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.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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