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TP-LINK TL-PA6010KIT 600 Mbps AV2 Gigabit Powerline Adapter Starter Kit
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs Great for new or existing powerline networks 06/05/2014

This review is from: TP-LINK TL-PA6010KIT 600 Mbps AV2 Gigabit Powerline Adapter Starter Kit

Pros: Faster than previous version and now has a gigabit Ethernet port.
Fully compatible with older TP-Link powerline adaptors including secure networking mode.
Smaller than previous AV500 models and do not block the other plug on the wall.

My home network consists of a wide variety of interconnected subnets, including a cable modem to the internet, multiple gigabit Ethernet switches, 802.11a/b/g/b/ac, and powerline Ethernet. I have been using TP-Link AV-500 (TL-PA411) devices to get network connectivity to multiple areas of the house where wireless connections are either weak or not usable at all, and I've been very happy with their performance. When I received this new AV600 kit, I knew I could immediately put the upgraded features to good use.

Before installing the new adapters, I re-tested the existing adapters. Then I installed a new adapter at the most remote computer I Have and tested a single AV600 on the existing network, and then I installed the second AV600 and tested performance between two of the new adapters.

In a nutshell, IT WORKED PERFECTLY!

AV500-AV500:
One way: up to 30mb/s (3.9 MB/s)
bi-directional: max of 2.4 MB/s in each direction

AV500 - AV600:
One way - up to 66 Mb/s (8.3 MB/s)
bi-directional: max of 2.5 MB/s each direction

AV600 - AV600:
One way - up to 95 MB/s (11.9 MB/s)
bi-directional: max of 3.5 MB/s each direction

So as you can see, even though the difference between the adapter ratings was only 20% difference, in some cases I rsaw over 300% the speed when using 2 of them, and over 200% the speed when using just 1.

In all cases, the transfers were both faster and more reliable than the wireless network connection available at that location in my house.

Cons: If there is any drawback to these devices, it is that 2-way bi-directional transfer rates are not very good with these adapters. I'm not sure from the tech specs, but they behave as if they are only half-duplex units so when there are 2-way transfers going on between adapters, they have to take turns instead of all going simultaneously. I have not tried more complicated scenarios than 2 computers transferring to and from each other, however I suspect that multiple computers trying to all stream large files or high bandwidth streams to each other all at once might see some slowdowns. There is no true substitute for a dedicated wired network with a good gigabit switch at its heart if you have multiple computers moving large files or streaming HD content around, but if that's what you need then you're not really looking for these powerline adapters anyhow.

Other Thoughts: So, a summary.

Unboxing was unsurprising. The product came as advertised in a smallish box without too much packaging waste. In the box were 2 adapters, 2 short Ethernet cables, a mini sized CD with some management software I didn't need to use, and a quick setup guide.

I should note that I've heard that the software can be very useful tweaking the settings of these adapters to get improved performance, to make firmware upgrades, or to fix performance problems. I've been so happy with them right out of the box that I just haven't tried out the software yet.

Installing it was very simple, and even though it was a different model from my other powerline adapters the normal process to add the adapters to the network worked just fine on the first try. My gigabit switch recognized the cable connection as gigabit speed too, a nice upgrade from the previous model which removes one potential transfer bottleneck.

As a standalone product, it has outstanding value and can be greatly superior to wireless especially in congested wireless areas or in large multi-story houses. Just remember that you can't use these on powerstrips and you get the best results on the same wiring circuit within the house. As an addition to an existing powerline network setup, it was fully compatible even in encrypted secure mode with my AV-500 (TL-PA411) devices, showing minor improvements across the board when transferring between dissimilar adapters and very large speed improvements between the two new AV-600s.

In short, I highly recommend these devices for either setting up a new powerline network, or adding devices to an existing compatible TP-Link powerline network. Just remember to keep them off the powerstrips and don't expect miracle 2-way transfer speeds especially if they're not on the same wiring circuit.

