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TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT High-speed AV 500Mbps Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggs Value-oriented powerline kit 11/15/2013

This review is from: TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT High-speed AV 500Mbps Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit

Pros: The first thing I noticed when pulling these TP-LINK powerline adapters out of the box was their small footprint. Much smaller than previous powerline kits that I’ve worked with and slightly less of a nuisance hanging off of a power outlet; definitely more appropriate for the ‘Nano’ description. After unboxing, I plugged these units right in (if you need instructions you are over-thinking it!) and they immediately paired with each other automatically.

If you do ever need to add an adapter, or if they become unpaired, the ‘Pair’ button is simple to press without being easy to accidentally bump. The “green” feature of this kit is that it goes to sleep after 5 minutes of no network activity. In testing this did not cause me any problems and it should only sleep when the connected device is turned off or absent. After connecting the powerline to my wired network, I did some quick speed tests with these units:

**BASELINE TEST** (not using powerline kit):
Speedtest.net = 28.56Mbps download, 5.67Mbps upload, 10ms latency
iperf (LAN-to-LAN test) = 90.1Mbps

**POWERLINE TEST** (using TP-LINK powerline kit):
Speedtest.net = 28.73Mbps download, 5.71Mbps upload, 11ms latency
iperf (LAN-to-LAN test) = 54.57Mbps

As you can see, local network performance takes a pretty big hit using the powerline kit. However, internet speeds did not drop because the kit was still fast enough to out-perform the internet bandwidth. This will be the case for most people and makes this kit a good choice for casual internet users. Please also note that in this test each powerline adapter was on the same electrical circuit.

Cons: One of the first things that I noticed with this kit was that the adapters used a 100Mbps port, but advertised 200Mbps speeds on the box? They even advertised speeds up to 500Mbps on Newegg’s product description. I’m guessing that the 200Mbps claim is assuming total speed in full-duplex (100Mbps speed simultaneously in both directions), but the 500Mbps claim is physically impossible with this kit. A small gripe I had was that the adapters only have green LED’s and therefore do not have any indication of signal quality as similar products by other manufacturers do.

Finally, I ran a second set of speed tests with the powerline adapters on different electrical circuits – one upstairs and one downstairs. With this configuration, we see speeds drop pretty drastically:

**POWERLINE TEST** (using TP-LINK powerline kit):
Speedtest.net = 28.72Mbps download, 5.73Mbps upload, 10ms latency
iperf (LAN-to-LAN test) = 28.8Mbps

Here we see that speeds are reduced to about one-third of what they were when we had our baseline setup plugged directly into the network and not using the powerline kit. This should be a red flag for power users who may do a lot of file transfers over the local network or lots of video streaming (Netflix/YouTube); however, this may still be acceptable for casual internet users because it does still provide the bandwidth to keep pace with my internet service provider.

Other Thoughts: TP-LINK has built a capable product for the lower-end consumer market. While I would caution against purchasing this kit with the intent of ‘HD Video Streaming,’ as the box claims it is ideal for, casual internet users may find value in this kit for extending a network connection where a wireless signal is weak or unavailable. TP-LINK covers this unit with a 2-year warranty and 24/7 support.

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BUFFALO LinkStation 410 2 TB High Performance NAS Personal Cloud Storage and Media Server - LS410D0201
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: This device isn't anything fancy to look at but is no means an eye-sore. I was happy to see a cooling fan on the drive casing to keep the drive cool.

After getting this unit connected to my network, I went to logon to the web GUI. It first prompted my to set a new administrative password (like when companies do this - prevents the use of factory-default passwords). The web GUI is easy to navigate and understand. This unit is packed full of features that most users probably would not use, but they're great to have available.

The web GUI reports that this NAS contains a 2TB Seagate 7200RPM drive. This interested me because the Newegg product title states RAID - even the box of the product states "Single Drive" (no RAID). RAID would be nice but this was not a big deal to me - hopefully this did not throw any other buyers off.

One of the first things I did was to connect the NAS to my home Active Directory domain. This device makes the AD connection very simple, without entering Base DN's or anything like that. For most users who will not be using Active Directory, the user/group system is easy to navigate and build local users and groups and assign these to access specific folders.

