Powerline networking reviews

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Best powerline adapter • 6 powerline adapters Reviews

What is a powerline adapter and how does it work?

Also called PLC (programmable logic controllers), powerline adaptors allow you to broadcast your internet connection’s signal through your home’s electrical system. That way, you can extend your router’s signal if it doesn’t reach every part of your house on its own. You’ll therefore enjoy better and stronger coverage.

Powerline adapters require at least two devices to work. The first one picks up the Wi-Fi signal and takes it to your mains. Called an extender, the second one receives this signal through the cables of the house and sends it to the area in which it is plugged.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Powerline Adapters

Powerline adapters and Wi-Fi repeaters do not have the same job.

Powerline adapters offer multiple advantages over repeaters. The most important one is that they provide a much more stable and stronger connection signal. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of these devices.

  • Easy installation
  • Stable connection based on electrical currents
  • Versatility: ideal for large houses
  • Data encryption systems
  • Doesn’t work well on multi-socket adaptors
  • Expensive

Shopping Criteria for Powerline Adapters

On the U.S. market, the vast majority of powerline adapters feature the latest technology, which makes their use, configuration, and operation as simple as possible. However, there are still key factors that can make a difference between a good connection and a great one. We’ve detailed these criteria in the section below, and we’re confident they’ll help you make the right decision when purchasing your PLC.

Connection Speed

Connection speed is probably the most important factor when it comes to powerline adapters. Brands generally set the price of their devices depending on the connection speed they offer. Given the conditions of the internet signal in some parts of the U.S., we don’t recommend that you opt for an adapter with a speed lower than Mbps. Keep in mind that their efficiency can sometimes be greatly reduced.

Integrated Plug

Most people use a wide range of different electrical appliances each day. This is why it is essential to buy a powerline adapter that won’t take up another electrical outlet. In that regard, check the product description to make sure it includes an integrated plug to make the most of your device.

Did you know that you can use several extenders so that your connection reaches various zones where the reception is weak or deficient?

Energy Savings

Since we use so many appliances on top of lighting, many of us are looking to cut those expenses by using devices that help us reduce our consumption. Great news! You will find many powerline adapters that include a very useful energy-saving mode. We strongly encourage you to take note of this, as they can reduce your energy consumption by up to 85%.

To avoid external risks, you are advised to use a powerline adapter with integrated data encryption systems.

Ease of Use

The installation manual of many devices can sometimes be overwhelmingly complex. As we mentioned earlier, the plug-and-play technology helps you configure your PLC adapter in a jiffy. All you’ll have to do once you open the box is plug the devices in, press a button, and enjoy greatly enhanced connectivity.

Safety

So many wireless networks and users with mobile connections surround us. This represents a risk of unwanted intrusions into our devices. This is why you can now purchase powerline adapters that feature an integrated data encryption system, protecting you from potential external hackers and identity thieves.

Related Links and Sources

FAQs

Why do I need a powerline adapter at home?

Powerline adapters will provide you with fast, secure, and stable internet connections when the network you’ve set up at home is insufficient or weak. This is a common issue since the quality and proper functioning of any Wi-Fi connection depends on several factors.

- Distance between the router and the connected devices
- Layout of walls, rooms, furniture, and ceilings
- Presence of other electronic devices or household appliances that may interfere with the signal
- Large number of other wireless networks in the environment, from neighbors or nearby offices that will also generate interference with the connection itself
- Wi-Fi speed advertised includes not only internet data but other types of data as well
Some providers include bandwidth speed from other communication protocols in their measurements of speed, which can make up approximately 60% of the total bandwidth.

How should I set up my powerline adapter?

Installing your powerline adapter is very simple, as the latest models all integrate plug-and-play technology, enabling you to start working without much configuration. Here’s a quick guide to setting a powerline connection up yourself.

First, connect the powerline adapter to a plug near your router. You will need an Ethernet cable for this, which is generally included with the adapter you buy.

Then, connect the second adapter (i.e., the extender) in the room or zone where you want to strengthen the signal. You can install as many extenders as there are rooms that need better coverage.

If you purchased wireless models, all you have to do now is connect to the Wi-Fi network created by the adapters. You’ll find the password in the box or on the plug itself. If the powerline connections are not wireless; you should use the Ethernet cable to connect your devices.

What is plug-and-play technology?

This technology allows you to use your powerline adapters without having to do any kind of configuration beforehand. In that regard, the majority of powerline adapters automatically copy your main router name and password with the push of a button.

Do powerline adapters occupy power outlets?

The disadvantage of the very first powerline adapters was that they always required an outlet in every room in which they were plugged into the wall. Thankfully, most modern powerline adapters now come with integrated plugs. This means that you won’t lose any plug spaces with your powerline connection, and you can use them for whatever else you want, including internet boosting.

Is it better to use a powerline adapter with Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable?

This depends largely on how you want to use your powerline adapter. If you’re planning on connecting it to a video game console, a television, or a desktop computer, you will get the best connection with an Ethernet cable. On the other hand, you should opt for wireless powerline adapters if you simply want to get Wi-Fi to your laptop or smartphone. Note that models that offer Wi-Fi connections are slightly more expensive than corded models; some adapters combine both options.

What is the Gigabit Ethernet port on my PLC adapter?

Certain powerline adapters will feature a port that is called Gigabit Ethernet. This will allow you to connect a high-bandwidth device to the internet at high speeds, ensuring, for instance, the proper transmission of videos in HD. While this feature is nice to have, it isn’t essential in making the most of your powerline adapter.

Is the design of my powerline adapter important?

You’ll naturally see a wide variety of designs available when comparing different powerline adapters. That being said, the reality is that its aesthetic appearance won’t affect the effectiveness of the device. While these devices tend to remain connected at all times, they are first and foremost designed to go unnoticed.

On the other hand, you will want to pay attention to the placement of the various connectors and additional elements that make their use easy. This is the case, for example, regarding the location of the button to restart the Wi-Fi. You will find some exaggeratedly minimalist models, and others that are overloaded with buttons, lights, and even antennas. In the end, your personal taste will make the final decision.

Sours: https://venturebeat.com/product-comparisons/best-powerline-reviews/

The 7 Best Powerline Network Adapters of

Final Verdict

Netgear's PL is a small and unobtrusive adapter that offers great performance at a reasonable price, however if you're looking to add Wi-Fi to the mix, then TP-Link's TL-WPA will save you the trouble of buying a separate Wi-Fi access point on the other end.

About Our Trusted Experts

Jesse Hollington is a freelance writer with over 10 years of experience writing about technology and three decades of experience in information technology and networking. He's installed, tested, and configured just about every type and brand of router, firewall, wireless access point, and network extender in places ranging from single-family dwellings to office buildings. university campuses, and even coast-to-coast wide-area network (WAN) deployments.

Jordan Oloman is a proud Geordie from Newcastle in the United Kingdom and is passionate about adventure games, pirate archaeology, and how technology can improve your productivity. He tested the Netgear Powerline on our list, praising the adapter for its fast speeds.

FAQs

Is a Powerline adapter better than Wi-Fi?
Powerline adapters have some advantages over Wi-Fi, since the signal travels through your home wiring and therefore isn’t normally subjected to the same kind of interference or range issues as Wi-Fi signals. This means that you can get top performance at much longer distances, extending your network to areas that even Wi-Fi extenders often can’t reach by themselves. The biggest downside to Powerline technology, however, is that performance can vary greatly depending on how your home is wired, which may give Wi-Fi extenders and long-range routers the advantage—especially in older homes. 

Do Powerline network adapters need to be on the same circuit?
Ideally, your Powerline network adapters should always be on the same circuit—meaning that they’re connected to two outlets that share the same fuse or circuit-breaker. Depending on how your electrical panel is wired, it may be possible to connect Powerline adapters on different circuits and have them successfully pair up, but this can be hit-and-miss and you almost certainly won’t get the maximum performance. Powerline adapters definitely can’t be used between different homes, however, as the signal does not reliably travel beyond your home wiring. 

How far does a Powerline adapter reach?
Under optimal conditions, a HomePlug AV2 Powerline adapter can offer ranges of up to feet, but it’s important to remember that this is not a straight-line measurement, but rather the distance that the signal travels along your home’s wiring, which can be a fairly circuitous route. Further, both Powerline adapters must also be connected to the same electrical circuit for maximum performance, which can reduce the effective range since it’s very rare for rooms on opposite ends of a home to share the same wiring. 

"Powerline adapters are particularly useful in large homes with thick walls, where Wi-Fi repeaters can struggle to get through. The idea is that a Powerline network gives you the stability of wired networking without the need to trail network cables throughout the home." — Heiko Harbers, Founder and CEO of devolo

What to Look For in a Powerline Network Adapter

In an era of Wi-Fi routers, Powerline network adapters are a category of networking accessories that often go under appreciated, since most people don’t give much thought anymore to plugging in wired devices, but they can actually be an extremely useful—and affordable—way to get internet access to distant corners of your home.

Whether it’s a matter of wiring up a game console or home entertainment system that’s far from your router, or simply getting a bubble of Wi-Fi into an area where your router can’t quite reach, a powerline network adapter can be an ideal solution, since it uses the electrical wiring that’s already in your walls to extend your network without the need to worry about issues like interference and range.

Why Buy a Powerline Network Adapter

While powerline network adapters are great for what they do, they’re not for everyone, and there are some important things to consider when deciding if getting one is the right solution for your needs. 

For example, if you’re primarily interested in getting more Wi-Fi devices online, you may be better served by a long-range router or a mesh Wi-Fi system, both of which are designed expressly to push a Wi-Fi signal around a larger home, and some of the best of these can easily provide enough range to blanket a home of 5, square feet or more with solid and reliable Wi-Fi. 

Still, there are times when even the best routers and mesh systems can’t quite deliver the performance you need into every corner of your home. Walls, ceilings, floors, and even appliances can interfere with getting a reliable wireless signal around your house, and this can be even more problematic depending on the construction of your home. 

