In our trials the DHP-501AV kit worked with other Powerline AV 500 adapters, such as the Netgear XAV5501AV. Note, however, that when adapters from multiple vendors are used, the security button might not work unless they support the same security standard. This means you might not be able to create a secure power-line network, and it's a good idea to have one if you live in an apartment building. Most adapters come with software so you can change the security settings manually, however. The DHP-501AV comes with a Windows-based desktop configuration application called D-Link Powerline AV Utility that can be used to manage the secure connections and to view the connection and perform other tasks such as naming the adapter, changing its password, and updating firmware.
The DHP-501AV kit's adapters support D-Link's Green Technology and automatically power down after 5 minutes if no data signal detected, such as when the client is unplugged or turned off. Once the client was turned back on, in our trials, it took about 30 seconds for the adapter to be ready again.
The D-Link PowerLine AV 500 Adapter Starter Kit excelled in our testing, averaging 141Mbps, about 50 percent faster than a typical Ethernet connection. Note that this is sustained real-world throughput speed, after all hardware and software overheads. While it's not the fastest, about 20Mbps slower than the Netgear XAV5501, it's still by far one of the fastest power-line adapters we've seen. The TrendNet TPL-401E2K, for example, which is another Powerline AV 500-based adapter, scored just 79.2Mbps.
Judging from the Netgear XAV5501 and now the D-Link DHP-500AV, we believe that power-line networking is no longer to be taken lightly in terms of speed. It now makes more sense to use it instead of traditional Ethernet connections, which require running network cables all over the place. Compared with Gigabit Ethernet, however, the Powerline AV 500 standard is still significantly far behind. But for most home and even small-office networking needs, these power-line connection speeds are more than fast enough.
Be aware that, similarly to wireless networking, power-line networking performance varies based on the environment. This means depending on the condition of your home's electrical wiring you could get different results from our numbers. Based on our experience with it, though, we believe that the D-Link DHP-501AV kit would perform well in most situations.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
D-Link backs the Powerline AV 500 Adapter Starter Kit DHP-501AV with a one-year warranty, which is rather short, but standard. At the company's Web site you will find a wealth of support information, including downloads, FAQs, and a searchable knowledge base. You can also seek help through the company's toll-free technical support phone line, which is available 24-7.
The four-star D-Link Powerline AV 500 Adapter Starter Kit DHP-501AV would be an Editors' Choice if it offered a pass-through socket. Nonetheless it's one of the best power-line adapter kits on the market for homes or small offices.