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This review is from: D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router (DIR-860L)
Pros: The router configuration interface has lots of options. It is responsive and loads quickly.
The beamforming allows for improved range on 5 GHz. There are still "hot spots" within a room, but there are no more "dead zones." Locations where I used to get no signal would now get 1 bar.
The router is also sturdy. It has enough weight to avoid being dragged around too easily by Ethernet cables.
Cons: The router just isn't stable!
About once a week, it locks up on the 2.4 GHz band. The router keeps broadcasting SSID on 2.4 GHz, but it won't allow any 2.4 GHz clients to connect. Meanwhile, 5 GHz clients remain connected.
This happens on multiple clients, with different radio chipsets, running different OSes, even after the client is restarted. The only way to restore 2.4 GHz connectivity is to restart the router.
This kind of instability is unacceptable. With so many network-connected devices these days, it is a serious inconvenience to restart the router and interrupt everyone's connectivity.
Other Thoughts: 2.4 GHz is a crowded band with a lot of interference from other devices. This may explain why the router locks up on 2.4 GHz, but has no trouble with 5 GHz.
However, my other router would stay up for months without ever having a problem on 2.4 GHz. That means that the D-Link DIR-860L just hasn't been adequately tested in real-world RF conditions.
Pros: Has a VA panel for the LCD. So it has good blacks and good viewing angles.
Draws only 35 watts at max backlight. This is pretty good luminous efficiency for a 300-nit screen. Runs nice and cool as a result.
Slim bezel, slim front-to-back depth. Lightweight -- so light that the monitor has standard VESA screw holes.
Cons: Docking one star for minor design flaws.
The bezel is glossy. I had to cover it with black tape to dull it down. Why did Acer use a glossy bezel with a matte screen? The whole point of a matte screen is that it reduces reflections!
Turning down the brightness will automatically turn down the backlight. The PWM waveform emits a slight buzz, which is audible if you have good high-frequency hearing. Monitor is essentially silent at full backlight, but you cannot control backlight independently, as some other monitors allow you to do. Workaround is to leave brightness at 100%, then go into color temperature, and turn down the individual RGB colors.
This review is from: TRENDnet TPL-406E2K Powerline 500 AV Nano Adapter Kit, up to 500 Mbps
Pros: It's small and compact, compared to older HomePlug units.
Cons: These units are inferior to the Trendnet TPL-306E2K units that I already have. (It's the same brand, so I'm allowed to mention it in a review.)
First, the TPL-406E2K underperforms the older TPL-306E2K, even though it should theoretically be faster -- AV 500 vs. AV (200). With the older AV units, I was getting 60 Mbps of sustained file transfer between two circuits on different phases. This dropped to 40 Mbps when I switched to the new AV 500 units.
Second, these units lose their link a couple of times per day. This is *very* annoying, and it takes about 30 seconds to reestablish. The older AV units would *never* drop out, no matter what happened on the electrical wiring. Microwave, vacuum machine, refrigerator, fluorescent lights, you name it. The speed would go down as the frequency was temporarily notched out, but there were *never* any drop-outs.
The capacitors on the 406 units make a buzzing sound when plugged in on certain circuits. If you have a very quiet computer, and you have good high-frequency hearing, this is rather annoying. The 306 older units were completely silent -- no matter which circuit I placed them on.
The status LEDs are dim -- much dimmer than on the older units. This is not so bad at night -- in fact, you might even prefer it. However, it also makes them impossible to see during the daytime, so that you can't glance at link status.
Other Thoughts: HomePlug AV 500 is a non-standard extension of HomePlug AV, which increases the maximum possible link speed by using higher frequencies. According to the HomePlug standard, any noisy frequency bands should simply get notched out -- so theoretically speaking, AV 500 should perform *no worse* than AV.
However, as my experience has shown, implementation details make all the difference. Is it the firmware? Is it the chips? Is it the digital notch filter? Is it noise from the capacitors? Was a design compromise required to fit the electronics into a smaller package?
Unless you have perfect home wiring, I would recommend buying the Trendnet TPL-306E2K instead. The TPL-306E2K has a *lot* of five-star reviews on Newegg, which suggests that it is resilient to a great variety of line conditions -- not just for me, but for lots of other Newegg customers.