Here's our Hardware Tip for.. August 30, 2011
Click Here to see a complete list of all of our previously released Tips!
TP-LINK AV Mini Powerline Adapter Starter Kit Ups the Bar on Simplicity, Performance and Footprint!
Howard Sobel, Tips Editor

Using your homeís electric receptacles can be a useful way to extend your internet access throughout your house. Home Powerline adapters have been available for several years from companies like Corinex, Netgear and Linksys and now TP-Link.

The last time I tested these units I ran into lots of problems in my home which is older and has some very old wiring. (In theory, newly constructed homes should work even better.)

The TP-Link units are extremely small compared to the competition and thatís a big plus. They can fit into places I was not able to get the other larger powerline adapters to fit due to the smaller adapter. The entire unit is the length of a credit card and about the width of the diameter of a US Quarter.

Connecting the network was so simple it's hard to imagine anyone having problems setting it up unless they are related to your electrical wiring configuration. I expected many sessions running back and forth resetting the pairing buttons as I have in the past. Not this time. The process was blissfully simple. I plugged the first unit into the electric receptacle nearest the routers internet connection. (My ISP is Comcast and I get 25 MB downstream and about 2 mbps upstream.) I plugged the other unit into the wall socket downstairs where I wanted to plug into my PC connected to my HDTV. Then I pressed the small pair button for about 8 seconds. Voila internet juice!

Many newer Blueray DVD Players and TVís can use a wired or a wireless connection. I personally donít like using USB connectors to connect to stand alone media devices like TVís or BlueRay boxes. My Sony Bravo didnít offer a wireless option and my Samsung units wanted proprietary and pricey wireless dongles which can break when moving the unit.

These units paired perfectly the first time. It was truly a plug and play experience and I was able to get an extremely good (128 bit AES encrypted connection) with throughput testing at the full 25mb download at www.OOKLA.net speedtest in ten minutes.

The unit goes into standby mode after 5 minutes when the connected device is turned off. TP-Link says this saves about 65% energy while in standby mode. Go Green! This is a nice feature and presumably saves a decent amount of wasted electricity and heat dispersion.

Advanced functions allow you to create a private network (useful if you live in an apartment) or QOS. QOS allows you to give more bandwidth to a specific application ie: gaming or VOIP.

Itís always advisable to plug directly into the wall receptacle as plugging into a power surge adapter can introduce noise which is not desirable in maintaining a high speed Powerline connection.

If you live in a house where your wireless network signal range is being hampered by the construction of your walls, you can extend the range of your wireless unit using a TP-Link Powerline AV200 Mini Adapter and other devices like a computer, notepbook, game console, Networks Storage Device, TV, Blueray, Roku, another wireless AP router, or any other internet peripheral using a standard Ethernet jack.

Verdict: Highly recommended!

Highlights:

  • HomePlug AV standard compliant, high-speed data transfer rates of up to 200Mbps
  • Super small design with a new exterior, blends indiscreetly in front of any power outlet
  • No new wires, Easy Plug and Play operation, No configuration required
  • Patented Power-Saving Mode automatically reduces power consumption by up to 65%*
  • Suggested Retail Price $79.99