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Pros: I reviewed the TP-Link model TL-WPA4220KIT - WIFI Range Extender/Repeater/AV500 Power-line Kit. This kit includes two Home Plug AV devices, two Ethernet patch cables a resource CD, and two Quick Installation Guides. Each white patch cable was about 6.5 feet long. These can be easily replaced with longer cables, purchased separately if needed. TP-Link refers to the smaller of the two units as the powerline adapter, also known as the model TL-PA4010. The other half of the kit is the Power-line/WIFI Ethernet Adapter model TL-WPA4220, or Access Point (AP). This larger unit receives the HomePlug signals sent over your AC power lines from the powerline adapter. It can also act as a WIFI booster for a weak area of your home. In additon to WIFI, the TL-WPA4220 AP also offers two 10/100 Ethernet jacks. These could be handy if you want to provide Internet access to: a smart TV, a game box, a home theater system, or a desktop/laptop computer.
The smaller of the two plugin devices, AKA the TL-PA4010 powerline adapter, creates a 300 Mb/s HomePlug AV LAN network inside your home's wiring. The bandwidth is rated at 500 Mbps between your router and the TL-PA4010 adapter. Because it relies on the existing AC wiring inside your home, it avoids the need to have your home hard-wired for Ethernet. However it is subject to a few limitations. The first being the overall network speed is limited to 300 Mbps per HomePlug device, as compared to 1000 Mbps for Ethernet. There is also a 300 meter AC cable length limitation. Lastly the receiving HomePlug device needs to be on the same AC line phase, or it may not receive the Internet signal. Oddly during my testing I would see a strong WIFI signal from the TL-WPA4220 WIFI AP, but no Internet or LAN connectivity when plugged into the wrong phase. Avoid plugging the units into outlets with heavy appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, or air conditioners connected to them. The motors in these appliances can give off a lot of electrical noise that will interfere with the HomePlug devices. Up to eight HomePlug AV devices can be used in a single household.
I started setting up the two units by plugging them both into a standard 4 foot wall strip, without any surge protection. TP-Link cautions in their instructions, not to plug the units into surge protectors or extension cords. Next a pairing button is pressed on each unit to allow them to negotiate the same 128-bit AES encryption codes and connect with each other. Encryption is important so your neighbors can't access your private HomePlug network. After I got the two units "paired-up", I next tried moving the TL-WPA4220 AP to different outlets around my house. By plugging the TL-WPA4220 into an outlet near my kitchen table, the WIFI signal produced by the TL-WPA4220 was a solid 5 bars of excellent WIFI reception over the entire kitchen/living room level.
Cons: This had to be one of the more frustrating reviews that I have done for NewEgg. The biggest problem I ran into was the poor documentation included with this kit. The only hard instructions were two brief Quick Installation Guides, consisting of a separate set of instructions for each plugin device, versus a unified guide. The instructions on the CD were also two separate manuals. I found a better updated combined user manual at TP-Link's website that covered both devices. I also found the two utility programs on the CD to be confusing and inadequate for troubleshooting connection problems. I think that my electrical lines maybe too noisy to support HomePlug AV at 300 Mbps. I as only able to get an 11 Mbs between the two deivces on the same outlet strip, according to TP-Link's utility program. TP-Link is very inconsistent as to how they refer to the two HomePlug devices in the various user manuals, using a mixture terms only a network engineer could love. All they had to do is call the source the the HomePlug Source and the TL-WPA4220 the Access Point and be consistent in that usage throughout the manuals.
Plugging in the TL-WPA4220 AP caused an immediate IP address conflict with my home's router, causing my home LAN network to go offline. This is because the TL-WPA4220 AP comes preset to IP address: 192.168.1.1, the same gateway address used by my home's Western Digital router. This is actually a very common base IP address used by many different brands of routers including: ASUS, 3COM, Belkin, Linksys, D-Link, and Netgear. Apple has also started using this non-routable IP address range in their newest versions of its Airport Extreme and the Time Capsule. TP-Link could have simply set the TL-WPA4220 AP to a less seldom used gateway IP address by default for the HomePlug network, or perhaps use DHCP? This default base IP address choice will probably have a lot of customers calling the TP-Link technical support line. This problem should be fixable with a factory firmware update.
