7 May 2015

REVIEW: TP-Link AV1200 Powerline Starter Kit

It all starts here.

For those unfamiliar with the concept (and those who have yet to read our other reviews of similar products) Powerline kits essentially use your home's electrical cable network to transmit internet signal, allowing you to stretch the fast broadband distance from your router. In the past we've found these terribly useful, especially for providing high-speed data to that awkward room in the far corner of the house. Having enjoyed their other kit in the past, we jumped at the chance to try TP-Link's own powerline pack, the AV1200 Powerline Starter Kit.

Why 'starter kit'? Well, this pack contains two of the AC1200 powerline units, with one plugging in near to your router (and then connecting to the router via the Ethernet port), while the other plugs into a socket anywhere else in your home that you need a powerful internet connection. Buy more packs, and you can add more junction points on the network to draw the internet from; but having a simple 'in' and 'out' is a great way to get started.


Where you place the second unit is dependent on where you need the internet to be as fast as possible without relying on WiFi or having to lay new wires. In our experience the best places are usually near to Smart TVs and game consoles, and thanks to the fact that the TP-Link AC1200 is 'pass-through', no plug socket is wasted. Just plug in the unit, then plug your appliance, TV, PlayStation... whatever... directly into that, then connect up the Ethernet cable.

The TP-Link AC1200 is so named as it boasts data speeds of up to 1200Mbps, more than twice as fast as similar priced kits (many of which top out at 500Mbps). Although the TP-Link kit doesn't have a WiFi option like the recently reviewed Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi Powerline Adaptors, it does match the more expensive device in speed, with the units themselves actually being slightly thinner.


In use we found that the promised speeds certainly didn't disappoint. Just so we're clear, the 1200Mbps speed is the absolute best the AC1200 can achieve, in the absolute best of conditions. The further you place these two bits of the kit, and depending how modern and well-maintained your electrical network is, the speed will drop. But even over three floors distance, and several walls and rooms, the TP-Link AC1200 out performed a WiFi router from the same manufacturer in terms of data speed. When connected to a Smart TV streaming Netflix, we never experienced any buffering delay, and shows and films started to play instantly - a real pleasure in a room that had previously been blighted with weak wireless signal.

So to fix WiFi issues in your home, or just to ensure you get the best possible speeds all of the time, the TP-Link AC 1200 Powerline Starter Kit is fantastic - and at a great price!

Around £80



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