Powerline network adapters are a more reliable way to get network coverage into remote parts of your home, and they’re also a much more cost-effective way to go if you’re on a budget. This is especially true if it’s simply a matter of getting a network connection extended into a room on the other end of your house or to another floor in your home to hook up one or two wired devices, such as a game console or home entertainment system that don’t really need a Wi-Fi connection anyway. 

How Powerline Adapters Work

Powerline adapters normally come in pairs, and are used to extend a wired connection from one place in your home to another using the existing electrical wiring that’s already in your home. Each powerline adapter usually includes at least one Ethernet port, allowing you to create a connection between any two points with electrical outlets just as if you were running a physical Ethernet cable. 

So to extend internet to another portion of your home using powerline network adapters, you plug one unit into an electrical outlet near your router and connect it to your router it with an Ethernet networking cable, and then plug the other unit into a remote section of your home. Once the two powerline adapters have linked up with each other, which usually happens automatically a few seconds after you plug them in, you can use the Ethernet jack on the remote unit to plug a device in just as if you were plugging it directly into your router. 

Speed and Performance

Early adapters that used powerline technology weren’t known for being particularly fast, but don’t let some of those bad stories dissuade you—the technology has evolved in leaps and bounds in the past few years, and today most powerline adapters provide a minimum of 1Gbps of throughput, and it’s not uncommon to find 2Gbps adapters on the market now as well.

Just keep in mind that, like Wi-Fi router specs, these are theoretical maximum speeds, and your mileage can actually vary quite a bit depending on the quality of your home wiring. Our recommendation in this case is to buy a bit more than you need, so if you think you’re actually going to need to push 1Gbps through a powerline adapter, then pick up a pair of Gbps or 2Gbps units.

Number of Devices

Powerline adapters normally work on a “point-to-point” basis, meaning that you set up one at your router and another located where you want to plug in client devices. This means that if you’re looking to hook up more than one device on the other end, they’ll all be sharing the same powerline connection, so keep the in mind when you’re looking at the throughput of a powerline adapter.

In other words, if you install a pair of 1Gbps powerline adapters, and then plug in a dozen devices, then they’ll all be sharing that single 1Gbps pipe. This may not be a big deal since you probably won’t be using them all at the same time, but it’s an important factor to keep in mind if you’re looking to support a whole other section your home where multiple family members may be connecting, especially if you’re also going to use it to create a new bubble of Wi-Fi access. 

Keep in mind as well that many powerline network adapters only provide a single Ethernet port, so if you plan to hook up more than one wired device, you’ll need to look for one with multiple ports, or add your own network hub.

Wi-Fi Support

Although some powerline adapters do offer built-in Wi-Fi support, that’s a bonus feature and not inherently part of what powerline technology is designed to do—the primary objective is simply to deliver a wired connection on the other end. So if you want to extend your Wi-Fi network as well, you’ll need to look for a powerline adapter that specifically includes integrated Wi-Fi or add your own wireless access point.

Note that just about any Wi-Fi router can also act as a wireless access point, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on getting one with a lot of features, since you’ll only be using it to allow Wi-Fi devices to get onto your network, so an inexpensive budget router will easily do the job.

In fact, while it’s slightly more complicated to setup than simply buying a mesh Wi-Fi system or a long-range router, you can get a powerline adapter and an inexpensive wireless access point for a fraction of the price of a mesh Wi-Fi system, so it’s a good option if you’re looking to save some money.

Powerline Standards

There are actually a few different powerline standards out there, with the most popular modern standard being HomePlug AV2, which offers the fastest performance—speeds in excess of 1Gbps. There’s also HomePlug AV with speeds of Mbps or Mbps (sometimes marketed as AV), and the earlier HomePlug and HomePlug Turbo devices that provide 14Mbps and 85Mbps, respectively. 

There’s also another competing standard, known as G.hn, that’s a little bit less common, but was made popular among some vendors as it was the first to offer the kind of higher speeds and lower latency that some users—especially gamers—demand. 

In fact, G.hn is arguably still a better standard in many ways, as it provides some of the fastest throughput of any powerline adapters we’ve seen. Unfortunately, however, the lack of wide support means that if you invest in G.hn powerline adapters your ability to expand your powerline network in the future will be more limited. 

However, keep in mind that the performance of powerline adapters that use the modern HomePlug AV2 standard should be more than fast enough for most users, and as a rule HomePlug AV2 adapters are usually a bit easier to work with, making them our recommended choice for those who prefer a “set-it-and-forget-it” kind of setup. 

Expandability

While powerline adapters normally come in pairs, it’s possible to add additional units if you want to connect other areas of your home. Doing this normally only requires that you buy a compatible powerline adapter—one that supports the same standard as the ones you already have—and then just plug it in and go through a relatively straightforward pairing procedure.

Just remember that all of your powerline adapters will still be sharing the same overall network speed. So even if you have five 2Gbps HomePlug AV2 adapters around your home, you only get 2Gbps shared between all of them.

Also, while different speeds of HomePlug AV and AV2 adapters can be mixed and matched, your powerline network can only operate at the speed of the slowest adapter, so if you add a HomePlug AV adapter to a group that has a pair of 2Gbps HomePlug AV2 adapters, you’ll be dragging everything down to Mbps speeds.

Lastly, HomePlug adapters can coexist on the same power lines as HomePlug AV/AV2 adapters, but they can’t actually talk to each other—they’ll act as two separate networks. This also means that they won’t interfere with each other, however, so if you already have older HomePlug devices you don’t need to rip them out if you’re planning on adding a new pair of HomePlug AV2 units.

Electrical Wiring

One of the biggest caveats to buying a powerline network adapter is the quality and layout of the electrical wiring in your home. While powerline adapters promise some amazing performance specs, you’ll only see these under ideal conditions. 

In short, maximum throughput requires that your powerline network adapters be on the same electrical circuit. This means they both need to be plugged into outlets that are hooked up to the same circuit breaker at your electrical panel.

Of course, this may defeat the purpose of a powerline network adapter if you’re looking to extend Wi-Fi to a distant corner of your home, since it’s unlikely that these outlets will be on the same circuit. However, this doesn’t rule out the ability to use a powerline adapter, or even to get acceptable performance from it, but it’s going to be very dependent upon the wiring in your home and how its arranged at the panel, and you’re definitely not going to get the maximum advertised throughput. 

For those with an understanding of how household wiring works, this has to do with which phases your circuits are on, as well as having a proper ground and a proper neutral that’s common to all phases. However, if you don’t understand any of that, don’t worry about it, as there’s likely nothing you can do about it anyway unless you spend a lot of money to hire an electrician. Our advice is that if you’re not sure how well powerline adapters are going to work for you, just make sure that you buy them from somewhere that has a good return policy in case you find that they don’t work as well in your home as you might hope. 

In all but the most extreme cases, however, you shouldn’t have a problem getting your powerline adapters to communicate with each other, but you might not get the gigabit-plus performance that’s listed on the box. Whether this will be a problem will depend largely on what you plan to use them for. Hooking up a TV or set-top box to stream Netflix, even in 4K, will be just fine with a 25Mbps connection, which even the most basic modern powerline adapters should be able to deliver, but you may not be able to get the kind of low-latency performance that’s needed for serious online gaming. 

Security

Since powerline networks travel over your home wiring, technically speaking anybody in your neighbourhood could conceivably tap into your network. As a result, the powerline standards like HomePlug and G.hn all include built-in encryption to keep the data that’s travelling across your wires secure.

Conceptually, this is the same as the encryption used on your Wi-Fi network, although it’s even easier since your client devices don’t need to know about it; with powerline adapters, the encryption is only between the adapters themselves. This is done using a Network Management Key, or NMK for short.

When you buy a pair of new powerline adapters in the same kit, they’re normally shipped preconfigured with the same NMK, so that all you have to do is plug them in and you’re ready to go. LEDs on the powerline adapters will light up once they’re plugged in and securely linked together. Adding a third adapter can be a bit more complicated, as you’ll have to go through a pairing process to link it up using the same NMK. 

This differs slightly between manufacturers, but with most HomePlug AV2 adapters, it’s usually as simple as pressing a couple of buttons as you plug the new adapters in. On the other hand, older HomePlug AV adapters can be trickier as they usually require you to use a software utility or web interface to do this from your computer.

Top Brands

TP-Link

TP-Link has been in the powerline network adapter business for years, and much like its routers, the company offers a wide range of HomePlug AV and AV2 adapters to meet a variety of different needs, including one with a built-in ac Wi-Fi extender, and another that offers some the fastest HomePlug AV2 performance you’ll find. 

Netgear

Another household name in networking gear, Netgear’s powerline adapters run the gamut from simple and affordable to ultra-high speed units with built-in Wi-Fi support, and are designed to be really easy to get up and running with a minimum of fuss.

Conclusion

While we can’t argue the point that the most reliable way to get a network connection to another part of your home is to run your own Cat 6 Ethernet cables, the reality is that’s not a viable option for most people, and a powerline network adapter is far more cost effective and definitely less labor-intensive. 

If you’re simply looking for extended Wi-Fi coverage, we’d definitely suggest at least considering a long-range router or a mesh Wi-Fi system, as these are usually a bit less complicated to deal with, and unless you have a very expansive home and need very high-speed coverage at extreme ranges, they’re generally worth the investment. However, a bigger and better router may be overkill if all you need to do is support a couple of wired devices in another room, and a powerline network adapter is generally a far more reliable way to go than a Wi-Fi range extender, and often more affordable too. 

Sours: https://www.lifewire.com/best-powerline-network-adapters
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Upgrade Your Network with the Best Powerline Network Adapter

Without a doubt, the internet has developed into one of the most vital and flexible support systems for obtaining anything - networking, commerce, schooling, financing, gaming systems, and amusement. Numerous individuals are involved in social games and the usage of powerline network adapters is pivotal for games connection. If you're a player looking to buy and set up a powerline network adapter for your video game system or Desktop, follow our buyer's guide. After conducting extensive research on powerline network adapters, this buyer's guide for the best powerline network adapters for gaming has been compiled for you to make an informed decision.