One last complaint is the hard to read light gray labeling, that is supposed to identify the functions of the various ports and status LEDs, against the off-white plastic background color of the two HomePlug units. With little or no color contrast, the user has to squint to read what the labels are trying to tell him or her. TP-Link needs to pick a text color that has better contrast against the base plastic color. The color "black" might be a good place to start. This seems to be ongoing issue with TP-Link products that I have reviewed. I call it art-over-function.
Overall Review: LAN Speed Test v 3.4 gave the following speed test results:
Mbps: Same Outlet Strip - (LAN Port)
Write Speed: 60.385088
Read Speed: 50.448328
Mbps: Same Outlet Strip - ( WIFI-N)
Write Speed: 43.656784
Read Speed: 67.556112
Mbps: Kitchen Outlet - (WIFI-N)
Write Speed: 12.510016
Read Speed: 12.021032
Mbps: Garage Outlet - (WIFI-N)
Write Speed: 25.201568
Read Speed: 34.80516
I ran each bandwidth test five times and then averaged the resulting data. I started by directly connecting my ThinkPad T410 laptop to an Ethernet port on the TL-WPA4220 AP, with a supplied patch cable. This gave the fastest results. But way below the specified 300 Mbps throughput. This was performed with the two HomePlug devices plugged into the same four foot long outlet strip above my test bench. With the same setup in the second test, I connected my T410 via WIFI-N to the TL-WPA4220 AP. This is pretty close to WIFI-G throughput speeds. But not too impressive, for WIFI-N.
The third test above was conducted using the TL-WPA4220 AP plugged into an outlet located under my kitchen table. These results were well below what I normally get with my WD WIFI-N router. The TL-WPA4220 AP always gave an excellent 5-bar WIFI connection. The HomePlug house wiring portion of the system seems to be the network bottleneck.
In the last garage test, with 270 Feet of Romex cable in the HomePlug network pathway and two breaker boxes; the results were decent, considering the AC wiring distance involved. I think I will stick with my installed 100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet system though. I am at a loss to explain the poor bandwidth test results. Unfortunately the provided utility programs were useless for assisting in tweaking the HomePlug portion of the network. Maybe TP-Link could add their comments?
My overall opinion of the TP-Link model TL-WPA4220 Power line kit after working with it for the past two weeks, is that it includes hardware that is beta quality at best. It is further marred by a confusing user installation experience, due to poor installation software and two convoluted Quick Installation Guides. TP-Link needs to create an installation wizard tapered specifically to the two units included in this kit. I am sure many of these kits will be purchased by users of other router brands, than TP-Link routers. The kit should be compatible with all major router brands on the market. This is an area where a more intelligent setup program would have improved the out-of-the-box experience. I would not recommend this kit to people who know little about setting up networking devices, unless you can obtain help from a knowledgeable friend or associate.
Pros: First some background – I have been a firmware engineer in the telecom industry. I’ve written drivers for Ethernet cards and firmware with Wi-Fi. I probably know more than most, but still would not consider myself an expert.
First the setup was really fairly easy to setup and run. If you are doing generic web browsing or basic streaming you’ll probably find this a fairly decent device. You can setup the range extender via your browser and if you’ve setup a web based router you should have no problem.
I set it up to go from my router in the basement up two floors on the other side of the house to a bedroom where the connectivity isn’t that great. I connected a laptop (wired and wireless), and a tablet and Wi-Fi phone connection. All worked fairly well given the previous problems I have had.
I was getting somewhere in the range of 30-50MBps depending on how I was connected and the test time. Under best case scenarios you can sometimes about 80-90% of the rated speed with Ethernet but in practical terms of real use what I saw was reasonable.
