Featuring the 500Mbps HomePlug AV standard, these TP-Link units almost hit the price bottom for powerline network kits. At under forty bucks for a set of two it is no wonder that these are some of the most popular units you can buy online today. Of course, you can opt for even faster units, but the real world speeds of between 100 and 200 megabits per second are enough for the vast majority of users, so why spend more, you might ask?
These are about as simple as they come. TP-Link rarely makes anything I think of as attractive, but in this case they have done a pretty good job. They kept it simple and elegant.
These feature a 300m (about 1000 foot) range, which I think only mansion dwellers would find a problem. It bodes well for getting an internet connection down to the garden shed or pool house, as long as both outlets are on the same circuit and share the same breaker panel.
They don’t call these the nanos for nothing either – they are small enough so that they don’t obstruct the other outlet, although I guess that hoping for a passthrough would be asking for too much. Other than that, the only other notable feature is the 128-bit encryption. Unless you are keeping classified information on your home network that governments would be interested in, it is unlikely anyone would go to the lengths needed to break that encryption.
That being said, there are some harsh and critical words from tech-savvy consumers about how TP-Link has implemented the security on these devices. Apparently someone could gain access to your network through these units by plugging in next door or outside, depending on the physical nature of the wiring. It is very important to do the pairing procedure to ensure that unique encryption is used rather than the default.
Still, in the real world the risk of such an intrusion is pretty low, but a more concerning issue is the many reports of units that work well at first and then slowly start to suck. It’s a minority, but the number of complaints and the similarity of the failures make me less than confident in recommending these.