What are the factors to consider while buying a powerline network adapter?

Coverage

The coverage provided by a powerline network adapter is determined by the adapter's quality as well as the electrical circuits that run across your residence. On a favorable occasion, a bandwidth of up to m is achievable with strong connectors and an excellent quality powerline network adapter.

Speed

It is logical to choose the quickest powerline network adaptor that fits your budget. The slower adapters, which operate at around Mbps, will be less expensive and easier to obtain for simple tasks like web surfing and email, but if you want to stream media or connect several devices at once, you will need one that runs at approximately Mbps.

Choose an adaptor with Gigabit Ethernet ports, when possible. Even if your gadgets and router don't use Gigabit Ethernet (which they very certainly will), powerline network adapters with Gigabit ports will still work.

Compatibility

To guarantee maximum compliance and protection, make absolutely sure you get the very same model every time. That is not to imply that various types of powerline network adapters won't operate with each other; in certain cases, two distinct models from two separate firms may be compatible.

There are several requirements that devices must fulfill, just as there are with many other forms of technology. It is often assumed that if two separate powerline network adapters match the same specifications, they will function well together. The different security protocols, on the other hand, may not be interoperable.

Passthrough outlet

A powerline network adaptor plugs into an accessible mains outlet, thus blocking it and rendering it useless for other uses. If you wish to keep using that outlet, you need to invest in an adaptor with a pass-through power outlet into which you can put another device. This is especially important when certain adapters are so big that they also obstruct the power outlet.

Which features of powerline network adapters should you consider?

Design

Even though the appearance and style of a powerline network adapter should not be a top concern when looking for one, it is something to think about. You probably don't want an unsightly brick protruding from your power socket all of the time, especially if it is visible. If you can't locate an adapter that meets your needs while remaining unobtrusive, consider hiding it inside a cupboard if at all feasible.

Number of Ethernet ports

The majority of powerline network adapters will only have one Ethernet port. This is good if you don't mind swapping out the cable for the device you need at the moment. Some powerline network adapters come with two Ethernet connections, and some even have three.

Pack size

A single powerline network adapter will be worthless if you think of them as a method to expand your existing network from point A to point B. If you are new to powerline network adapters, you should start with a beginner-friendly package, which usually includes two adapters.

How do powerline network adapters are beneficial?

Powerline network adapters for gaming are advantageous for five reasons:

Reliability

A stable internet connection is required for any online gaming. The reliability of Wi-Fi and Ethernet services is not always guaranteed. However, powerline network adapters are handier and dedicated to a reliable connection.

The shortest possible lag

Online gaming does not need a high-speed internet connection; rather, it necessitates a lag-free connection. Powerline network adapters don't really struggle for a connection with other devices connected to the internet, as they do with a Wi-Fi network link. Because there is less competition and fewer risks of network disruption, there is little or no latency, which improves game performance.

Affordable


Hardwiring your entire house may be expensive. Powerline network adapters, on the other hand, are available at a variety of prices. It also uses a little amount of power. As a result, it is not only cost-effective but also requires little installation upkeep.

Simplicity


The set-up method for Powerline network adapters is the simplest. It is simple to connect in, sync it across all of your devices, and start using it.

Portable


Powerline network adapters are available in a variety of small and portable sizes. The mobility of powerline network adapters is a particularly useful feature for individuals who live in leased apartments and move frequently. You may take it with you wherever you go, at any time.

Do Powerline network Adapters Work for gaming?


A powerline network adapter is an outstanding demonstration of an “integrating” tool for establishing a local network. Powerline network adapters are small devices that draw power from a home's existing electrical systems. The powerline network adapter connects your gaming console to your internet connection point. These adapters use your existing electrical copper wire to deliver internet and data signals throughout your home. The characteristics of online gaming include strong internet service, low latency, and minimum delay.

Latency is the time required for the connection to send internet traffic from the linked device's origin. Low latency indicates that the link between your gaming console and your local network is strong, reliable, and trustworthy.

High latency causes a delay in the gameplay (bad network). A Powerline network adapter is an answer to lag-free, high-speed internet access with maximum reliability for games. They are simple to install and available at a reasonable price. As a result, powerline network adapters are a wise purchase for gamers.

Best Powerline Network Adapters FAQs


Q: What is the best way to tell if my powerline network adaptor is working?

A: Make sure both adapters' lights are turned on. Check the handbook to discover what the different colored lights signify if they aren't the same.

Q: Do powerline network adapters raise the chances of a fire or a power outage?

A: Like your broadband, switch, or any other electronic device that has been connected to the electrical outlet, powerline network adapters don't really increase the risk of combustion or power shortage.

Q: Is it true that powerline network adapters are stronger than WiFi?

A: Powerline network adapters are significantly superior to WiFi extenders in terms of latency. The speed of a powerline network adaptor is determined by the quality of your home's electrical wiring.

Sours: https://www.latimes.com/bestcovery/best-powerline-network-adapters
Powerline vs Wireless vs Ethernet Networking (NCIX Tech Tips #52)

Best powerline adapter The top HomePlug kits, adapters and extenders from £30

The best powerline adapters are a must-have in After all, slow or inconsistent Wi-Fi is one of modern life’s most annoying minor problems, especially now that more of us work from home. Sure, you can get a great signal when you’re right next to the router, but what if it’s in a hallway or living room and you need Wi-Fi in a distant upstairs bedroom or an office in the loft or garden?

There are several options to explore, ranging from mesh setups that can spread coverage more evenly around the home, to upgrading to the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology for better performance at long range. However, the first isn’t always the most effective way to target a particular room or area, while the latter doesn’t work so well if the smartphones, TVs and other devices that you’re using only support the older Wi-Fi 4 and 5 standards.

This is where Powerline (or HomePlug) networking comes in, using the electrical wiring in your house as a conduit for your network. All you need is two or more adapters, one plugged into your router, the other plugged in anywhere else in your home where you need an Ethernet connection or a Wi-Fi signal. You might not get the speeds of a direct connection, but it will be fine for work and entertainment – even gaming – and you can expand the network as you go.

How to choose the best powerline adapter for you

What are the different types of powerline adapter and what do the different standards mean?

Powerline adapters and HomePlug standards have evolved over the past ten years or so, and there are now several different communication standards promising different levels of performance. The most basic one you’ll find these days is HomePlug AV, which streams data over the live and neutral wiring in your home at speeds of up to Mbits/sec, though these speeds are theoretical, to say the least.

More advanced models support the AV2 , , and standards, which use all three power cables (live, ground and neutral) to boost bandwidth to the maximum speeds indicated (which are also, needless to say, only theoretical).

Beyond that there’s one more standard – G.hn – with speeds of between 1,Mbits/sec and 2,Mbits/sec. G.Hn should be both faster and more stable, but has yet to become the industry standard, with some manufacturers sticking with AV and AV

Don’t get too hung up about the different standards; they’re all backwards-compatible and different adapters from different manufacturers will work together. However, mixing and matching can impact speeds and there’s no guarantee that a TP-Link adaptor will work seamlessly with one from, say, TRENDnet or Devolo. It’s safer to stick with one make where you can.

How fast do I need to go?

The transfer speeds detailed above may sound impressive, but they refer to theoretical capabilities, not real-world performance. The state of your home electric cabling, the type of cabling used, the design of the circuit, the distance between your adapters and interference from other appliances will all impact performance. In practice, you won’t get anywhere near the advertised data rates.

That being the case, it’s tempting to go for the fastest adapters you can get. But, as our reviews below indicate, different speed ratings don’t always translate to real-world performance benefits. If performance isn’t critical, you won’t lose a lot by saving some cash and going for a mid-range package.

What else should I look out for?

Basic powerline adaptors typically come with a single Ethernet port, but pricier models may have two or three, which can be very handy for kitting out a home office. Check that the ports run at Gigabit speeds – the powerline connection won’t give you the full benefit of all that bandwidth, but older models may only have Mbits/sec ports and that could bottleneck your connection.

Some adapters also include a built-in Wi-Fi access point, but – again – check the connection speed. Some HomePlug AV adaptors only support the older n/Wi-Fi 4 standard rather than the newer, faster ac/Wi-Fi 5. At the time of writing, no powerline adaptors support the latest ax/Wi-Fi 6 standard.

One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is security: the vast majority of powerline adapters use bit AES encryption to ensure no one can snoop on the data packets travelling around your home. It’s worth checking to see if this is enabled by default, though.

Should I buy a powerline adapter, a Wi-Fi extender or a mesh Wi-Fi system?

Powerline used to be the most effective way to reach the more remote corners of your home, but there are now some very fast Wi-Fi extenders available that beat any powerline adapter we’ve seen for real-world speeds, and much the same goes for the faster mesh Wi-Fi systems. It’s also likely that, as support for Wi-Fi 6 becomes more common in smartphones, tablets and laptops – not to mention USB adapters – it might be smarter to invest in a new Wi-Fi 6 router, with a longer reach and faster speeds.

However, powerline still wins when you need to reach somewhere where a Wi-Fi extender or mesh system really isn’t practical. Much will depend on the materials and layout of your home, but if you’re trying to get an Internet connection in a loft, garage, basement or outdoor office, then Powerline could still be the simplest and most cost-effective way to do it.

READ NEXT: The best Wi-Fi extenders: Better coverage, faster downloads

The best powerline adapters and kits you can buy

1. TP-Link TL-PA The best budget powerline networking kit

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

It’s not always easy to find space for a chunky powerline adapter in your sockets, especially if you’re having to work around power adapters or 3-way or 4-way expansion sockets. Luckily, TP-Link’s nano-sized adaptors are genuinely tiny, yet the fastest version – the TL-PA kit – still meets the AV2 standard. This kit is easy to use, with the adaptors pre-paired, and basically plug and play. Adding new units is also simple, as TP-Link has stuck the Pair button right on the front.

