D-Link PowerLine Gigabit DHP-540 switch review: Best of both worlds

CNET editor Dong Ngo's take on D-Link's new PowerLine AV 500 4-Port Gigabit Switch, model DHP-540.

The D-Link DHP-540 switch offers four Gigabit ports and will also turn the electrical wiring of the house into a data cable for a Powerline AV 500-based network. All you need are more adapters at other power outlets.
The D-Link DHP-540 switch offers four Gigabit ports and will also turn the electrical wiring of the house into a data cable for a Powerline AV 500-based network. All you need are more adapters at other power outlets. Dong Ngo/CNET

You're running out of ports for your network and you need to resort to a switch. Maybe it's a better idea to get one that also supports power-line networking. Like most computer devices, a switch will need to be plugged into the wall to work, after all.

If you find yourself with that thought, D-Link's new PowerLine AV 500 4-Port Gigabit Switch, model DHP-540, is exactly what you're looking for.

This is a compact four-port Gigabit switch just like any other switch that allows you to add three Ethernet-ready devices to your existing network using network cables. However, it's also the first we've seen that incorporates support for Powerline AV 500, meaning its power cable is also a data cable of a power-line network.

Basically, the DHP-540 turns the house's electrical wiring into a data cable for the same computer network it's connected to. Now you just need to plug other power-line adapters into different power sockets, such as the D-Link DHP-500AV or the Netgear XAV5501, around the house to extend the network there.

In case you already have a power-line adapter connected to your router, the DHP-540 works the other way as the other end of a power-line connection, too. In this case, just plug it into a power socket at the far end and you can extend the network to up to four computers there.

The best thing about the DHP-540 is the performance. Similar to the new Powerline AV 500 adapters we've seen, it offered stellar power-line transfer speed--much faster than that of regular Ethernet connections. On top of that, it also works quite well as a regular Gigabit router for those who don't want to fiddle with power-line networking.

At a price of around $95, the DHP-540 is actually cheaper than many other regular four-port Gigabit switches. To find out if there are any catches, check out CNET's full review of the D-Link PowerLine AV 500 4-Port Gigabit Switch.

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