TP-LINK 300Mbps AV500 WiFi Powerline Extender full review
The TP-Link 300Mbps AV500 WiFi Powerline Extender is a net starter kit of Powerline adapters that both give you near-Ethernet speeds in rooms away from your Internet router and create a second Wi-Fi hotspot in your home. It was one of the fastest that we tested – see speed tests below.
TP-Link claims 300Mbps speeds for that second Wi-Fi signal and 500Mbps for its extension of your ethernet on the network. Like all other Powerline manufacturers it is claiming theoretical maximum speeds here, and you can safely ignore them and rely instead on our real-world tests.
The two adapters in this starter kit are quite different. The smaller base unit adapter is one of the smallest we've seen. This is the one you plug into a power socket near your router and connect to the router with one of the two supplied Ethernet cables.
The second adapter is a little larger but by no means the chunkiest Powerline adapter we've seen. This one goes in the second room where you want to connect devices such as smart TVs, games consoles, Sky+, Tivo, Apple TV and other set-top boxes. These can be connected using the other Ethernet cable or via the new Wi-Fi hoyspot it creates in the room – handy for laptop, smartphone and tablet users.
The second Ethernet port on the Wi-Fi adapter is welcome as many homes now have more than one device that requires fast internet access. The Ethernet ports and cables are rated 10/100, so like most Powerline adapters this product was never going to beat 100Mbps in the first place. TP-Link isn't alone in over-claiming network speeds, and much depends on your home set up anyway.
There are two versions of this Powerline set. Both the £69.99 TL-WAP4220KIT (pictured at the top of this review) and £79.99 TL-WPA4226KIT (above) contain a TL-WPA4220 – the 500Mbps Powerline adapter with Wi-Fi Hotspot, and two Ethernet ports. Both are available cheaper online; see the end of this review for best prices.
The second adapter with the cheaper TL-WAP4220KIT is the TL-PA4010 base unit, with one Ethernet port.
The base adapter with the TL-WPA4226KIT is the TL-PA4020P, which has two Ethernet ports and a pass-through socket so you don’t lose a valuable power socket when plugging this in near your router. Passthrough sockets can also block some electrical noise on the circuit so may improve speed a little.
Powerline testing procedure
We tested the TP-Link 300MbpsAV500 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 again 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 92Mbps but the house average was 68Mbps using Powerline and ethernet. This was one of the faster average speeds we got in our comparison of Powerline over ethernet, and is sufficient for most users, and we downloaded HD TV with few pauses.
When we tested the second Wi-Fi hotspot we got speeds of 57Mbps, which again were above average.
Although it has an RRP of £90, we have seen it on sale online for under £70.
You can save money by going for the version without the passthrough socket, but if you're short of sockets near your router (I certainly am!) then go for the WPA4226KIT.
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.
TP-LINK 300Mbps AV500 WiFi Powerline Extender: Specs
- 500Mbps Powerline adapters. Base unit has two 10/100 Ethernet ports, secondary adapter has one. Claimed 300Mbps Wi-Fi speed. TL-WPA4220KIT