I remember back sometime in the early 2000s a computer magazine ran an April Fool’s article that described a home network that converts your existing electrical wiring into a network. Little did they know that at that time the HomePlug Alliance had already put together the specifications for just such a system. These early systems could only transmit data at a now achingly slow 14Mbps.
I have actually created a separate review page for powerline network adapters, but I’ve put this product here because it is a WiFi extender and I also wanted you to be aware that this technology exists. It really doesn’t get enough acknowledgment, and for home automation it holds a lot of promise.
So how does this kit from TP-Link work? It is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is take one unit from the kit, plug it into the wall near your router, and then connect them with an ethernet cable. Put the other unit anywhere in the house and connect another wired device via ethernet and the powerline adapter will bridge the connection between them at a respectable 500Mbps.
This is perfect for devices that are usually far away from your router, such as a smart TV or game console.
The WiFi part works as usual, you just use the WPS buttons on both devices to clone the WiFi network.
Now, I know that regular WiFi extenders also often have ethernet ports and allow you to hook up wired devices, but this is fundamentally different. While regular extenders bridge ethernet over the WiFi, this bridges it over the powerline. This is more secure, more stable, and more reliable.
While this only provides 300Mbps WiFi, an additional dedicated 500Mbps connection is ideal for a whole host of applications and at a much lower price than an AC WiFi extender.
The downside is that the quality of your electrical wiring or noise from the electrical system or certain appliances can negatively affect the connection. In many real world situations you’ll get more like 30 or 40 megabits per second, but since this is not shared with WiFi and perhaps only for one or two devices, it may still be more than enough. This is an awesome and affordable way to extend your network across the home quickly and easily. Above all, it is just pretty freaking cool.