As 4K TVs (Quad HD) are coming into existence this holiday season, it is worth noting that Netflix is now streaming at Ultra HD and the connections will require about 15Mbps, so this device could realistically handle one or more connections (good!).
I like the two Ethernet plugs on the Wi-Fi as opposed to one which often isn’t enough and forces you to buy a switch and eat another valuable wall socket to plug it in with.
Cons: The cons listed really didn't affect my rating very much because the price of this device if fairly low. Product designers are always vexed by the cost of perfect vs. good enough. In my opinion they struck a nice balance.
First it’s only 100 Mbps which is still okay for most applications but if you are using it between you and your online storage you will find its really not all that great. If you have multiple streaming devices on the other side you may find it’s also not that great.
I do video editing and download lots of very large software bundles and logs, I would not consider using it on the other side unless speed wasn't really much of a consideration. My guess is that I am probably not an average user in most cases however.
It’s also stated that line suppressors may cause problems – this may be an issue for some though I use a whole house suppressor at my fuse box (the only way to go). But if you are in an apartment or can’t do something like this, you may find this to be an issue.
Overall Review: I think it’s important to note that even though the throughput is rated at 300Mbps that you will see at maximum 100Mpbs speeds as you are connected via a 10/100 port when wired. This should mean that you can connect several clients running at full speed before you start to take a performance hit. As I had no way to test this, I don’t know how it would work – but theoretically it should be okay.
I believe this device is going to end up connected to large flat panel TV on the wall and a Roku and small dedicated PC to use on the screen. I've often had dropouts that I believe are related to my (existing) Wi-Fi connection and believe this device may make it more stable.
Pros: (NOTE: My home is about 11 years old, so the electrical wiring is by all accounts good and fresh.)
- Easy setup for most situations
- Adds two 100Mbit ethernet connections where ever you plug in the range extender
- Allows for an entirely new SSID if you are so inclined to keep your existing WiFi separate
- Noticed very little throughput degradation when using the powerline functionality.
- Decent free utilities on the included mini-CD.
- Solid ethernet connection going from 2nd floor office, into the garage, and then ending on the other end of a 100ft extension cable.
- Overall: A well priced product that offers solid performance when used within expectations / known limitations. (Keep reading...)
Cons: - Default IP may interfere with existing router
- The naming conventions and explanations of functions can get somewhat confusing since they are effectively packaging two separate products in this kit.
- I think it's a bit misleading for TP-LINK to state "500Mbps high speed data transmission over a home's existing electrical wiring". Think about that for a minute... They only put 100Mbit ethernet connections on the range extender. And your WiFi signal is 300Mbit. So all that probably does -in theory- is give you more overhead. However, -in practice-, I don't really think it offers much.
- Overall: Documentation could be better and there's a little too much in the "gotcha" department for most people that will buy this without really digging deep into these reviews, the forums, and understanding the setup of their current infrastructure.
Overall Review: I'm using a TP-LINK TL-WR1043ND router as the source, so that made it a bit tricky to test the wireless extender. "Why?" Because I already get superb WiFi coverage with it in and around my house. I really have no dead spots. It's in a 2nd floor office and I still get a 270Mbps connection downstairs in my finished basement. Even outside I still get good connection, so testing the range extender wasn't something I can fully critique. And generally speaking, I was really more interested in the ethernet Powerline function from the get-go.
I was tempted to list this as a "CON", but I can't really fault the technology and TP-LINK makes specific note about it... If you plug the sender or receiver into a power strip, surge protector, or battery backup, it's going to be hit or miss if it's going to carry a signal. Most likely, a miss.
This is unfortunate because most people will already be using a powerstrip or battery backup ("UPS") near their networking base. So you are almost forced into repurposing a single wall outlet just for the sending unit and the receiver. I'm not an electrical engineer, but it made sense after thinking about it: This technology really just wants straight copper connections with nothing in between to mess with the signal- much like ethernet cables! As soon as you introduce anything that does surge suppression, line conditioning, etc, you are introducing A LOT more electrical gates for the signal to pass through. That takes a toll on a very specific signal that needs to be transmitted intact.