Speeds are excellent, reaching Mbits/sec downstream and Mbits/sec upstream in the closer of our two test sockets, and Mbits/sec (both up- and downstream) with the connection stretched right across the house. That’s faster than we’ve seen from some more expensive kits, making this pint-sized duo look even more impressive.

Key specs – HomePlug standard:AV2 ; Ports on the first adapter: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet; Ports on the second adapter: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet; Wi-Fi: No; Mains passthrough: No

2. TP-Link TL-PAP powerline starter kit: The best mid-range powerline kit

Price: £ | Buy now from Amazon


The Homeplug AV2 specification promises lightning-fast connections at up to 2,Mbits/sec – but don’t get too excited. In our tests, this TP-Link kit actually delivered unremarkable top speeds of Mbits/sec upstream and Mbits/sec downstream.

Still, that’s plenty of performance for most file-transfer and streaming purposes, and the plugs themselves are nicely designed, with mains passthrough sockets, twin Ethernet ports and an upward orientation that provides easy access and won’t conflict with the skirting board. We also like the activity LEDs, which are discreet but clearly visible when you need them. And the whole thing just works, with zero setup needed – powerline networking doesn’t get much more straightforward or effective than this.

Key specs – HomePlug standard: AV2 ; Ports on the first adapter: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet; Ports on the second adapter: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet; Wi-Fi: No; Mains passthrough: Yes

3. TP-Link TL-WPAP: The best-value Powerline Wi-Fi kit

Price: £ | Buy now from eBuyer

If you’re looking to extend your wireless network to a distant room or outbuilding, TP-Link’s TL-WPAP kit has you covered. It combines HomePlug AV2 Powerline with dual-band ac Wi-Fi, for speeds of up to Mbits/sec on the 5Ghz band and up to Mbits/sec on Ghz. The adapters come pre-paired as a kit and can be paired easily with existing HomePlug AV2 equipment, while setting up the Wi-Fi is as simple as pressing the WPS button on your router then a button on the side of the adapter. The wireless unit also contains three Gigabit Ethernet ports, so it’s great for a home office or a PC or console gaming den.

We found speeds impressive, too, maxing out at Mbits/sec downstream and Mbits/sec upstream in the closer of our test locations, with Mbits/sec and Mbits/sec in the more distant room. The maximum Wi-Fi speed was Mbits/sec upstream and downstream, which should cover everything from 4K video streaming to large-scale backups to a NAS. And the icing on the cake? If you have one of TP-Link’s OneMesh routers, this kit can join the Mesh, meaning you can roam from one end of your property to the other without having to reconnect your device.

Key specs – HomePlug standard: AV2 ; Ports on the first adapter: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet; Ports on the second adapter: 3 x Gigabit Ethernet; Wi-Fi: ac; Mains passthrough: Yes

Buy now from eBuyer


4. Devolo Magic 2 WiFi Next: The fastest powerline and mesh Wi-Fi kit

Price: £ (starter kit), £ (whole home kit), £ (Wi-Fi add-on adapter) | Buy now from Currys

If you can’t live without consistent connectivity throughout the house, forget the competition: Devolo’s Magic 2 WiFi Powerline kit has a knockout two-punch combo. First, it supports the new G.hn Powerline standard, promising faster speeds of up to 2,Mbits/sec and a more reliable connection. Second, it has built-in ac Mesh Wi-Fi, giving you a rock-solid wireless hook-up all around the house.

Now, you need to take the 2,Mbits/sec claims with a pinch of salt; while Devolo’s excellent Cockpit utility claimed speeds in excess of 1,Mbits/sec in some outlets, the fastest data transfer speeds we registered were in the region of Mbits/sec. That said, that’s still twice as fast as our previous speed champion, Devolo’s own Powerline dLAN +. It’s also worth noting that we saw huge variations in speed in different positions, giving us the fastest performance we’ve ever witnessed in our challenging outside office – 89Mbits/sec where most adapters can barely manage 40 – but also weirdly slow speeds much nearer the central adapter in a hallway, with large files transferring at just over 61Mbits/sec against 97Mbits/sec on the older model.

As for Wi-Fi, the Magic 2 kit delivers on its promises: with the three-adapter whole home kit to test, there wasn’t a room inside the house where we couldn’t get our full 48Mbits/sec fibre connection, with data transfer speeds within touching distance of the wired powerline speeds. Throw in exceptionally easy setup and you have a powerline kit that has some odd wrinkles, but is overall the best available.

Key specs – HomePlug standard: G.hn ; Ports on the first adapter: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet; Ports on the second adapter: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet; Wi-Fi: ac; Mains passthrough: Yes

5. Devolo Magic 1 WiFi Powerline: A cheaper whole-home powerline kit

Price: £ (starter kit), £ (whole home kit), £78 (Wi-Fi add-on adapter) | Buy now from Amazon

If funds can't quite stretch to the full-strength Magic WiFi kit, Devolo offers a cut-down version costing considerably less. Instead of the fast Mbits/sec G.hn standard, the Magic 1 transfers data at G.hn 1,Mbits/sec speeds.

Other than that, though, it works in pretty much the same way, combining the reliability of powerline network speeds with the flexibility of wireless access points and the bonus that all network devices benefit from the speed boost.

If your home isn't particularly Wi-Fi friendly and you don't have pots of cash to spend, the Devolo Magic 1 WiFi is well worth considering. Even stepping up to the whole home kit at £, isn't too much of a costly upgrade.

Key specs – HomePlug standard: G.hn ;Ports on the first adapter: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet;Ports on the second adapter: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet; Wi-Fi: ac; Mains passthrough: Yes

Sours: https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/powerline-networking//best-powerline-adapter

Reviews powerline networking

Best powerline adapters in top picks for expanding your home network

The best powerline adapters may seem complicated and unusual, but they may be the secret ingredient to bringing your network to the next level. That’s because they extend your network’s range of coverage in a way that even the best mesh Wi-Fi systems can't. All you have to do is connect one to your router with an ethernet cable and plug it into a power outlet, and then plug another into a power outlet wherever you want to get access to the same network.

If you’re having issues with your network and normal troubleshooting doesn’t work, the best powerline adapters may be the perfect solution. That’s particularly true for networks that can’t reach certain parts of the office or home. Some are even able to broadcast their own Wi-Fi signal thanks to attached Wi-Fi antennas.

To help you upgrade your network, we’ve rounded up the best powerline adapters here for you to choose from. And, considering they have speeds close to wired connections, this might be the perfect way to go. You'll also need one of the best Ethernet cables to set up your powerline adapter, so it makes sense to pick one up before you get started.

1. Devolo Magic 2 WiFi

Next-gen network power adapters

Specifications

Speeds: up to 2,Mbps

Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports

Features: bit AES, WPA2

Reasons to buy

+Fast data speeds+Mesh Wi-Fi+Integrated power socket

Reasons to avoid

-Not backwards-compatible-Only two LAN ports

Easily the best powerline adapter you can buy today, the Devolo Magic 2 WiFi delivers fast speeds and all the benefits of mesh Wi-Fi technology. It’s an excellent jumping off point for the new G.hn standard, bringing to the table noticeable improvements to network speeds. It’s pricey and it’s not backwards-compatible, but those are hardly deal-breakers especially for the benefits you’re getting. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to install

Read the full review: Devolo Magic 2 WiFi

Devolo Magic 2 WiFi is only available in the UK. For US and Australian consumers, check out the D-Link Powerline Adapter AV2 on Amazon.com.

2. TP-Link AV Powerline adapter

Another fast choice with Wi-Fi

Specifications

Speeds: Up to Mbps

Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports

Features: Wi-Fi, WPS, Bit AES

Reasons to buy

+Very fast+Wi-Fi included

Reasons to avoid

-Two Ethernet ports

The TP-Link AV takes the award for fastest power line adaptor, with a maximum speed of Mbps - though of course actual speeds will be lower. Still, it offers fantastic speeds, along with built-in dual band wireless ac networks and a pass through socket.

In the starter kit you'll get two adapters, one has a single Ethernet port, which you should use to connect to your modem or router, and the second one has two Ethernet ports for connecting wired devices.

3. Devolo Mesh WiFi 2

All-in-one PowerLine and mesh networking kit

Specifications

Bands: ac 5GHz and GHz

Connectivity: 4 x RJ 10//M LAN ports

Features: multi-user MIMO technology, future-proofed G.hn Wave 2 standard, access point steering

Reasons to buy

+Mesh Wi-Fi networking+Two Gigabit Ethernet ports on each adaptor

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Unhelpful app and documentation

Extend your network through thick walls and into the furthest corners of your home or office with the Devolo Mesh WiFi 2. Boasting both mesh Wi-Fi features and versatile powerline connectivity, this device can even follow you and your mobile devices around, automatically switching you to the closest adaptor and the fastest Wi-Fi band. It even has three adaptors that give you five Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast, wired connections. This is the best powerline adapter for games consoles, smart-TVs and other devices that work best with wired connections.

Read the full review: Devolo Mesh WiFi 2

4. Asus Mbps AV2 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter

Great for wired and wireless

Specifications

Speeds: Up to Mbps

Connectivity: 3 x Gigabit Ethernet ports

Features: Wi-Fi, WPS, Bit AES

Reasons to buy

+Good speeds+Wi-Fi

Reasons to avoid

-External antennae are a bit ugly

Asus may not be the first company that comes to mind when you think about networking devices, but it makes some very good products - such as the Asus Mbps AV2 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter.

As the name suggests this is a very fast powerline adaptor that is also able to broadcast a Wi-Fi network as well. Unlike other powerline adapters with Wi-Fi, the Asus Mbps AV2 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter has external antennae, which allow you to angle them for increased coverage - though it does mean the units themselves look a little bit ugly compared to some of its competitors.

