In this case, you’ll need no expert or even an “advanced friend” for installation and connection - our user-friendly devices will entirely spare you the pain of drilling walls, setting up canals and cabling, even any form of wireless setup.
The bundle includes everything you may need - two well-designed adapters, manufactured from high-quality white plastic, two Ethernet cables, an installation CD and a short printed manual. The front of the adapter contains three indicator LEDs, and you’re likely to be looking at the middle one the most, since it indicates the current network speed with its colour (green for transfer speeds over 80 mbps, orange for 50-80 mbps and red for under 50 mbps). On the side of the adapter is a 10/100 Ethernet plug, a security button for securing the operation of your network (128-bit AES encryption), as well as a reset button. All that needs to be done is plug the devices where available, connect them to the computers via the delivered cables, and voila! You have your very own basic network in the blink of an eye. Of course, in order for the network to function properly, small changes related to the homegroup and file sharing will be necessary, and it’s also desirable to install the program from the accompanying CD, Powerline AV Utility, used to set up and monitor your adapters’ functioning more easily.
The other side of this kit’s medal hasn’t exactly proven to be very colourful. The network is absolutely easy to set up, but the network traffic hasn’t performed as well as we expected at all. Smaller packets pass without major problems or losses, but trying to transfer larger quantities of data or large files doesn’t always end up very successfully. Further on, data transfer will largely depend on the interference of the other devices connected to the electrical network (don’t by any means connect the adapters to multi-outlet extension cords), especially if you’re living or working in a larger object. So, pay attention to the fact that you’re highly unlikely to ever achieve the declared speed of 200 mbps - in fact, you’re likely to have much less on an everyday basis.
Devolo dLAN 200 AVplus isn’t all that different from the previously described competitor in appearance, and definitely not in the implementation procedure. It’s intended to be used with Windows (7 included), but Mac and Linux platforms as well. The solid-design adapters are made of matted white plastic, with grid lines on the side improving these devices’ passive cooling capabilities. Besides indicator LEDs, the front also contains the standard power plug, while the bottom contains an Ethernet plug and a reset button. Two LAN cables arrive in the bundle, a printed and multimedia manual are included as well, and so is the appropriate software. Using the dLAN configuration wizard, you’ll be able to easily protect your network from intruders using a network password (AES encryption is applied), and then there’s Devolo Informer, which will enable you to monitor the performance of your devices on your PC.
Unlike the previous one, this kit fared much better in real-life conditions. If the adapters are connected to the same power branch, even if combined with an active extension cord, a reliable and for these conditions very good transfer speed of 25-30 mbps could be established. We were particularly pleased by its ability to function flawlessly in a flat of a large skyscraper (therefore using a large electricity network with loads of crossroads, intertwined lines and interference), where a lossless data transfer at speeds of around 15 mbps could be established. An additional plus is that it managed to do this without us assigning a precisely set TCP/IP range.
As we already stated while reviewing a similar device kit a while ago, the basic advantages of this solution are simplicity, elegance and accessibility in terms of price. If you still haven’t developed into a demanding user, needing utter reliability and speed... The most realistic judgement of this solution could be as follows - as much as this sort of network solution seems attractive and neat, this is hardly a desirable one for business applications. The target group and range of this solution are smaller private units (with the lowest number of power grid crossroads possible), at least with what the market currently has to offer, but with the price of the reviewed devices in mind, it’s likely that users will opt for a cheaper wireless solution after all. Still, commendations go to the idea itself and its designers’ inventiveness, because if this solution is improved only a little in the future...
|Powerline AV Network Starter Kits|
|Model||D-link DHP-307AV||Devolo dLAN 200 AVplus|
|Encryption||128-bit AES||128-bit AES|
|Speed||up to 200 Mbps||up to 200 Mbps|
|Connection||10/100 Ethernet||10/100 Ethernet|
|Price||116 €||136 €|