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SanDisk Ultra Dual 32GB USB OTG Flash Drive Model SDDD-032G-A46
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Nice versatile thumbdrive 05/29/2014

This review is from: SanDisk Ultra Dual 32GB USB OTG Flash Drive Model SDDD-032G-A46

Pros: I like this drive a lot. Not only does it have the dual USB connectors which makes this an incredibly useful tool to transfer files to and from tablets and phones, it also has other features that I look for in a USB Drive.
First, the end caps are the kind I like. They protect the connector from damage but retract instead of removing completely.
Second, the size and shape is perfect. It is about as small as you can get without being impossible to handle with my medium-sized fingers, and it is fairly business-like.
Third, the little ridge on the end caps used to pull them back out is just the right size, and doesn't feel flimsy to me.
Fourth, unlike some badly designed caps, when you push the drive into the connector port it doesn't collapse the cover back over the connector. You can push it right in without the end caps changing position, which makes it very easy to get a nice secure connection.
Regarding speed, it performed pretty much as expected for a USB 2.0 device with write speeds up around 18MB/s and read speeds around 22MB/s.

Cons: People who throw these drives into pockets or other places where dirt or lint collect may find that the end caps aren't sufficient. Since they retract instead of coming off completely, they are open-ended. That means they will let dirt and lint accumulate inside the connector if you aren't paying attention. It's nothing a little compressed air or a small brush can't fix, but it could be an issue for some people who need fully enclosed end caps.

It would have been nice if it was USB 3 not USB 2. As you can see for yourself it costs about as much as many USB 3.0 devices, so the extra you're paying for is the extra connector. It's worth it in my opinion since if you need something like this then it is totally worth the price, but still, USB 2 devices need to go. They're old and slow, and there's something better for not much more money. It isn't worth taking off an egg because you're getting exactly what you paid for, but...

Also, the thumbdrive packaging was very difficult to open, something you'd think manufacturers would have figured out a couple decades ago. The packaging is HUGE compared to the size of the thumbdrive, and you'll need scissors or a knife to get it open. Wasteful and irritating. I suppose some retailers need the packaging to be big and hard to use to prevent theft, but come on SanDisk, this is the internet age. Get with the program and quit with the wasteful packaging on items sold online.

Other Thoughts: Do your research before buying because some tablets and phones won't work with these things (or any USB drive for that matter). For example, the kindle fire specifically excludes drivers necessary to use these drives. This drive works great on my phone and on my brother's phone, but doesn't work at all on my kindle fire. If you get one and it doesn't work with your tablet then not all is lost since it is a fine USB drive all by itself, but you should probably look up your tablet/phone first to make sure it is compatible with USB flash drives.

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APC Back-UPS Pro 500 BG500 500VA 300W 4 Outlets UPS
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Great UPS with lots of management features 04/02/2014

This review is from: APC Back-UPS Pro 500 BG500 500VA 300W 4 Outlets UPS

Pros: Great power management features, reliable, wall mountable, quick setup, Lithium ion battery.