5. TP-LINK AV Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter Kit

A budget offering

Specifications

Speeds: Up to Mbps

Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports

Features: Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi clone feature

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/news/the-best-powerline-adaptors
Best Powerline Adapters 2021 [Top 5 Picks for Fast Internet \u0026 Gaming]

Best powerline extenders for

The best powerline extenders can fill a home's pesky Wi-Fi deadspots seemingly by magic. Using a house's own power cabling, it sends signals in the walls to any connected AC outlet to spread the reach of your network to the farthest rooms, without blindly pumping fresh Wi-Fi signal.

We used and reviewed the top powerline extender kits under real world conditions to help you pick the best device. Our criteria emphasizes value with everything from the device’s price, design and power use to whether it has an AC outlet to make up for the one it uses, its throughput and range. 

Using powerline gear couldn’t be simpler: plug a small sending box in near where your data broadband connection is and a receiver where you want data to end up. There’s no software, configuration or passwords to fuss with. On the downside, rather than a fresh Wi-Fi signal, the data come out of a wired Ethernet port. Plus, the farther the signal has to travel, the less data that gets through to the receiver so that older homes with complicated wiring suffer from reduced range. In the typical home, powerline extensions can reach about a hundred feet, plenty for all but a mansion. 

What are the best powerline extenders?

In our testing, the best powerline extender overall was the Netgear PLP, which stood out as superior by delivering the fastest data along with a reasonable range. It should be more than enough to add data where it’s needed. 

If you live large, the TP-Link TL-PAP is the best powerline extender for large homes. The TP-Link's extended range can help turn a big house into a data-filled home. It has a monitoring and configuration utility, but the device is a power hog and that will show up on your power bill.

Meanwhile, D-Link’s DHPAV is the best budget powerline extender. The unit's small size, inexpensive price and power-efficient, two-prong plug design is perfect for homes without grounded three-prong outlets. 

The best powerline extenders you can buy today

1. Netgear PLP

Best powerline extender overall

Specifications

Max Throughput: Mbps

Dimensions: x x inches

Connections: Three-Prong AC Plug and Two Ethernet

Range: feet

Wi-Fi: No

Reasons to buy

+Top performance+Two Ethernet ports+Low power use

Reasons to avoid

-Expensivedays of support

It’s a close call, but the Netgear PLP’s superior throughput trumped the TP-Link’s TL-PAP’s extended range, making it our choice as the best Powerline adapter. With the ability to move more data, the PLP outperformed the crowd and filled a previously unconnected garage with more than enough data to watch videos, play games and live online. 

It may be one of the largest PL extenders available and not include a monitoring utility, but the PLP provides an AC outlet to make up for the one it uses and its two gigabit Ethernet ports provide data for a TV and a computer. While at $ it’s among the most expensive PL extenders, it includes a one-year warranty and only days of support, while its peers include a year or two of warranty and support. 

Netgear’s PLP can push data into unconnected parts of a home at peak performance and is the one to get.

Read our full Netgear PLP Powerline Extender review.

2. TP-Link TL-PAP

The best powerline extender for large homes

Specifications

Max Throughput: Mbps

Dimensions: x x inches

Connections: Three-Prong AC Plug and Two Ethernet

Range: 1,feet

Wi-Fi: No

Reasons to buy

+Excellent range+Two Ethernet ports+Monitoring utility

Reasons to avoid

-LEDs on side-High energy use

TP-Link’s TL-PAP can help fill a big home with powerline data thanks to its class-leading range. It may be off the blistering pace set by the PLP, but the TL-PA has the power to push data through more than 1,feet of electrical wiring and delivered top-speed to a previously unconnected garage. Its pair of Ethernet ports and AC passthrough outlet mean that it not only won’t hog your home’s outlets but can supply data to two devices, like a smart TV and a computer. 

While its monitoring and configuration utility lets you customize your powerline network by renaming the devices and adjusting the Quality of Service parameters of the TL-PAP, its thirst for electricity makes it expensive to use and its side-mounted LEDs can be hard to see. Still, the $90 TL-PAP can fill a big home with data.

Read our full TP-Link TL-PAP Powerline Extender review.

3. Trendnet TPLE2K

The best value powerline extenders

Specifications

Max Throughput: Mbps

Dimensions: x x inches

Connections: Three-prong AC Pass-Thru and 1 Gbps Ethernet

Range: feet

Wi-Fi: No

Reasons to buy

+Inexpensive with low operating costs+3-year warranty+Includes utility+AC passthrough outlet

Reasons to avoid

-Single Ethernet port-Short range

The Trendnet TPLE2K is for those who care more about value and a three-year warranty than getting the top performance, extra range or the ability to service two networked devices. Overall, the TPLE2K offers the enviable combination of low upfront price and low operating costs, making it the one for penny-pinchers to get.

What the Trendnet TPLE2K lacks in speed and range it more than makes up with a handy AC passthrough outlet, a useful utility and a class-leading three year warranty. At $70 for the set, the TPLE2K is a must-have for those who choose low costs and reliability over all-out performance in powerline devices. The Trendnet TPLE2K offers affordability and the assurance that it will work for years, even if that function doesn't have the range and bandwidth of more expensive competitors.

Read our full Trendnet TPLE2K Powerline Extender review

4. D-Link DHPAV

The best budget powerline extender

Specifications

Max Throughput: Mbps

Dimensions: x x inches

Connections: Two-Prong AC Plug and One Ethernet

Range: feet

Wi-Fi: No

Reasons to buy

+Small+Two-prong AC plug+Inexpensive

Reasons to avoid

-Single Ethernet port-Low performance and range

Despite its short range and middling performance, the D-Link DHPAV’s two-prong plug can help bring data to older homes that lack ungrounded three-prong outlets. Small and easy to hide, the DHPAV has three LEDs to show network status but falls short by lacking an AC passthrough outlet to make up for the one it uses. With a single Ethernet port, a powerline network composed of DHPAV units will need a networking switch to connect to more than one device. 

Although several competitors provide a monitoring and configuration utility for adjusting the parameters of the powerline network, the DHPAV has none. On the other hand, it sips electricity while others gulp it and could cost only $ a year to operate. That, along with its $60 price tag, means the DHPAV is cheap to keep for an older home.

Read our full D-Link DHPAV Powerline Extender review.

5. Zyxel PLA

A good basic extender

Specifications

Max Throughput: Mbps

Dimensions: x x inches

Connections: Three-prong AC Pass-Thru and 2 Gbps Ethernet

Range: feet

Wi-Fi: No

Reasons to buy

+Pair of Ethernet ports+AC passthrough outlet+Monitoring utility+2-year warranty

Reasons to avoid

-Large-Lacks effective power conservation

The Zyxel PLA is big and combines a pair of Ethernet ports with a useful monitoring utility and a handy AC passthrough outlet. It will help push data throughout your home, but it's big, and delivers adequate (if unexceptional) performance and range. It’s no bargain for the two devices, but the PLA is for buyers looking for a powerline extender that quietly does its work behind the scenes.

Provided you don't need the better performance required for uses like streaming video or gaming, the Zyxel might be a good fit for homes with less-intensive data needs. The shorter range and limited bandwidth are enough to support basic online activities like web browsing and social media, but are unimpressive compared to our top models. Nonetheless, the design offers some convenience with it's added AC outlet, and sales prices could still make the Zyxel a smart buy.

Read our full Zyxel PLA powerline extender review

Do you need a powerline extender?

Powerline extenders replace lengthy runs of Ethernet cable with the wiring that's already in your walls, making it a great option for anyone that wants to stretch their network connectivity to new rooms. But is a powerline extender right for you?

There are two other options to consider when you want to get better connectivity in the furthest reaches of your home. The first is signal booster, like those seen on our best Wi-Fi extenders page, which captures and rebroadcasts wireless signal to boost the reach of your Wi-Fi router. That's a perfectly good option when you can have continuous Wi-Fi between the router and the extender, but wireless extenders do a better job over longer distances. If that far room shares wiring with the router but doesn't reach far enough to give you signal for repeating, then a powerline extender will be the better choice.

Find out more in our article Wi-Fi extenders vs powerline adapters: Everything you need to know.

The other alternative is to upgrade to a mesh Wi-Fi system. These systems use multiple units to provide a single seamless Wi-Fi network that can expand to cover the largest homes with ease. But the switch from a standard router to one of the best mesh Wi-Fi routers can come with a steep cost. If you want to stretch your network without paying a few hundred dollars, it's worth trying a powerline extender first.

How we test powerline extenders

To evaluate each powerline extender set, we test each in a variety of ways. In addition to price and physical design, we test to find the throughput, range, and bandwidth over distance as well as temperature and power consumption. 

Throughput: To measure the range and throughput of each Powerline set, we plugged the sending unit in at the home’s circuit breakers and the broadband modem and the receiver at an AC outlet feet away. 

Wired Range: After measuring the throughput, we added a series of foot grounded extension cords and measured the bandwidth available. When the system disconnected, we removed the last cord and added , , , and up to two 6-foot cords. The range is the total length of the extension cords that delivered the lowest throughput without disconnecting.

Bandwidth: We set up the receiver in a garage that’s about feet from the sending unit and measured the bandwidth. We finished by watching HD videos, playing online games and visiting Web sites. 

Temperature & Power consumption: While watching videos, we measured each device’s peak temperature with a Fluke 62 mini IR thermometer and power consumption (both in use and at idle) with a Kill A Watt Edge power meter. Assuming that the gear is active half of the day and sits idle for the rest, we multiplied each power-use figure by 4, ( days times 12 hours a day) and added the results together. Then, we doubled the total for the two devices needed and divided by 1, to get the annual energy use in kilowatt-hours. Finally, we multiplied this by $ (the average price of a kilowatt-hour) to get our estimate of annual operating cost. 

Behind the scenes, we used a Linksys WRT32X router, a Mbps Internet connection, a Lenovo ThinkPad T notebook and the Speedtest app to measure throughput. For all testing, five data points were averaged.

Check out all of our home networking coverage:

Best Wi-Fi routers | Best mesh routers | Best Wi-Fi 6 routers | Best gaming routers | Best Wi-Fi extenders | Best cable modems

Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.

