Linksys Powerline HomePlug AV2 Kit full review
The Linksys Powerline HomePlug AV2 Kit is a neat set of two Powerline adapters that will quickly and super-simply turn your home into a network of fast, connected digital devices.
Powerline is a technology that lets you transfer data through your home's power lines, helping to speed up services such as catch-up TV (iPlayer, ITVPlayer, 4oD, etc), smart TVs, Sky+, Tivo, Apple TV, etc.
While many of us rely on Wi-Fi from a far-off internet router Powerline users can speed up streaming, downloading and transferring with the ease of plugging a couple of adapters into power sockets. Set up really is that easy.
One base unit plugs in near the router and is attached to the router with an ethernet cable. A second (or third or fourth) adaptor plugs into a power socket in another room, no matter how far away from the router. You can then hardwire a connection using ethernet cable from that second adaptor to the device that needs an ethernet connection for the festest speeds.
The Linksys Powerline HomePlug AV2 Kit is a basic Powerline kit rated at 500Mbps. As we explain later, this 500Mbps is a theoretical maximum speed and you won't get anything like that in your home whatever the set up. There are plenty of envronmental factors, such as the age of your wiring and other gadgets – such as power chargers – causing electrical noise on your power lines – "noise" that affects Powerline's speeds.
You get two Powerline adapters and two ethernet cables included in the box. Unlike some Powerline manufacturers Linksys has equipped these adapters will full Gigabit ethernet, and not the slower 10/100 ethernet that will throttle potential speeds. So, while most Powerline adapters can't get past the limitations of 10/100 ethernet the Linksys Powerline HomePlug AV2 has a much higher theoretical maximum speed because it features faster ethernet ports.
The adapters themselves are small, white and unobtrusive, which will be welcomed by many house-proud people who want the latest tech but not too upfront in their lovely homes.
Each adapter has only one ethernet port, which could be limiting if you have a smart TV and a set-top box, or occasionally want to connect yoru laptop via ethernet while watching iPlayer. Some Powerline products boast two or three ethernet ports, such as the £99 BT Home Hotspot 500 and £129 Devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless+ powerline kits – which also have Wi-Fi functionality and pass-through sockets to keep your power options more open.
If the Linksys Powerline HomePlug AV2 was a lot cheaper we could ignore these missing features but we think £89 is expensive for such a neat but basic product, which is a shame as it was one of the faster Powerline products we tested.
Powerline testing procedure
We tested the Linksys Powerline HomePlug AV2 Kit 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. 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 96Mbps but the house average was 60Mbps using Powerline and ethernet. This was the one of the fastest average speeds we got in our comparison of Powerline products, and is sufficinet for most users, and we downloaded HD TV with few pauses.
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.
Linksys Powerline HomePlug AV2 Kit: Specs
- 500Mbps Powerline, 1 x Gigabit ethernet port, HomePlug, Linksys PLEK500