Wi-Fi may be the most commonly used form of Internet in the home, but the power of a wired connection is simply unmatched. For this reason both gamers and streamers alike come up with some pretty out-there configurations to ensure they have the best speeds available at all times. Ditch the 30 ft. long Ethernet cable running from the basement to your room and let’s talk about TP-Link’s latest solution to the problem plaguing your online experience, the AV1200 Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Kit.
Powerline adapters are a fairly recent addition to the electronics market and are the equivalent to a Wi-Fi extender for wired connections. Instead of running a single cable from the router to a device far in the distance, users can use this kit to eliminate the headache of improvisational wiring. Simply install the two provided AV1200 adapters into the closest available power sockets to the router and to the user’s Internet enabled device, then connect them to the adapters via Ethernet cables. No drivers, no confusion, good results. An advantage to buying multiple kits, or even other networking products by TP-Link, is that they can all pair to each other to create a more effective network in the home.
What the TP-Link AV1200 adapters are actually doing to establish this type of connection is using the home’s existing electrical wiring as the conduit between the two devices. If for whatever reason the adapters don’t successfully pair immediately, the probable culprit is that the wires leading from one of the power sockets is actually on another circuit in the house and unfortunately this means the connection will never work. This problem is a strange outlier that shouldn’t affect anyone living in a home built within the last two decades or so, but for those living in older homes with shoddy workmanship, like mine, be warned that this can occur.
All hiccups aside, I believe powerline adapters need a little more time in the oven before a more mainstream consumer base adopts them. While the AV1200 supports speeds of up to 1200Mbps, it’s exceedingly rare that any user will actually be able to obtain that kind of performance. My personal Internet speeds max out at 250Mbps while wired directly from the router, but the AV1200 couldn’t even match those numbers unless the adapters were directly set-up one room over from the router. This means that three key factors are affecting baseline performance: existing wiring, range, and lastly, how many devices are currently drawing power from the power sockets. With no boosting technology set-up to increase the AV1200’s effectiveness/priority, it’s safe to assume that users should expect to lose about half of their expected speeds when using the adapters on different floors.
While the loss in speeds will be a killer for many users considering purchasing TP-Link’s AV1200 kit, I must say that this solution is still better for me then using Wi-Fi extenders. Cutting my speeds in half leaves me with over 100Mbps, which is still plenty for streaming shows off an android box and the stability of a wired connection means that I won’t be dropping out of matches while gaming on my PlayStation 4 upstairs. The product does work, but better iterations will always be around the corner, which will hopefully solve the issues I’ve ranted about above. If you absolutely can’t wait for a more effective model to pop up this year, the AV1200 is currently one of the best powerline adapters on the market that users can purchase for $79.99 CAD.