TP-Link AV2000 2-Port Gigabit Pass-through Powerline Starter Kit
The TP-Link AV2000 2-Port Gigabit Pass-through Powerline Starter Kit (TL-PA9020P KIT) is one of the fastest set of adaptors we’ve tested. At £99, we think it represents excellent value. There are cheaper options out there, but none of these match it for speed and features.
How it works
Powerline is a plug-and-play technology that transforms your home network, so you can near-replicate internet router speeds in more than one room of your house. Plug one adaptor into a wall power socket near your router, and connect the AV2000 and router using the supplied Ethernet cable. In the second room where you require fast, wired internet access – say for your smart TV, set-top box PVR, PC or laptop – you plug the second adaptor into a wall socket, and then connect the devices via the Ethernet cable.
Powerline adaptors come with theoretical maximum speeds of between 200- and 2000Mb/s. There are, of course, environmental factors that slow this. That doesn’t mean they are useless, just that you shouldn’t expect the stated speeds. In general, the 500Mb/s Powerlines are faster than the 200Mb/s, and the 2000Mb/s adaptors are faster than the 430Mb/s, so use the speeds as a gauge of speed between models.
We thought Powerline speeds had reached a plateau for a while with the release of 1200Mb/s adaptors, but now TP-Link is claiming a 2000Mb/s maximum. On top of the speed boost, the AV2000 has more ports than the AV1200, as well as a pass-through socket.
It uses the same 2x2 MIMO with beamforming technology as the 1200Mb/s Powerlines, so the faster speed must be due to the wider data bandwidth (86MHz) it enjoys over the 1200Mb/s adaptor’s 67MHz. AV2 MIMO utilises all three wires in an electrical cable, transmitting data on any two pairs. It improves speed and longer distances between adaptors.
At PC Advisor we use realworld tests to determine Powerline speeds. Much is dependent on the building it is tested in, and we suspect our house slightly plays down possible speeds, but having one test environment means we can compare different makes and models of Powerline adaptor.
In our first test, we check speeds when both adaptors are in the same room. We use this to check its top speed and the AV2000 did very well, scoring 432Mb/s by transferring a 1GB file in 19 seconds.
When we positioned the second adaptor in a room two floors down and about 30m apart speeds dropped. This time, the AV2000 scored 117Mb/s – way below the 2000Mb/s on the box, but still the fastest we’ve seen from a Powerline.
Remember that you might see faster (or slower) speeds in your home, but the AV2000 stands as the fastest we’ve tested so far.
The AV2000 comes with a passthrough socket on each adaptor, which is great for not clogging valuable wall power sockets. Each adaptor also boasts two Gigabit Ethernet ports – older 500Mb/s Powerlines used slower-grade 10/100 Ethernet ports that limited any transfer speed to 100Mb/s.
Having two ports is great if you have more than one smart device that requires a wired connection for top speed. Many of us have three or more such gadgets, and there are adaptors that include up to three ports. Alternatively, you can buy an Ethernet Switch that will include five or more ports that you can attach to the device.
The AV2000 seats its ports at the top, which is useful if your power sockets are close to the floor, as it gives the cables more space.
Some Powerlines can also create an extra Wi-Fi hotspot in the second room – handy if the Wi-Fi in your house is particularly weak. The AV2000, however, doesn’t have this wireless booster function.
We were impressed by the realworld performance of the TP-Link AV2000, which is our top scorer in our tests. The inclusion of passthrough sockets and two Gigabit Ethernet ports per adaptor are also welcomed. There’s no extra Wi-Fi hotspot function, but if your house Wi-Fi is acceptable this isn’t the worst omission. If you want a fast Powerline starter kit with more than one Ethernet port plus pass-through, then this is highly recommended.
Powerline transforms your home network, so you can near-replicate internet router speeds in more than one room of your house