V shaped double adaptor but not the more modern side by side ones with power surge protection.

A word of advice. Make sure your store has a generous returns policy and take them home and test them first. While you may not get 80 Mbps like my test setup – fit for purpose is anything over 20 Mbps. That is sufficient for most uses.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

 

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