TP-Link 300Mb/s AV500 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender
The TP-Link 300Mb/s AV500 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender is a neat starter kit of Powerline adaptors that both give you near-ethernet speeds in rooms away from your internet router and create a second Wi-Fi hotspot in your home.
It consists of two adaptors. The base unit is one of the smallest we’ve seen. This is the one you plug into a power socket near your router and connect to the router with one of the two supplied ethernet cables.
The second adaptor is a little larger, but by no means chunky. It’s located in the second room where you want to connect devices such as smart TVs, games consoles, Sky+, Tivo, Apple TV and other set-top boxes. These can be connected using the other ethernet cable or via the new Wi-Fi hotspot it creates in the room – handy for laptop, smartphone and tablet users.
The second ethernet port on the Wi-Fi adaptor is welcome as many homes now have more than one device that requires fast internet access. The ethernet ports and cables are rated 10/100, so like most Powerline adaptors, the AV500 was never going to beat 100Mb/s in the first place. TP-Link isn’t alone in over-claiming network speeds, and much depends on your home set up.
We tested the AV500 in a Victorian house with old wiring and the usual array of electronic devices (TV, Sky+, hi-fi, lamps, computers, and so on) plugged into the power lines. The internet router was situated in the office on the second floor, and we used Powerline to test data speed on the ground floor.
First, we must emphasise that despite TP-Link’s claims of speeds of 300Mb/s these are theoretical maximums, and you will never see such speeds via Powerline. Indeed, you’ll be lucky to get 100Mb/s. But don’t fret as this is fine for most needs, such as watching catch-up TV or downloading large files.
We recorded speeds of up to 92Mb/s, though the house average was 68Mb/s using Powerline and ethernet. This was one of the faster average speeds we’ve achieved from a powerline adaptor, and is sufficient for most users, and we downloaded HD TV with few pauses.
When we tested the second Wi-Fi hotspot we got speeds of 57Mb/s, which again were above average.
The TP-Link AV500 is one of the fastest sets of Powerline adaptors we tested. It’s not too big but offers both Wi-Fi and more than one ethernet port.