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TP-Link AV1200 3-port powerline starter kit review

TP-Link AV1200 Powerline Kit

£120
8.3

Build quality

8.5/10

Design

8.0/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Performance

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • 3 x 1Gb ethernet ports
  • Easy pairing
  • Doesn't block sockets
  • Stable and fast connection
  • Ideal for AV/PC networks

Cons

  • Doesn't look much for your money

tplink powerline av1200 moodyPowerline adapters seem to be getting ever popular – and it’s easy to see why. Today GadgetyNews has the TP-Link AV1200 Powerline Starter Kit (TL-PA8630P Kit) to review.

The TP-Link AV1200 Powerline Starter Kit (TL-PA8630P Kit) is the third kit to get the GadgetgyNews once over. Previously we have checked out the Devolo dLAN 1200+ and the Netgear Powerline 1200.

The current favourite at Gadgety HQ is the Devolo as, not only has it got a pair of Ethernet ports, it has the all important passthrough plug socket. This means that plugging in the device does not remove a power socket from being available.

Now, if you don’t know what a powerline adapter is, these things aim to make it easy for you to bring lovely wired Ethernet connectivity to any area of your home without having to run cables through walls and upstairs.

“How is this done?”, you might ask. Well, by using the wires already in the walls that make up your home’s electricity mains loop.

TP-Link AV1200 design

The TL-PA8630P Kit comes with the two powerline adapters, two Ethernet cables, and a Quick Start Guide. The kit is actually the TL-WPA8630 and TL-PA8010P, should you want the separate model names. The plugs measure 5.5 x 2.7 x 1.8-inches and 5.2- x 2.8- x 1.7-inches (HWD) respectively. If you have a double outlet, you can have either of the AV1200 plugs plugged in and still use the one next to it.

They are neither small, nor inconspicuous, but they are packing in quite a lot of tech.

tplink powerline av1200 kitNot only does the second plug feature a trio of Gigabit Ethernet ports, but it also dishes out dual band Wi-Fi. Yes, the plug can juggle 2.4GHz, 5GHz Wi-Fi as well as the three cabled connections!

Above the pass-through socket are LED status indicators for Power, Ethernet connectivity, and powerline connectivity, and there’s a Pair button on the right edge that can be used to create or join a secure powerline network, leave a network, or reset the adapter.

The adapters are HomePlug AV2 compliant and use 128-bit AES encryption for security. They also use Multiple In Multiple Out (MIMO) technology for enhanced throughput with speeds of up to 1,200Mbps.

TP-Link AV1200 performance

Installation

As with all powerline devices, the TP-PA8030P adapters are plug-and-play and a snap to install.

Simply plug one adapter into a wall outlet within close proximity to your router and connect it to the router using one of the included Ethernet cables.

Then, plug the second adapter into an outlet in the room where you want wired Ethernet service, and that’s it.

To create a secure powerline network, press and hold the Pair button on one adapter for one second, then do the same on the next adapter (within two minutes).

tplink powerline av1200 portsI have the base powerline adapter downstairs where my router lives and the satellite is upstairs in my office with two PCs plugged in to the ethernet ports. With the TP-Link AV1200, this means there’s a spare port for a networked printer or another NAS.

The plug even extends the reach of your Wi-fi thanks to the handy Clone feature. This copies your existing network SSIDs and passwords. This means your connection will be seamless as you move between areas.

In use

As you can see in the image below taken from the TP-Link software utility, I am getting a steady 462Mbps right now. Granted, not quite the 1200 boasted but it’s better than the Devolo’s 436Mbps.

tplink av1200 utilityThe speed increase may be due to the clever MIMO (Multi-input Multi-output) use of the Ground or Earth wire in the mains. Before, Powerline adapters only utilised the Neutral and Live.

The best thing is that there is no discernible loss in performance when my girlfriend is working on her machine next to me – even when I am gaming!

Bouncing chunky HD video files around didn’t hassle the connection either. Streaming videos and FLAC files are all done smoothly.

As a bonus, if you find the blinking LEDs on the plugs distracting, these can either be switched off at the plug or you can use the tpPLC utility above or even the free smartphone app.

TP-Link AV1200 review conclusion

The TP-Link AV1200 Powerline Starter Kit is fast, stable and offers three 1 Gigabit ethernet ports. This means you can have a wired connection to your AV set up without trailing wires across your room. Alternatively, as I have done, keep your modem and router downstairs and have your computers wired in upstairs.

Need more connections? Well, you can add up to 254 nodes (adapters) on a single TP-PA8030P network.

The TP-Link AV1200 Kit not only has the most ports on any Powerline adapter we ever have had at GadgetyNews, but it has also been the fastest.

I have been really impressed by the TP-Link AV1200 Kit and am now using it as part of my own network. I am even considering adding more.

TP-Link AV1200 kit price and availability

The TL-WPA8630P Kit is available now from Amazon.co.uk for £120.

TP-Link AV1200 3-port powerline starter kit review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 3 min
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