Sours: https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-powerline-extenders

Similar news:

  • We tested MoCA adapters that let you use cable outlets, instead of power outlets, to extend your network; We recommend the Trendnet TMOC2K as a MoCA alternative to our powerline picks.

  • We tested MoCA adapters that let you use cable outlets, instead of power outlets, to extend your network; We recommend the Trendnet TMOC2K as a MoCA alternative to our powerline picks.

    We’ve removed the budget pick TP-Link TL-PAP v2, as it has been discontinued by TP-Link.

March 24,

If a traditional Wi-Fi or mesh network isn’t cutting it in your larger home, and you don’t want to (or can’t) drill holes and snake Ethernet cable through your walls, you’ve got more options: powerline networking and MoCA (multimedia over coaxial alliance). Powerline networking uses your home’s electrical wiring to share your internet connection, bypassing Wi-Fi and its limitations, while MoCA works similarly over the cable TV wiring in your home. After spending more than 45 hours testing 11 kits, we’ve found TP-Link’s TL-PAP to be the best powerline networking kit for most people.

TP-Link’s TL-PAP V3 is one of the fastest kits we’ve tested, is less expensive than competing adapters with the same speed ratings, and includes dual Ethernet jacks on each adapter so you can wire two nearby devices to your network—like a streaming box and a video game console. It’s a great way to add strong network connectivity to devices where Wi-Fi is impractical, and it comes with a two-year warranty.

The Netgear PLP is a good choice if our top pick is out of stock, and if you need the best possible performance—think online gaming and streaming 4K video. The speedy connection to any devices you plug into it should make a big difference compared with unstable Wi-Fi, but it won’t have as much impact on regular browsing on a so-so network. Netgear offers a shorter warranty than TP-Link, but this an excellent alternative, especially if it’s the same price.

The Trendnet TMOC2K uses the coaxial cables (aka cable TV) in your walls instead of running new Ethernet cables from the router to other rooms. MoCA performed faster than powerline networking in our tests. But you’ll need a cable TV outlet in each spot you use it, so it’s ultimately less flexible than powerline.

Why you should trust us

Before joining Wirecutter in , Joel Santo Domingo tested and wrote about PCs, networking, and personal tech for PCMag.com, Lifewire, HotHardware, and PC Magazine for more than 17 years. Prior to that, Joel was an IT tech and system administrator for small, medium-size, and large companies. Wirecutter has tested powerline networking kits since

Who this is for

Powerline network adapters extend your home network by using your home’s electrical wiring instead of an Ethernet cable. This makes powerline a great way to get a high-quality connection to distant parts of your house, which can also relieve stress on your Wi-Fi network.

MoCA network adapters do the same job, using the coaxial (cable TV) cables already in the walls of many homes. It’s a great way to reuse a resource that may be unused if you’ve already (figuratively) cut the cord—though there’s no guarantee that every cable TV drop in your home is connected to the others (unlike most power outlets). As long as there is a connection between the spots, MoCA adapters will work concurrently with cable TV or cable modem service. Some cable companies lease MoCA adapters to customers, but Wirecutter is a proponent of owning your networking equipment to avoid paying rental fees.

You should consider a powerline or MoCA kit if you have a router from the past year or two that covers most of your space well but doesn't get a reliable signal to somewhere that needs it, like a home office or an entertainment center on the opposite side of the house. Check to be sure your router supports the ac standard—if not you may want to replace it before getting a powerline kit. You should also only consider powerline networking if you have a relatively modern, midsize home—less than 2, square feet—since powerline performance can vary depending on the quality of your home’s electrical wiring. If your home is larger or older, or if your router is due for an upgrade anyway, you should probably consider a mesh networking kit instead.

With very few exceptions, a wired connection will be faster than Wi-Fi.

A single pair of wired adapters will typically provide much lower latency—the time between when you try to do something online, and when your device actually starts doing it—than a device would achieve on a busy Wi-Fi network. This makes an adapter kit potentially a better option for a gamer who complains about “lag” on their Wi-Fi connected console or PC but doesn’t have an available Ethernet connection nearby. Powerline or MoCA can also serve as a bridge across walls or a foundation that kills Wi-Fi signals (like a basement or garage, for example).

What you should know before buying powerline

A powerline kit contains two identical devices: one adapter connected to your router that you then plug into a nearby electrical outlet; and a second adapter you plug in where you need an internet connection. MoCA works the same way, but use the cable TV connectors in your home instead of the power outlets. If you need more networking ports where you’re putting a powerline adapter, you can plug in a network switch and still get better performance and lower latency than using Wi-Fi to connect those gadgets. To add more rooms to your powerline network, you only need one more powerline adapter in each room—the same router-side adapter will service your entire powerline network.

Despite its limitations, powerline is a useful and affordable way to extend your network to areas where Wi-Fi doesn’t reach and running an Ethernet cord would be impractical. Powerline can bridge network connections throughout a multistory structure where building materials like brick, glass, or lath-and-plaster block Wi-Fi signals. However, powerline signal quality depends greatly on the quality of your electrical wiring, which can be a problem in older buildings. Conversely, MoCA connections will depend on whether the coaxial cable next to your router is connected within the walls to the cable TV outlet in the distant rooms.

Some powerline kits have Wi-Fi extenders built into one of the adapters. These can work better than traditional wireless extenders because they don’t rely on Wi-Fi for the connection between the router and extender. However, if powerline networking doesn’t work well with your house’s wiring, you’re better off upgrading to a Wi-Fi mesh kit.

While it’s possible to mix and match older powerline adapters, you really shouldn’t. They can slow the network speeds by two-thirds or more.

The good news is that powerline and MoCA don’t interfere with Wi-Fi, and vice-versa—walls that stop Wi-Fi cold or your neighbors’s Wi-Fi interference don’t matter to a wired connection. With very few exceptions, a wired connection will be faster than Wi-Fi. The network’s performance depends on the overall quality of the wiring in the house, followed by the electrical distance—not the straight line distance—between two adapters. Shoddy wiring can lower the bandwidth or drop the connection. Powerline and MoCA networking are expandable but can be subject to collision and congestion—the more adapters you have, the worse they’ll all perform.

You should also be careful to encrypt the connection between your powerline adapters, using the physical pairing button on each adapter, especially if you live in a multi-unit building. If you forget this step, you can end up merging your network and your neighbor’s. For a MoCA network, you may need to change a security setting on the adapter’s website, and you may need to install a PoE (point of entry) filter on the coaxial cable running outside your home to your neighbors, if your cable company forgot to place one when it installed your cable modem.

Other factors can affect powerline performance. You don’t want to connect a powerline adapter to a surge protector or power strip, or outlets that are behind AFCI circuit breakers. (These will be labeled as “AFCI” or “Arc Fault” in your breaker box.) SmallNetBuilder noted in its testing of powerline adapters that some brands of AFCI circuit breakers cut transmission rate in half, though others barely impacted throughput at all.

While it’s possible to mix and match older powerline adapters, you really shouldn’t. They can slow network speeds by two-thirds or more. Older powerline devices that use the AV standard are compatible with the AV2 standard devices we tested here, but that just means that they won’t completely break the network when plugged in at that same time. I ran into this situation when I neglected to remove a rogue powerline adapter left over from testing years ago. With an unpaired AV adapter plugged in, overall throughput on the newer gigabit AV2 adapters slowed to a crawl. AV and AV2 devices can’t be used at all with powerline adapters that use the competing G.hn standard, and we found the interference from the spare AV adapter slowed the G.hn network down as well.

MoCA also has defined standards: MoCA and are currently shipping, and both are compatible with each other. MoCA is nominally faster ( gigabit versus gigabit), but right now GbE internet connections are rare, so there isn’t a large advantage to using the faster standard, yet.

You don’t want to connect a powerline adapter to a surge protector or power strip, or outlets that are behind AFCI circuit breakers.

Powerline networking kits can be susceptible to interference from other devices (particularly poorly constructed phone or laptop power supplies) on the circuit. Appliances on the line can also interfere with powerline signals, so it may not be the solution for improving your internet connection on outlets near kitchens or laundry rooms. According to this knowledge base article from TP-Link, “Electrical equipments [sic] with electromotor, like washing machine/air-condition, can generate interference [and] may even cut off your powerline connection.”

It’s also possible, though somewhat unlikely, to get interference from a powerline kit showing up in other devices. In , we tested for interference from a floor lamp with a dimmer switch and three 13 W LED bulbs. We didn’t see any speed drops on any of the kits we tested then, but we did get a light show when we benchmarked a Zyxel PLAKIT with the lamp plugged into the same outlet and turned off at the dimmer switch.

How we picked

A group of the powerline networking adapters we tested.

Much like any network connection, what we’re really looking for here is the most speed and reliability we can get for the best price. Unfortunately, just like Wi-Fi, the big numbers on the box can be misleading—you’ll never get the theoretical maximum of 2 Gbps out of a kit that uses the AV standard. And sometimes a product from one brand on the slower AV standard can actually perform better than a product from another brand that uses AV So we directly tested each kit, using the same techniques employed in our Wi-Fi router, Wi-Fi mesh, and Wi-Fi extender guides.