When I received this UPS, my expectations were immediately exceeded. Because of a few new technologies included in this device, this UPS is very small yet includes a number of great features. I was very surprised on unboxing it how lightweight it felt for a 500VA UPS. It came well protected in the box and arrived with no damage. As the instructions indicated, the battery arrived partially charged and the UPS could be used immediately without having to charge it overnight.
Basic setup couldn't have been easier. I plugged the UPS into the wall, plugged my computer power cord into the UPS, and connected UPS to the computer using the included USB cable. The computer detected the UPS as a standard battery, showing both charge level and when on battery power, how long the battery would last. Because the UPS was pretty small, I attached the little stand to let me put the UPS up on my desk next to the computer. It is reasonably attractive with shiny black surface and blue indicator LEDs. Super simple, exactly how you would expect to set up a basic UPS.
Testing the UPS was successful even without fully charging the battery first. With 66% charge being indicated by the windows battery utility, I unplugged the UPS from the wall to see what happened. The UPS began to beep, the computer continued running, and the battery icon indicated that my computer had about 15 minutes of run time remaining. Keep in mind that I was using a compact and fairly energy efficient computer for this test and review, so people with larger or more powerful desktop machines should have realistic expectations or get a more capable UPS. But for a small desktop or network hardware like switches, routers, or network storage devices, this UPS is plenty powerful.
Now on to the good stuff that makes this an exceptional device.
For more advanced features, all you have to do is plug the UPS into your network, run the installation CD, and you've just enabled this UPS to remotely manage 2 power outlets with advanced features from anywhere in the world. Setup wasn't quite as simple this time, but the results were equally successful. Mostly default or automatic settings were used, and after setup I could use all the advanced features. My favorite was the estimated power usage feature, although I don't expect a general purpose device like this to be very accurate. Still, it let me get a feel for how much power was being used by devices plugged into the managed power outlets. My next favorite feature is one that will cycle an outlet off and then back on again whenever network connection is lost. This is PERFECT for those not-quite-100% reliable routers or cable modems you might have, that seem to need to be unplugged and plugged back in sometimes. Another feature I love is the automatic email notifications of events like power outages.
If it isn't obvious, I like this thing.

Cons: As nice as this UPS is, I have to point out a few things I think could be done better. The flimsy feeling shiny black exterior says "consumer network appliance" instead of "reliable power backup and management". It is attractive enough to put up on a desk, but it doesn't really say competent "pro" level reliability to me. The vertical stand attachment clips on instead of bolting on, and feels a bit flimsy. UPS and management features are not available via USB connection and can be accessed only via a utility that connects through your network.

Which brings me to my single serious concern about this UPS. Any time you hang a device on your network and make it accessible from outside your LAN, you are introducing a potential security vulnerability. If you don't set up the device properly including a very secure/complex password, someone scanning the internet for these devices could potentially access your UPS. And that is in addition to the usual concerns about "data breaches" if the manufacturer's database is hacked or if this turns out to be another network device with a security flaw like we hear about in the news sometimes. Why is this more of a problem than with other devices? Because some of the awesome features of this UPS could also be used to damage equipment or even potentially cause a fire. If someone was able to get access to the remote management features, they could (for example) cycle power to anything connected to the advanced managed outlets, on and off and on and off... until they failed or worst case, caught overheated and caught fire. Or if you are using the network switch automatic reset feature, an intruder could disable your network by simply turning off your router.
So, I recommend using caution with this device just like with any other network enabled device, realizing that the potential exists for more serious damage than simple data loss in the event of an intrusion or compromise.

Other Thoughts: This UPS combines the features of 2 separate devices into one, and it does it superbly. It has all the features and reliability you would expect from an APC UPS, plus several advanced power outlet management features that are all accessible over the network. The features worked as advertised and were easy to use. The networking configuration also has a manual option, so you can manually change or manage network settings if the automatic configuration (DHCP) is not appropriate for your network. The little details like the ability to mount it on a wall are very appreciated.
Regarding the important question about capacity - Is this UPS "big enough"? As always, it depends on your usage. The box advertises 6.5 minutes on a power demand of approximately 180w. This is appropriate for a low to mid-range desktop that isn't doing very much. It is also quite suitable for a variety of network devices such as switches, routers, VoIP devices, and network storage devices. The computer I have attached to this UPS is small, and even with me doing some light computer use while on battery backup, my estimated run time on battery alone (just the computer, not the monitor) was expected to be over 20 minutes. This is plenty of time to allow you to save your work and properly shut down your computer in the event of a power outage even with a typical 20" or so LCD monitor attached. Or it could permit your network storage device to continue running during brief power outages or safely shut down to prevent data loss.

The advanced features are truly the icing on the cake, justifying the price of this device. This UPS has certainly earned a permanent spot in my home/small business network. Just make sure you set a complex password to keep people from accessing and messing with your managed outlets.

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Sean L.'s Profile

Display Name: Sean L.

Date Joined: 09/24/03

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  • First Review: 11/06/04
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