Similar to the case of the D-Link DHP-501AV, the DHP-540 also comes with a Windows-based application, called D-Link HDP-540 Configuration Utility, which helps both with the setup process and managing the power-line connection.
Apart from the four Gigabit ports on the back, the DH-540 also comes with an on/off switch. Unfortunately, it doesn't provide the option to turn off its power-line function in case you just want to use it as a regular switch and make sure anybody living your building can't tap into your network by using another power-line adapter. The device does comes with a quick security button on top that helps create a secure power-line network when used with other D-Link power-line adapters, such as the DHP-500AV. When used with adapters of other vendors, however, it's recommended you use its software to change and apply the password manually.
The DHP-540 worked well in our tests and is compatible with other non-D-Link Powerline AV 500 adapters. When used as a regular switch, it offered Gigabit throughput speeds, like any other Gigabit switche. What really impressed us, however, was its power-line throughput speeds. Similar to D-Link's DHP-501AV and Netgear's XAV5501 adapters, which are the two we used for testing, the DHP-540 offers a sustained real-word transfer speed of 147.68Mbps. This is about 50 percent faster than the top speed of regular 10/100 Ethernet connections and much faster than most other power-line adapters we've tested. The TrendNet TPL-401E2K, for example, which is another Powerline AV 500-based adapter, scored 79.2Mbps.
Note that similar to wireless networking, power-line networking's performance varies based on the environment. This means depending on the condition of your home's electrical wiring, you might get different results than our numbers. Considering what we experienced, however, we believe that the D-Link PowerLine AV 500 4-Port Gigabit Switch DHP-540 will be satisfactory for most of your power-line needs, and it makes a compact and good-looking Gigabit switch.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|(Measured in megabits per second)|
Service and support
Similar to the case of the DHP-501AV, D-Link backs the PowerLine AV 500 4-Port Gigabit Switch DHP-540 with a one-year warranty, which is rather short, though 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.
We loved the D-Link PowerLine AV 500 4-Port Gigabit Switch DHP-540 for its great performance and nice design. It'll make an excellent buy for savvy users who want a viable Wi-Fi alternative for their home and office network. Privacy-conscious consumers need to make sure to turn on the security for its power-line function, even when it's used as a regular switch, however.