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Trendnet Powerline 500 AV2 Adapter (Kit) review: A fast, easy, and cheap way to extend your network

Similar to most power-line adapters I've reviewed, there's not not much to setting up the TPL-406E2K. First you hook up one of the adapters to the network via the router (or the switch), using a network cable (two short ones are included with the kit, by the way.) The second adapter is connected to an Ethernet-ready device, such as a printer at, say, the far end of the house. After that, you just plug both adapters into the power sockets. And that's it. Basically, a power-line connection is an alternative to running a long network cable between the router and the Ethernet-ready device. In most cases, getting a pair of power-line adapters is actually much cheaper than running network cable properly, which involves the cost of the cable, the two network wall ports, and the time spent stringing wire.

With networking, you generally can't expect the the real-world speed to be the same as the advertised (or ceiling) speed. In case of Wi-Fi, this gap is always very huge. Power-line is better, however, since we're still talking about physical wires here. That said, I was very pleased with the sustained real-world speed of the TPL-408E. I tested it with the kit of two, and they registered some 33MBps (or some 270Mbps) of sustained copy speed. That's about almost four times the sustained speed of a regular Ethernet connection, and about a third of a Gigabit connection.

The TPL-408E is also the second power-line device that supports the new 500 AV2 power-line standard and compared with the Linksys PLE500 (which registered 250Mbps) it was noticeably faster, and currently the fastest power-line adapter on the market. This might soon change, however, since there are more adapters of the same standard coming out soon.

Compared to Wi-Fi, the TPL-408E is faster than most, including many device that supports 802.11ac. On top of that, power-line networking generally doesn't have as much latency (or lag) as wireless networking.

CNET Labs' power-line adapter performance (measured in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

I also tested the TPL-408E2K in a stress test that lasted more than two days and found no problem at all. The adapters also remain cool even during heavy loads.

The Trendnet TPL-408E2K replaces the Linksys PLEK500 as the fastest power-line device on the market and further indicates that the AV2 standard is much faster than previous revisions of power-line networking. Though this means even faster adapters might surface soon, at the current speed, and especially with its friendly street pricing, the Trendnet TPL-408E adapter and the TPL-408E2K kit, are an excellent buy for those needing a secure way to extend their home network. By combining with a separate access point, you can also easily use this kit to extend your Wi-Fi to that basement that has never enjoyed coverage before.

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