When testing various powerstrips and UPS'...IF I could establish a connection...it was so broken up that it effectively rendered it useless.
The easiest way to know if you're going to be alright is to take a laptop, disable wifi, and use the ethernet connection to send continuous pings to your router. From a cmd prompt: ping -t your_router_ip. If you are getting solid responses <10ms, you should be OK. If you're seeing scattered replies >100ms, forget it- You've got something in between the sender & receiver. Leaving the ping running, simply walk around to different outlets and plug it the receiver. It will either re-establish a connection or it won't.
So what's the overall impression here? I'd be more impressed if the powerline adapter had 1Gbit ethernet, at least then you could potentially take advantage of that claimed 500Mbit speed. But as it stands, most WiFi is going to be faster than that, so what's really the point of the ethernet, especially two of them? Maybe just for a SmartTV or something?...But even most of those come with WiFi adapters now. I was looking forward to 500Mbit ethernet speeds between my MediaServer in the basement and my PC's around the house. As it stands now, I'm still settling(?) for 270Mbit WiFi speeds.
Verdict: A solid 4-eggs for a product that pretty much does what it's supposed to without too too much hassle.
Pros: Well, to my surprise, it exceeded my expectations. Extremely quick and simple setup, works flawlessly out of the box. This Wi-Fi extender supports internet through your standard power outlets, using a direct connection to extend your signal as opposed to just mirroring and extending an existing connection wirelessly.
What does this mean? Primarily, it means stronger connection strength and speed. It also means you can extend the signal farther and be more precise with your router positioning.
The extender also has an ethernet jack on it, so you can even use a wired connection if you want. I detected no speed loss on my 100mbit line, which means the extender was doing its job perfectly!
I tested signal strength on the extender and found it covered nearly my entire house, around 50-75 feet away before the signal started losing significant quality.
Cons: No glaring flaws. I could nitpick on the instruction manual, but honestly for a device this simplistic, I can't criticize them over the guide.
Overall Review: Package includes two ethernet cables even though you will only need one if you're extending the Wi-Fi. It took me a few tries to properly clone WPS via my router, but the entire process was automatic once I timed everything properly.
Pros: Easily extends wireless or wired network throughout the house. I used the WiFi clone to set up the extender and it works perfectly. I put one extender in the back of the house where I have built a workshop and needed to extend my wireless signal. I get full 5 bars reception in my shop compared to the 2 bars I was getting just using my router. The other is in my daughter's bedroom where, for some reason, she has a dead spot in the corner where her computer is located...now she has 5 bars also, but can plug in using the network card if she decides to. Overall, it works well and hasn't dropped signal wirelessly and has had no issues running hardwired, either.
Cons: The only problem I have, is the speed is not as fast as connected directly to the router. A ran Speedtest.net on my main computer connected directly to the router and get 60Mbps, and with the extender, the best I could get wireless or hardwired was 32Mbps. I move the laptop and connect it directly to the router and it also downloads at 60Mbps, so it's something to do with the extender. Although, 32Mbps is not too shabby.
Overall Review: Downloading through the network from another computer, the best speed I could get was 5.42MB/sec. It does stream HD video with no lag, so it's a pretty low price to extend your network wirelessly, through your house's electrical system, or a combination of both.
Pros: Huge boost for laptop and iPad running at same time out on the deck and back yard.
Very easy setup for extending your existing Wi-Fi reception. For Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, and iPad Mini we did not need to use the software on the included CD.
Also easy to create a private Wi-Fi network. This is very useful if your existing wireless network is shared with roommates or neighbors.
2-Year Warranty according to TP-Link website.
Works with our existing Netgear 500Mbps powerline adapter.
Wi-Fi booster unit also has bonus network jacks for 2 wired connections to other devices (a game console, a PC, a Blu-ray player, a TV, etc.)
Comes with two ethernet cables (6 ft. each approx.)
Cons: Small row of LED lights flicker in a distracting way if they are in your line of sight.
