TP-Link AV1000 Powerline full review
If your home Wi-Fi isn’t up to fast file transfers or TV streaming your favourite TV shows to your smart TV, or you need speedier gaming for your console in your bedroom then Powerline might be your saviour.
Powerline is a simple technology that uses the power cables in your home to act like networking cables – so taking much less time to shuttle data around your building.
It’s super easy to set up. You just plug one base adapter into the power socket near your modem/router, and then connect those two devices together with a supplied Ethernet cable.
Then you plug the second adapter (and third and fourth if you need them) into the socket near your TV, Sky box, Tivo, games console, laptop, desktop PC and so on. You can then connect these devices to the second adapter via another Ethernet cable.
That way you get data speeds close to what you get if you connected your TV or whatever directly into your router.
What’s in the box
To get started with Powerline you need a starter kit that usually includes two adapters and two Ethernet cables. That’s all you need to get started. If you need extra cables, check out the best ethernet cables.
Look out for Gigabit Ethernet ports for the fastest transfers. Most quality Powerline adapters go for this standard, but the very entry-level 500Mbs adapters often have the slower 10/100 Ethernet ports.
Another bonus feature is a pass-through socket on the front of the adapter so that you don’t lose a power socket when you plug it into your wall. This is also meant to help cut out data “noise” so is worth forking out extra for if you can.
Finally, look out for Powerline adapters that can create a new Wi-Fi hotspot in the second room – so you get not just the option of a wired connection for your TV/console/etc but better Wi-Fi for everyone and everything else nearby. These work much better than so-called Wi-Fi Extenders, which just push a weak signal around a home. With Powerline that second Wi-Fi hotspot is much stronger because the signal is sped from your router to the Powerline adapter rather than having to crawl through walls and long distances before it reaches your hungry phone, laptop or whatever.
If your Wi-Fi is patchy in certain places then you can create multiple Wi-Fi hotspots by adding one of these special Powerline adapters to those rooms.
TP-Link AV1000 Gigabit Powerline
TP-Link makes an almost bewildering array of Powerline adapters. I’ve given up trying to work out why it needs so many, but, fear not, as all of them are excellent.
You just have to choose one from the many models, which range from claimed speeds of 500Mbps to 2,000Mbps – but it’s the rather disingenuous counting method that all Powerline manufacturers use.
First remember that you’ll never get 500Mbps let alone 2,000Mbps as these are theoretical maximum speeds and have little to do with real-life performance.
In our experience if you get 200Mbps you’ll be lucky, but that will be plenty fast enough for most and certainly faster than what you already achieve via Wi-Fi in the home.
The latest range of TP-LINK Powerline starter kits we have tested is the AV1000 Gigabit Powerline. As the name suggests, this is rated at 1,000Mbps. While it’s in the TP-Link midrange, it is no slouch.
The AV1000 is available in four models. When purchasing stick to the precise model name, or click on the links here.
At entry-level is the TL-PA7010 KIT (£54.99/$49.98), which is a set of two adapters – each with one Gigabit port for connecting to the router and the end device you need it for. We've seen it as low as £35 on Amazon UK.
The TL-PA7010P KIT (£59.99/$55.99) is the same, but each of the adapters also boasts a pass-through socket. Again we found this cheaper on Amazon at under £50, at the time of writing.
The TL-PA7020P KIT (£65.99/$69.99; a little cheaper at Amazon UK or under $59 at Amazon US) is the same as that one, but with not just pass-through sockets but two Gigabit Ethernet ports – handy if you want to connect more than one device by Ethernet.
The TL-WPA7510 KIT (£84.99/$99.99 or under £70 at Amazon UK and $85 at Amazon.com) has just the one Gigabit port on each adapter, and has no pass-through socket, but does offer the new Wi-Fi hotspot, which boasts dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi to extend 2.4GHz (300Mbps) + 5GHz (433Mbps). What you get in the box is the base unit 7010 adapter to connect to your router and one 7510 that goes where you want the fast connection and extra Wi-Fi hotspot; see the disgram above.
The Wi-Fi Clone button copies your existing Wi-Fi network name and password from your router and Wi-Fi Move automatically applies any settings changes across the network so that your existing Wi-Fi settings are synchronized to the new extender automatically.
We’d love to see a 7520P KIT with two Ethernet ports, pass-through and Wi-Fi, but at present this option isn’t available. TP-Link's most bristling Powerline is the TL-WPA8630P KIt, which costs £124.99 (US$149.99) but includes three Gigabit Ethernet ports, pass-through socket, and wireless function. We have seen this on sale at Amazon for under £100, or on Amazon.com for US$149.
TP-Link AV1000 Gigabit Powerline: speed tests
We tested the TL-WPA7510 in a three-storey Victorian townhouse, with the modem/router on the top floor and the second adapter on the ground floor – nicely placed for the TV and SkyQ box.
And it passed our speed tests with top marks. Speeds will always depend on each particular building and its wiring, plus other environmental matters, so the results may well be faster or slower in your home, but we test every Powerline adapter in the same building so we can compare in a like-for-like situation.
First, we put the two adapters next to each other to test the fastest possible scenario – although not a very realistic one.
The AV1000 managed to reach speeds of 373Mbps – which is among the highest we’ve recorded in several years of testing.
When we moved the second adapter to a room two floors below the router we recorded speeds of 130Mbps. That might not sound much, but it’s certainly fast enough to stream your Netflix shows to your TV or computer.
Finally, we tested it using the new TP-Link Wi-Fi hotspot, and it came in at a very respectable 81Mbps – nor far below the 90Mbps we recorded with the TP-Link AV1200.
These results were as good or better than the supposedly faster AV1200 TP-Link Powerlines, so you can save some money and not suffer any real speed loss with the AV1000 range.
TP-Link AV1000 Powerline: Specs
- Maximum speed: 1,000Mps. Some models include multiple Ethernet ports, pass-through sockets and Wi-Fi options.