When deciding which devices to test, these were our criteria:

  • Throughput, or speed: We measured how fast each powerline kit downloads files and streaming data. At a bare minimum, we’re looking for at least 25 Mbps, the speed you’d need for 4K video streaming to one device. If your home internet connection is slower than that and the cause of your problems, a powerline networking kit may not make a difference. We used AV2 throughput ratings as a guideline when picking which kits to test—those numbers aren’t always indicative of real-world performance, but newer and better kits do generally have higher throughput rates.
  • Latency, or delay: This is the kind of speed that makes most of what you actually do on the internet—such as web browsing and game playing—seem fast or slow. It’s frustrating when you have to wait longer than a couple of seconds for a response from a website or an app’s servers
  • Price: A pair of Ethernet-only powerline adapters shouldn’t be more than $; a kit with a Wi-Fi radio on the far end shouldn’t be more than $ Once you reach that price, you may be better off looking at a mesh networking kit or evaluate if you need to install wired Ethernet in your home.
  • Wi-Fi capabilities: You’ll get the highest performance results from a powerline connection by plugging in an Ethernet cable, but many people really want to get good Wi-Fi coverage to another room.
  • Extra Ethernet port(s): Having an extra Ethernet connection (or two) is a boon for smart homes. They come in handy if you need “just one more connection” and don’t want to bother with an additional network switch for a media streaming box and a desktop PC in the same room.
  • Power passthrough: It’s not a dealbreaker, but we prefer powerline kits with V passthrough outlets on the front. Powerline adapters should always be plugged directly into the wall—not into a power strip—and kits without power passthrough will block one or both of your wall outlets.
  • Warranty: It’s not the most important feature, but we gave extra points to powerline kits with two- or three-year warranties. Three contenders had only a single year of coverage.

We tested only current-generation powerline devices, and we don’t recommend older non-AV2 devices. The modern AV2 standard brings much faster real-world speeds, better reliability, and mandatory push-button encryption.

The AV2 standard (and the G.hn standard the Zyxel kit uses) requires modern, three-prong electrical wiring. If you only have two-prong outlets, powerline networking is probably not for you—but if you want to try it anyway, your best bet is the TP-Link AV Powerline Adapter Kit.

How we tested

Floor plan for where the powerline networking adapters were tested, showing a first and second floor plus attic. The key at lower left identifies the red marker in the attic as the router and adapter A, the green marker in the attic as the attic test site and adapter B, and the blue marker on the first floor as the bedroom test site.

To test coverage and performance, we connected each kit to a TP-Link Archer A7 (our current budget Wi-Fi router pick) in a challenging home environment. The three-story, 2,square-foot house we used is built into a hillside. The house has Wi-Fi–blocking interior materials, including interior glass panels, a masonry fireplace in the middle of the living room, and a metal-and-wood staircase in the center of the home.

The router and web server were located in a home office in the attic of the home. One powerline adapter was also plugged into a nearby outlet, with its Ethernet cable connected to a port on the router. Powerline adapters are paired automatically when you plug them in, but to ensure we had a secure connection, we tapped the pairing/encryption button on both units after they were plugged in. Note: Tor the MoCA testing during early , the adapters were placed in similar test locations as the powerline adapters, connected to a working coaxial cable outlet.

Adapter placement

We picked two spots that would show each adapter’s capabilities: The downstairs bedroom has four interior walls and two ceilings between it and the router, which challenge Wi-Fi reception more than the 60 feet or so of straight-line distance. The second test spot in the attic is “easier” at about 25 feet distance, but it still has a pane of window glass in between it and the router. These are exactly the sort of places wired adapters are best-suited to reach.

Test device placement

All of our powerline and MoCA adapters offered wired Ethernet ports, and we tested those wired connections with an Intel gigabit network adapter on a Dell laptop. Placement of the actual laptop doesn’t really matter when you’re wired; we tested with a 3-foot Ethernet cable, which is just as challenging as a foot Ethernet cable.

For the kit that offered Wi-Fi connections on the remote adapter; we tested it using the same Dell laptop with a TP-Link T4U USB WI-Fi adapter, also about 3 feet from where the powerline adapter was plugged in.

Test protocol

We tested our powerline adapters using Netburn, an open-source tool that tests networks with the same HTTP protocol your browser uses to read web pages. This allows us to test the network the same way we actually use it and minimize the likelihood that we’ll pick a device that’s better in testing than it is in the home.

We used an Intel NUC mini PC running Linux and Apache as the back-end server for our tests. The NUC was plugged directly into a spare port on the Archer A7 in the home office, and the test laptops had to connect to it by way of the powerline adapters.

Each laptop was tested for download performance and for web browsing performance. The download test simply downloads a 1 MB file repeatedly as fast as possible. We also ran a version of the download test with a 16 MB file to stress the network further.

The web browsing test is considerably trickier; each web page consists of 16 side-by-side KB downloads, and the next web page can’t be downloaded until the last one finishes. Problems with the reliability of the connection—or the speed of the adapters’ CPU—get uncovered more quickly on the browsing test than they do with a simple full-speed download. We ran the tests on all the adapters with an Ethernet cable connected. In addition, for the Wi-Fi–capable TP-Link kit, we ran the same suite of tests again while connected to Wi-Fi. We also ran the test at each location with the laptop connected via Wi-Fi to a TP-Link T4U USB adapter.

Our pick: TP-Link TL-PAP V3

Our pick, the TP-Link TL-PAP V3.

If your Wi-Fi can’t reach one or two devices like game consoles or streaming boxes, and you can’t run Ethernet wiring through your home (or just don’t want to), the TP-Link TL-PAP Kit is one of the best ways to extend your network where the Wi-Fi is spotty. It was among the top three fastest competitors in our download throughput and browsing tests, so you’re assured speedy wired connections in the room where you place the receiving adapter regardless of your router’s or your home’s construction.

A top powerline adapter like the TL-PAP improves speed (throughput) and responsiveness (latency) compared with Wi-Fi. For example, the adapter was faster than all the others in one of our six tests. At a closer distance of about 25 feet, throughput jumped from 78 Mbps on Wi-Fi to Mbps, an improvement of %. When we increased the distance, the gap narrowed and the TL-PAP placed third behind the Zyxel PLA and Netgear PLP, but the TP-Link adapter was still 76% faster than Wi-Fi at the same location.

Pair of units for the TP-Link TL-PAP v3, our pick for best powerline networking adapter, both laying face down showing the ethernet ports and plug tines.

In addition to performing well, the TL-PAP is a good value, generally about $10 to $20 less expensive than the Netgear PLP Both have dual Ethernet ports on each adapter, similar performance, passthrough power ports (you can still use the power outlet for other things), and both are easy to set up. Just plug the TL-PAP’s adapters in, and they will work right out of the box. If you live in a multiple-unit dwelling like an apartment building, you’ll want to activate the onboard bit-AES security by pressing the sync button on each adapter, but that’s a one-time process that takes seconds to implement.

The PAP comes with a two-year warranty, like the other TP-Link and Zyxel adapters, and double the single year of the D-Link and Netgear adapters. Only the TrendNet comes with a three-year warranty, but the TrendNet TPLE2K has other issues.

The TP-Link TL-PAP v3, our pick for best powerline networking adapter, plugged into a horizontal wall outlet set in a white baseboard. The unit has a white ethernet cord attached to the bottom port.

If you need to wire more than two devices to your network over a powerline adapter, you can also connect an inexpensive network switch to the PAP and have enough ports to hook up your entire entertainment center. Taking those (often bandwidth-hungry) devices off your network can be a double win. Your streaming box, smart TV, the desktop hooked up to your TV, and any other local devices will benefit from the stronger signal from a wired connection, and the rest of your wireless devices will be more responsive since they are on a now less-congested wireless network.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Plugged into the bottom outlet, the PAP covers the ground plug of the power outlet above it; you might be able to connect a two-prong plug to the top outlet, but most three-prong plugs won’t fit. Thankfully, there’s a passthrough adapter on the front, so you can plug a device directly into the PAP itself.

There’s no Wi-Fi built in, so you’ll need to connect a wired access point or Wi-Fi extender to the PAP if you want wireless networking at the far connection. Even with the extra complexity, that will likely be a faster system than the Wi-Fi–capable TP-Link WPA v2—the PAP absolutely trounced the former in our throughput tests.

Runner-up: Netgear PLP

Our runner-up pick, the Netgear PLP

Since it’s normally a little more expensive without offering a clear benefit, the Netgear PLP is only a good choice if the TP-Link TL-PAP is out of stock, or if you can find it at a lower price. Both powerline adapter kits excelled in our throughput tests, trading places for the top spots. The PLP was faster overall, but you’d need a calculator to see the difference between the two on most tests; on one test the difference was less than a percentage point.

Pair of units for the Netgear PLP, our runner up for best powerline networking adapter, both laying face down showing the ethernet ports and plug tines.

The PLP kit placed a smidge higher than the TL-PAP on four of the six throughput and latency tests, meaning it is technically faster than our top pick. But the truth is that both powerline kits performed within a hair’s breadth of each other. With so many variables in play, you’re unlikely to notice the difference in day-to-day use around your home. And both options were over twice as fast the lowest performing kits—the TP-Link TL-WPA v2 and the TrendNet TPLE2K—at the long-distance tests. Either of the top kits will do just as well to extend your network where Wi-Fi is problematic.

The Netgear PLP, our runner up for best powerline networking adapter, plugged into a horizontal wall outlet set in a white baseboard. The unit has a white ethernet cord attached to the bottom port.

Most of the time, the Netgear adapter is about $10 to $20 more than our top pick from TP-Link, and Netgear only offers a one-year warranty compared with TP-Link’s two-year coverage. Those two factors were the main reasons the PLP is only our runner-up pick. Aside from the similarities in speed, the overall design and feature set don’t differ in most meaningful ways. Both kits have two Ethernet ports per adapter, so you’ll be able to connect two devices in each location. And the PLP also includes a power passthrough, a benefit because the adapter’s bulk blocks the other outlet.

Also great: Trendnet TMOC2K

Two Trendnet TMOC2Ks stacked on top of one another on a red table.

You’ll always have a power plug next to a spot where you want a better network connection, but if you have a cable TV outlet at the same location, a MoCA adapter like the Trendnet TMOC2K will transfer data much more quickly, according to our testing. MoCA adapters work similarly to powerline adapters, but use the coaxial (cable TV) wires installed in many homes to carry networking signals. Though MoCA adapters are measurably faster than powerline networking, they aren’t our top pick because electrical outlets are exponentially more prevalent in homes than coax hookups, which makes placing a powerline adapter much more convenient than MoCA adapters. In either case, cable TV viewers and cord cutting families alike can use the wires already in your home to transmit fast Ethernet-like signals from your router to other rooms in your home. It would be a lot less expensive to use the wires you already have in your walls, instead of hiring a contractor to run Ethernet cables from one side of the home to the other.

