Tenda PH5 AV1000 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender full review

The Tenda PH5 AV1000 Wi-Fi Extender Kit is a set of two Powerline adapters that create not just a fast wired home network but add a new Wi-Fi hotspot where you need it most.

Powerline technology uses the electricity cables in your home as if they were Ethernet cables, transferring data to your devices much faster than Wi-Fi.

You can connect up to two devices to this network by Ethernet cables (one is supplied with the kit), plus create a fast wireless hotspot in the same room as the second adapter.

As with most Powerline kits, setup is easy. For more details find out in our special feature What is Powerline?

Tenda PH5 features

There are two Powerline adapters: the Tenda P3 base Powerline adapter, and the Tenda PA6 Wi-Fi adapter.

Simply plug the P3 into a power socket near your router, and connect it to the router with the supplied Ethernet cable. This base adapter has one Gigabit Ethernet port.

Then go to the room with your smart TV, games console, Sky box, Tivo or whatever, and plug the PA6 (the one with the Wi-Fi antennae) into a nearby socket.

You can then connect this to the devices via Ethernet for a fast, wired connection. There are two Gigabit Ethernet ports on the second adapter. To use both, you’ll need a cable for each – check out our roundup of the best Ethernet cables.

In this second room you’ll get a new Wi-Fi hotspot. It supports WiFi Clone, where – rather than offer a new wireless network – it joins your existing wireless network.

This means you can use the same Wi-Fi name and password for Internet access, and save having to switch between networks and remember different passwords.

For this to be possible, your router needs to have a WPS button. If it doesn’t, the second Wi-Fi network just has a different name, and the password is printed on the back of the adapter.

Some Powerline adapters feature a pass-through power socket, which means that you can still plug in another device to the wall outlet. If you don’t have a lot of wall sockets, this can make a big difference.

The PH5 does not have pass-through sockets on either adapter, so if you’d prefer to keep a socket available you should consider an alternative – see our Best Powerline Adapters roundup for all the available adapters' features and test scores.

Tenda also sells the PH3 Powerline Adapter, which, as you might expect, lacks some of the PH5's features.

The PH3's technology is largely the same, but you get two P3 adapters - each with one Gigabit Ethernet port and no Wi-Fi option. For the extra £20 or $20 we'd recommend the PH5 with its PA6's extra Ethernet port and wireless hotspot, but for simple needs the PH3 is a cheaper option.

Powerline home scenario

Tenda PH5 AV1000 Wi-Fi Powerline: speed test

While it claims 1,000Mbps speed in its name, the Tenda PH5 kit is never going to hit that theoretical maximum – just as no other Powerline kit will reach its claimed speed.

In general, you can expect a 1,000Mbps Powerline such as the PH5 to outperform a 500Mbps adapter (although it won’t be twice as fast as the numbers suggest), but slower than a 1,200Mbps or 2,400Mbps Powerline.

What’s important is how it performs in a real-world situation.

We test all the adapters in the same mid-sized Victorian end-of-terrace house, so we can compare like for like.

The Tenda PH5 performed well in the three tests.

First, we hook up the adapters next to each other to see just how fast they could perform. It’s not how you’ll use them, but it helps us judge speed outside of other environmental factors.

The PH5 reached 256Mbps, which is a decent speed but nothing to shout about.

Second, we test with the second adapter in a room two storeys below. Here, the PH5 matched our standard test unit, the Devolo 1200+ at 99Mbps.

That might not sound much, but it’s faster than we could get from our home Wi-Fi (37Mbps) and should be fast enough to greatly decrease streaming download times.

Finally, we test the new Wi-Fi network. The PH5’s Wi-Fi (53Mbps) was faster than our normal Wi-Fi, and the same as the Asus 500 Wi-Fi Powerline we tested recently.

As all houses are built differently and have various impediments to network speeds, you will most likely get a different speed in your home – quite possibly faster than what we achieved in our tests. But as we test all the adapters in the same house, we can be pretty sure how they compare against each other.

If you want the fastest wired and Wi-Fi speeds, you’ll need to pay a lot more for our highest-rated Powerline adapter kit, the Devolo Magic 2 that also boasts Mesh Wi-Fi for more sophisticated wireless flow around the house.

Its budget rival, the TrendNet Powerline 500 AV2, also omits the pass-through sockets and maxes out at 71Mbps rather than the PH5’s 99Mbps.

The Asus PL-AV56 is closer in performance and does have a pass-through on its base router unit plus three Ethernet ports, but is more expensive than the PH5.

Powerline Wi-Fi is a smart solution, and there are other ways to speed up your home network.

Verdict

The Tenda PH5 AV1000 Wi-Fi is an able performer and well-priced for its two Ethernet ports and Wi-Fi function – although we’d have appreciated pass-through power sockets on each adapter.

You can get faster. You can get cheaper. But this is a recommended Powerline adapter kit for its feature set and decent performance.

Specs

Tenda PH5 AV1000 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender: Specs

  • 1,000Mbps Powerline adapters plus 300Mbps Wi-Fi