Setting up samba shares was an easy task in the web interface. I don't torrent so that wasn't a useful feature to me, nor was FTP as I try to stay away from that wherever possible. The 'backup' feature of this NAS seems useful, although it turned out to be not so useful for me (see Cons section). Buffalo gives us the option to backup to USB, set as a backup destination for Mac OSX's Time Machine, or backup to another Buffalo NAS. The "cloud" internet file sharing service allows HTTPS protection - kudos for that, Buffalo.

Cons: After first unboxing the unit, I plugged it in per the included instructions and installed the NAS Navigator software on my machine. Unfortunately, the NAS Navigator would not locate the unit on my network. I had to go into my DHCP server and find the address lease that was given to the unit and then connect to that IP via a web browser – I wouldn’t expect most people to have the capability to do this. I noticed that this wasn't an issue with the other reviewers, so hopefully this was just related to my environment.

One of the big pluses for me with this unit was the backup feature, particularly since this is a single-drive unit. So, I connected a 1TB Seagate FreeAgent external drive to the USB port of this Buffalo NAS to setup for backups. I was a little worried when I went into the GUI and saw that the external drive wasn't recognized. I went ahead and rebooted the unit - I was pleasantly surprised when the drive showed up after the reboot. However, the NAS would not let me format the drive no matter what I tried. Each time it would say that the format was successful, but the drive continued to be listed as unformatted and was not an option for backup destinations. No combination of formatting settings or reboots seemed to fix this.

There also seems to be limited information in the Buffalo forums or on search engines for troubleshooting with this device. That makes it difficult when you run into problems (albeit few problems) like mine.

Other Thoughts: You have to type a simple ‘captcha’ code before certain actions can be done on the device, such as initiating a reboot or deleting a shared folder. This helps idiot-proof the interface.

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NETGEAR Powerline 500 Mbps Nano Kit (XAVB5101)
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Better than expected 07/05/2013

This review is from: NETGEAR Powerline 500 Mbps Nano Kit (XAVB5101)

Pros: I went into testing this product with no previous experience with powerline network products. I thought to myself, “How would this be an acceptable alternative to something like wireless? Can I really trust something that runs on AC power lines to be reliable enough for home networking?” Well, I was pleasantly surprised how well this powerline product worked. From the box, it was literally plug-and-play. I didn’t need to look at the instructions, although I did and they were clear and understandable.
Each unit has three lights on the front: power, status/quality, and Ethernet. On each unit there is also a security button used to add additional units to the powerline network. I found another one of these Powerline 500 units (a slightly different generation of the same model) and added it onto this kit’s network with no problem whatsoever.
This powerline kit should be used as a good substitute to get network connections where wireless is not available or cannot reach. For me, I use it primarily for a more reliable network connection: wireless routers have a tendency to lockup from time to time, and their signal strength also varies and changes with the conditions around it.
Overall, this is a great networking kit for consumer use and for those who want an easy-to-use solution that won't break the bank.

Cons: Don’t expect this system to reach advertised speeds. For one, advertised speeds in the consumer market are essentially just an advertising ploy because consumer networking products don’t run at wire speed to begin with. Second, this product is going to be subject to the line quality and load on the AC power circuit that it is plugged into. The same marketing ploys apply to wireless networking too, so don't assume that a wifi connection advertising speeds of 600+ mbps are going to be faster than this.
In my house the status LED is usually yellow and sometimes red, but Netgear doesn’t give us much indication as to exactly what that means we can expect for network speeds. In my house, I only get about 24mbps throughput between the powerline network and the wired LAN – this is slightly higher than speeds measure when connected to my wireless router, so that is good enough for me.
One con that I have to list for this product (and this is not specific to this product – it applies to any powerline unit) is that you can’t or aren’t supposed to plug these in behind surge protectors. I’m listing this as a con because computers should always be behind a surge protector or UPS, so that automatically means that you’ll need a second available wall outlet just for this kit.

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Kyle D.'s Profile

Display Name: Kyle D.

Date Joined: 12/18/04

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  • Reviews: 126
  • Helpfulness: 48
  • First Review: 01/08/05
  • Last Review: 11/15/13
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