D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 (DHP-701AV) review: Slightly faster than its competitors, but significantly more expensive

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MSRP: $129.99

The Good The D-Link DHP-701AV kit delivers top power-line performance and can be set up and ready to go in less than a minute. The adapter has an indicator light that helps determine the fastest wall socket to plug into.

The Bad This kit is a lot more expensive than other power-line kits that have similar performance, and the included adapters are bulky without featuring a pass-through socket. The kit doesn't perform anywhere near the advertised 2,000 Mbps speed.

The Bottom Line Though fast, the D-Link DHP-701AV power-line adapter kit is only slightly faster than less-expensive alternatives. Skip it for now and go with something cheaper.

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6.7 Overall
  • Setup 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 8
  • Support 7

The D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Extender Kit (model DHP-701AV) is a bit of a disappointment. Supporting the latest PowerLine AV2 2000 standard, the kit promises to deliver up to 2,000Mbps, but in our testing, its real-world speed maxes out at just about 400Mbps.

To be fair, at that speed, the DHP-701AV is currently the fastest power-line kit on the market, edging out the Netgear PL1200-100PAS by about 10Mbps. But at some $160, the D-link is about double the Netgear's price, too. Furthermore, the two included adapters are bulky, making it difficult to find a suitable wall socket to plug into.

With that in mind, I wouldn't recommend getting the DHP-701AV kit until its price comes down. While it's still a fast and convenient way to extend your wired network without running network cables, it's not a better deal than the Netgear PL1200-100PAS, which is only a tad slower but easier to use with any wall socket. Or you can check out this list of top power-line adapters for one that fits your budget and needs more closely.

The DHP-701AV kit includes two identical adapters. Josh Miller/CNET

Design and setup

I was very excited to get my hands on D-Link's PowerLine DHP-701AV power-line adapter kit but was immediately taken aback upon opening the box. As it turned out, the two included adapters (model DHP-700AV) are much larger than the photo printed on the box suggests. Measuring 3.89 x 2.86 x 1.34 inches, the DHP-700AV is about 50 percent larger than the Netgear PL1200S and is the largest power-line adapter I've seen that doesn't feature a pass-though socket.

The size is important, because the adapter uses a popular snap-in design, resembling a three-prong power adapter for an electronic device. Thus, the larger it is, the more likely it will block adjacent wall sockets when in use, and the harder it will be to find a good spot to plug it in. Since power-line adapters need to be plugged directly into the wall to work well, be prepared to sacrifice one or two power outlets nearby should you choose to use this DHP-700AV adapter.

But that's the only problem you might have when setting up the DHP-701AV kit. Like all power-line adapters, it is easy to set up. First, you hook up one of the adapters to your existing router using a network cable (a short cable included with each adapter). Then connect a second adapter to a device that has a network port, such as a desktop computer, a printer, a game console or even a Wi-Fi access point. Then plug each adapter into a power socket and you're done. The adapters turn the electrical wiring in between them into a network cable.

If the above doesn't seem simple enough, there's a Quick Install Guide included with a clear, step-by-step instruction.

The DHP-700AV is very large and can easily block adjacent outlets. Josh Miller/CNET

Note that you need only two power-line adapters to create the first connection. After that, you'll just need another adapter for each additional device that you want to add to the power-line network. So generally, the rule of power-line networking is you buy the number of adapters equal to the number of wired clients you want to connect, plus one. Like most recent power-line adapters, the D-Link kit lets you add up to 16 wired devices to an existing network. It's also compatible with other existing power-line adapters, but for top speed it's recommended that you use adapters of the same speed standard.

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