D-Link AV500 2-Port Mini Adapter Starter Kit full review

D-Link Powerline Extender

The D-Link AV500 2-Port Mini Adapter Starter Kit is a set of two 500Mbps Powerline adapters that go further than most in boasting two Ethernet ports per adapter, as its name proudly proclaims. Sadly the speeds we achieved in our real-world tests were below average compared to other so-called 500Mbps Powerline adapters.

Powerline is a technology that uses your house's power cables to create a home network. Set up is so simple as all you have to do is attach one adapter to your Internet router using the supplied Ethernet cable and plug it into a nearby power socket. You then take the second adapter and plug this into a power socket in another room. You can connect this second adapter via Ethernet to your smart TV, games consoles, Sky+, Tivo, Apple TV and other set-top boxes that today demand fast Internet access.

The adapter uses 128-bit AES data encryption to protect the network from unauthorised access.

Powerline testing procedure

We tested the D-Link AV500 in a Victorian house with fairly old wiring and the usual array of electronic devices (TV, Sky+, Hi-Fi, lamps, microwave, computers, etc) plugged into the power lines. The Internet router was situated in the office on the second floor, and we used Powerline to test data speed on the ground floor.

If your house was built more recently you may well achieve faster speeds than we did, but we use this house to get consistent speeds for a proper Powerline comparison.

First we must emphasise that despite all the Powerline manufacturers claiming 500Mbps speeds these are theoretical maximums, and you will never see such speeds via Powerline. Indeed the 10/100 ethernet port limits the maximum speed to 100Mbps. You'll be lucky to get 100Mbps from a 500Mbps Powerline, but don't fret as this is well fast enough for most needs, such as watching catch-up TV or downloading fairly large files. And rest assured it's much, much faster than standard home Wi-Fi.

We got speeds up to 73Mbps but the house average was 58Mbps using Powerline and ethernet. This was one of the slower average speeds we got in our comparison of Powerline over ethernet, but should be sufficient for most users, and we downloaded HD TV with only a few pauses.

Adding Wi-Fi

D-Link also sells a £46 PowerLine AV 500 Wireless Mini Extender that you can use as the second or third adapter. It works just like the other two adapters but also creates a new Wi-Fi hotspot in that room, which boosts Wi-Fi speed by around three times the strength of what you'd get using the Wi-Fi away from the router.

Sadly, like the Starter Kit Wi-Fi speeds were disappointing. It claims to require a Wireless N router but doesn't have the faster Gigabit Ethernet ports that this requirement suggests, instead featuring slower 10/100 Ethernet ports.

PowerLine AV 500 Wireless N Extender

Check out all our Powerline adapter reviews and also our group test of the best Powerline adapters we've tested. You can get more information on Powerline including explanations of Powerline speed myths and lots of tips and trick in our feature What Is Powerline.


D-Link AV500 2-Port Mini Adapter Starter Kit: Specs

  • Two 10/100 Ethernet ports per 500Mbps Powerline adapter.