The back of the Trendnet TMOC2K.

Connect the familiar coaxial connectors to your “Cable TV” outlet in your wall, then connect Ethernet to your desktop PC or streaming media box. The second coax connector is for your TV, if you still subscribe to cable TV. Photo: Sarah Kobos

The TMOC2K adapter, shown next to a phone for comparison.

The TMOC2K adapter is compact, shown next to a phone for comparison. Photo: Sarah Kobos

The front panel of the Trendnet TMOC2K.

The front panel has a few LEDs for status, but otherwise it’s a plain black box. Photo: Sarah Kobos

When we tested the Trendnet TMOC2K and compared the results to our powerline picks, the MoCA adapters were twice as fast in the attic, and over four times as fast over foot distances to the bedroom test location. That translates into potentially faster response and a smoother picture from streaming services to your media streaming box with a built-in Ethernet connector.

The TMOC2K is potentially a better choice than powerline for connecting two distant rooms in your home, provided there is an intact coaxial cable connection between the two rooms (a big if). The Trendnet adapter kit has a few downsides: the TMOC2K kit only comes with the MoCA adapters and power plugs. The other three MoCA adapter kits we tested (see competition) had extra Ethernet cables, coaxial cables, splitters, and point of entry filters. You may already have all of these items to spare, but if not you’ll have to order them separately.

Any MoCA adapter also occupies a power outlet; the powerline adapters we recommend have pass-throughs so you can plug in other items like lamps or TVs without losing an outlet. The TMOC2K only has one Ethernet port, while our powerline picks each have two. And again for emphasis, there’s no guarantee that the coaxial cable outlet in your wall is hooked up to anything else in the home, especially if you’ve had coax removed after cancelling cable TV service or if you’ve never had cable service installed in the first place. Building codes ensure that there is a wired connection between power outlets.

An overview of the test results

Wired connections, like those of our seven powerline adapter kits, improve the stability and responsiveness of the network connection. So we concentrated on how fast each kit was able to transfer data. Overall, the best powerline kits were faster than Wi-Fi, especially as more obstacles were placed in between the router and the test laptop.

Our throughput test measures how much data can be transmitted through the network, measured in megabits per second (Mbps). For example, if you’re paying for Mbps internet service, you’ll be able to download files and stream media at Mbps to a laptop connected to the router via a wired Ethernet connection. Obstructions in your walls or electrical wire distance will degrade the Wi-Fi or powerline throughput, respectively.

A chart comparing the download throughputs of different powerline and MoCA kits

Note that we’re testing these throughput speeds locally using a server: If your home has a 15 Mbps data plan, your connection to streaming services on the internet will be limited to 15 Mbps maximum, no matter how fast your router and adapters are.

As mentioned earlier, we tested throughput at two locations in our test home. The first site was in the attic about 25 feet from the router, but on the other side of a load-bearing wall and plate-glass window that decreased Wi-Fi signals. In general, the powerline transfer speed in an attic was quite fast, easily exceeding Wi-Fi over the same distance.

The other test location was in a bedroom two flights down, and on the other side of the home, a challenging foot distance for both Wi-Fi and electrical signals. At this location, the best powerline kits still managed rates that were twice as fast Wi-Fi–only performance, while the worst two kits were a bit slower than Wi-Fi.

For comparison, during our last router test session the TP-Link Archer A7 router had no trouble maintaining almost Mbps throughput to a similar laptop about 15 feet away, through a ceiling.

A chart comparing the large-file throughputs of different powerline and MoCA kits.

To challenge the network kits, we also ran the same test with a larger file for a shorter period to simulate a quick, massive burst of data that would really stress the network. Wi-Fi slowed a bit at both locations compared with the 1 MB file download tests, showing that the wireless network was becoming saturated at that point. However, the best performers, including the PLP and TL-PAP v3, managed to provide double the throughput at both test sites compared with Wi-Fi. They had the extra headroom and just kept going, while the Wi-Fi connection direct to the router was really starting to show its limits.

There wasn’t a lot of difference in throughput rates between the slowest and fastest MoCA adapters. But because powerline adapters vary so much, the MoCA adapters were anywhere from two to 22 times faster. The coaxial cables in your home are subject to a lot less interference than the power wires in your home, and they are likely to be shorter runs, since they don’t have to share wires with multiple outlets in each room.

The TL-WPA v2 (both wired and with a Wi-Fi connection) and the TrendNet TPLE2K were no better than the Wi-Fi connection in the first floor bedroom. Both were rated Powerline AV, which goes to show that you shouldn’t expect advertised speeds simply because the adapter is rated “up to 1, Mbps.”

One notable anecdote: The G.hn-compatible Zyxel PLA was fastest at long distance in the first-floor bedroom, but it was merely above average in the attic location. Therefore, we consider it a possible alternate if you need to cover a long distance or if our main pick and runner-up are out of stock.

The competition

TP-Link’s TL-PAP V2 was the budget pick in the previous version of this guide, but it has been discontinued. It’s still more than fast enough if you need to connect one wired device like a smart TV. If you find it in stock, it is a good choice for around $

The TP-Link WPA V2 was the pick in a previous version of this guide. However, after our latest round of tests in , it dropped from middle of the pack to the bottom of the performance charts. While it was the only kit we tested with Wi-Fi built in, it was simply too slow to recommend over the others here.

The Extollo LanPlug and Extollo Una were listed as also-great picks in the previous version of this guide. We tried to acquire these G.hn extenders from both the Extollo Communications website and on Amazon for our update. They are listed as sold out on the former, and unavailable on the latter. We tried to contact Extollo, to no avail. As they are no longer readily available, we are dismissing both adapters.

Our budget pick matched the features and performance of D-Link’s DHP-PAV, for half the price. It’s similar to the DHPAV we tested in but with the addition of a passthrough power jack.

TrendNet’s TPLE2K has a three-year warranty and a nice price, but its performance placed it last in the latest round of testing.

The Zyxel PLA also used Wave 2 G.hn technology instead of AV2, and topped our throughput tests at the longest distances, but its other performance numbers were just behind the top three. It might be an alternative if you need to cover a long distance or if our pick, runner-up, and budget pick are out of stock.

MoCA Adapters

The Screenbeam (formerly Actiontec) ECBK02 is a MoCA adapter with a gigabit Ethernet (GbE) port. But it didn’t perform any faster in tests than the Trendnet adapter when we used our 1 gigabit Ethernet laptop and server. gigabit internet service is rare and expensive right now, most laptops and routers lack GbE, and the ECBK02 is twice the price of the Trendnet TMOC2K. One added bonus is that the kit comes with spare Ethernet cables, coaxial cables, coaxial splitters, and a point of entry filter, potentially saving you about $40 if you don’t already have spares lying around. It also has a short, one-year warranty compared with the Trendnet’s 3 years. Though you could buy the ECBK02 for future-proofing, we don’t think it’s worth the extra expense unless the price drops significantly.

Motorola’s MM is a MoCA adapter kit including two MM adapters, and the MM is an updated MoCA kit with a GbE port, containing two MM adapters. The MM was quite a bit slower than the powerline and MoCA kits on our latency test (it was the only adapter that was slower than ms), so we’re dismissing it. The MM was sufficiently speedy in our throughput and latency tests, but in addition to being more expensive than the Trendnet, it’s a brand-new product with zero third-party or consumer reviews. Like the Screenbeam, the Motorola kits come with extra Ethernet cables and coax connectors. We’ll keep our eye on the MM for future MoCA updates.

Previously tested

We tested all devices listed below—including our picks from —using new protocols in Any devices that we previously tested that aren’t listed here should be considered very inferior to anything listed, even down here in the Competition section—powerline networking has come a long way over the past several years.

TP-Link’s WPA is a decent kit but didn’t quite fit any of our pick categories. It offers Wi-Fi for less cost than our pick—but has no passthrough outlet, and provides only one Ethernet port per adapter and noticeably less performance. We didn’t think the money saved was worth it.

D-Link’s DHPAV, the first AV2 kit we tested (and one of the kits we retested in ), is only slightly faster than TP-Link’s AV and AV devices, and nowhere near as fast as TP-Link’s AV kit or Extollo’s G.hn kit. It has no passthrough outlet, doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, and is usually priced far too high.

Zyxel’s PLA kit is another AV kit that just doesn’t hit the mark. It costs a little less than the DHPAV, and it does offer a passthrough power outlet, but there’s still no Wi-Fi and it’s even slower than the D-Link kit.

Netgear’s PLWNAS offers Wi-Fi capabilities at a decent price, but there’s no passthrough outlet and only one Ethernet port, and the performance is nowhere near what it should be.

Jim Salter contributed to previous versions of this guide.

Sources

  1. Dong Ngo, No Wi-Fi at that Corner? Get a Pair of Powerline Adapters!, Dong Knows Tech, March 28,

  2. Powerline Charts, SmallNetBuilder

  3. Tim Higgins, SmallNetBuilder's Powerline FAQ - , SmallNetBuilder, July 20,

  4. Tim Higgins, How We Test Powerline Products, SmallNetBuilder, November 14,

  5. Tim Higgins, How To Troubleshoot Your Powerline Network, SmallNetBuilder, July 6,

About your guide

Joel Santo Domingo

Joel Santo Domingo is a senior staff writer covering networking and storage at Wirecutter. Previously he tested and reviewed more than a thousand PCs and tech devices for PCMag and other sites over 17 years. Joel became attracted to service journalism after answering many “What’s good?” questions while working as an IT manager and technician.

Further reading

  • The Best Wi-Fi Router

    The Best Wi-Fi Router

    by Joel Santo Domingo

    We’ve tested the latest Wi-Fi routers to find the best ones—from budget options to top of the line—to make your wireless network faster and more responsive.

  • The Best Wi-Fi Extender and Signal Booster
Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-powerline-networking-kit/


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