Overall Review: The Quick Install Guide is pretty clear and the actual setup is a few easy steps. You don't need to be an expert.
We're impressed that it provides really strong wireless outdoors even when she's on her iPad and i'm on my laptop. There are no slowdowns! It's plugged into a power outlet just below the window which looks out onto the deck, so reception is strong on the deck and all the way across the back yard - about 40 feet away.
We're equally impressed that it's compatible with our existing powerline adapter of a different brand (Netgear).
Once we got the TP-Link Wi-Fi booster going i unplugged the TP-Link powerline adapter which was near the router (connected with ethernet cable) and plugged our Netgear powerline adapter back in. Everything works OK.
Another convenient factor is we can unplug the Wi-Fi booster unit when we don't need wireless outdoors, and it still works perfectly the next time we plug it in. Just wait a few seconds for it to get going.
Ran a speed test using this TP-Link adapter and got almost the same download /upload speeds as we get on a wired connection (28Mbps Down and 5.2Mbps Up).
This kit is a clear winner for anyone needing boosted Wi-Fi or who needs to create a small "private" Wi-Fi when sharing an internet connection with others.
Two LAN ports
Plug and play powerline network
Overall Review: I hoped to use this Wifi extender in my mother’s house to eliminate a dead zone. I first tried to setup the extender feature by using the clone button on the WiFi extender after plugging the device into a wall outlet a few feet from the router. The WiFi cloning button would not work so I confirmed that WPS worked on the router by connecting another network device which I encountered no issue connecting. Then to double confirm the router was not the issue I tried using the cloning button on two more routers of different brands without success. So I instead moved the extender to the other end of the house in the dead zone and connected it using a cat5e cable ran through the attic. I plugged in the powerline network extender into another outlet few yards from plug with the wifi extender. When my laptop was plugged into the powerline network adapter I experienced the same speeds as if I was plugged directly into the router and the powerline pairing took only seconds and did not require the sync button. Using this wired connection through the power outlet I manually accessed the extender from my browser and configured the same wifi settings.
My laptop normally has “no signal” or “very poor” network strength in this area of the house. After manually configuring the extender the network strength did not change. I tried changing the channels and confirmed the firmware was updated to the latest version available but neither had a noticeable effect.
This is a great powerline network kit and one end has two Ethernet jacks, however, I encountered no positive effect from the wifi extender features and do not recommend this product to extend a wifi network.
Pros: These power-line adapters are super easy to set up with any system, essentially they plug in and work. No Wireing, Easy Setup with WPS. The wireless adapter which you can use as its own wireless access point or you can “clone” an existing wireless network by using the WPS feature on your wireless router, or if you prefer you can set the feature up using the setup disk provided which suprizingly enough does not require the installation of any software running directly from the mini cd. As far as Linux is concerned... no issues. Access to the device is available through your browser with the default user name of admin and default password of admin.
Cons: Windows Defender on my Windows 7 Ultimate system did however see the disk as a potential threat as it did turn off the firewall for access to the adapter, not a problem during setup but be aware that it does do this and you may need to restart the firewall after completing the setup. I still think the idea of a power pass-through feature on these devices would be a great addition. Being able to use these devices and still be able to plug-in your lamp to the same outlet would be nice.
Overall Review: Great choice for those “Just out of wireless reach” areas that are common in most homes. Especially in my turn of the century farmhouse whose walls are twice as thick as more modern dwellings. Wireless is always an issue and the old tin roof doesn't help either. My kitchen and one upstairs bedroom were added on after the building of the original house, so there is an outside wall that as far as wireless is concerned cuts them off from the rest of the house. This device allows devices in these two rooms to connect without dropping out from time to time, and the best part is that there were no wires to have to contend with. If I had not installed all my ethernet wiring years ago I would certainly have used these instead. So much time and effort saved with the use of these. I would recommend power-line networking to anyone that is adding networking to their existing home. New construction however, I would still go with a hardwired system simply to save on blocking outlets with these.