Link­ing Up

TP-Link TL-PA6010

HWM (Malaysia) - - LAB TEST - TExT // kEVIN BATES

Nowa­days, it is nec­es­sary to have an In­ter­net con­nec­tion. The ubiq­uity of on­line and mo­bile de­vices in­creas­ing ex­po­nen­tially around the globe, in turn, also in­tro­duces additional has­sle when it comes to man­ag­ing a home net­work. With Wi-Fi, users can vir­tu­ally share a sin­gle In­ter­net con­nec­tion in their house­hold with­out the need of messy wires. How­ever, the sig­nal range may not re­li­ably cover the en­tire home. The lim­i­ta­tion of wired and wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity af­fects many, but there is a third so­lu­tion. This month, we will be putting the TP-Link TLPA6010 to the test.

By de­sign, the TL-PA6010 kit ar­rives as a pair of AV600 Gigabit pow­er­line adapters. The adapters work as a bridge be­tween each other, al­low­ing users to trans­mit data from the router and into the build­ing's elec­tri­cal cir­cuitry. This elim­i­nates the need for ex­ces­sive Eth­er­net ca­bles run­ning around the house. While use­ful, each adapter will need to take up a wall socket on its own to func­tion ef­fec­tively, and us­ing a mul­ti­plug or power strip re­duces their over­all ef­fec­tive­ness. This is mainly be­cause most multi-plugs and power strips have surge pro­tec­tors, which does re­duce the adapter's ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Once users have plugged the TL-PA6010s into the wall sock­ets and con­nected the de­vices to the router and the PC via an Eth­er­net ca­ble, they only need to press the Pair but­ton on the de­vice and they're good to go. While the in­cluded re­source CD does come with a Pow­er­line Man­ager soft­ware as an op­tion, users can plug the de­vices and use it straight away with­out much con­fig­u­ra­tion.

How­ever, the de­vices can also be used in an­other way. Users can use the de­vice to con­nect PCs to any de­vice (such as NAS, print­ers and game con­soles) with an Eth­er­net port via the elec­tri­cal wiring. Fur­ther­more, the TL-PA6010 can be paired with an­other unit, as well as other TP-Link's pow­er­line prod­ucts, so long they are con­nected to the same build­ing's wiring. Bear in mind that the TL-PA6010 has a max­i­mum range of 300 me­ters.

Each adapter comes with one Gigabit Eth­er­net port and TP-Link boasts that the TL-PA6010 has a max­i­mum data trans­fer rate of 600Mbps. While it is only though a wired con­nec­tion, we de­cided to per­form the 1GB and 4GB trans­fer tests over the elec­tri­cal line.

The re­sults were rather sur­pris­ing to us as we as­sumed that as in­crease in the dis­tance be­tween the pair of TL-PA6010 would af­fect the con­nec­tion by a sig­nif­i­cant amount. At five me­ters, it took three min­utes to trans­fer the 1GB file, and eight min­utes and 24 sec­onds for the 4GB file. How­ever, at 10 me­ters, we recorded only an additional minute for both tests, and an additional three min­utes for the 20-me­ter test. While this won't beat nor­mal wired con­nects (for ex­am­ple, routers with a di­rect con­nec­tion to a PC), it is a good al­ter­na­tive if users do not want to em­ploy Wi-Fi and do not want a mess of Eth­er­net ca­bles around the build­ing.

In con­clu­sion, TP-Link's TLPA6010 is a re­li­able al­ter­na­tive for shar­ing In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity. We do like the fact it is has­sle-free and of­fers an ex­ten­sive range, so it's easy to rec­om­mend it for users who are look­ing for an al­ter­na­tive to Wi-Fi or Eth­er­net ca­bles.

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