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The Trendnet Powerline 1200 AV2 Wireless Kit (TPL-430APK) is a home-networking starter kit that will give you faster-than-Wi-Fi wired Internet speed where you need it in your home, plus create a new speedy wireless hotspot in a second room.
What is Powerline? It’s a simple technology that uses the electrical wiring in your home to create a network that can stretch to any room with a power socket.
Setup is simple. It’s just a matter of plugging each adapter into a wall power socket and then using Ethernet cables (two are included) to connect devices that need super-fast connections.
The two (or more if you buy extra) adapters connect automatically.
The home wiring acts as a proxy Ethernet cable, so you can get that wired speed straight from the router to a room several floors away with very little of the loss of bandwidth that you suffer with standard Wi-Fi.
Devices that will benefit from wired Internet access might include a smart TV, Sky or Virgin box, FireTV stick, games console, PC or laptop. Each can probably download movies or stream games using your Wi-Fi, but connecting via Ethernet will likely give you a much faster link and therefore shorter download times.
What’s in the box
This wireless starter kit (TPL-430APK) consists of two Powerline adapters. The TPL-421E is the adapter without the antennae that you plug in to a power socket near your router/modem so you can connect the adapter to the router via the supplied Ethernet cable. It has one Gigabit Ethernet port for that router connection.
Handily, the TPL-421E includes a pass-through socket, so it won’t rob you of a socket when you plug it in, and we all know that power sockets are at a premium in most homes.
Don’t plug the Powerline adapters into an extension lead, though, as this will degrade the speed of the Powerline connection.
The second adapter is the TPL-430AP, which is the one you’ll plug into a power socket in the second room where you want the wired Ethernet connections to your other smart devices. This is also where the new Wi-Fi hotspot will be placed, offering a stronger wireless signal away from the router’s own.
The base TPL-421E takes the router’s Internet signal and pushes it via the electrical wiring to the TPL-430AP in the other room, with very little loss of signal.
The TPL-430AP is a bit of a beast. It’s easily the largest Powerline adapter we’ve tested, but it does pack a lot: three Gigabit Ethernet ports and that new Wi-Fi hotspot.
Its antennae look impressive, but we’ve seen Powerline adapters with Wi-Fi that don’t include rather obvious antennae but match the TPL-430AP on wireless speed.
We’ve tested all the available Powerline adapters we can get our hands on to help you find the one that is best for your home.
Sadly, this big adapter lacks a pass-through socket on its front, so it will take up a power socket on the wall in the second room.
There are two Ethernet cables included, where some starter kits now include just one. For some reason, they are yellow, so if you prefer white or black to match your home aesthetic, you’ll need to but elsewhere.
As there are three Gigabit Ethernet ports on the second-room adapter, and you need one for the base adapter’s connection to the router, anyway, you will still probably need to buy more cables. Check out our best Ethernet cables roundup.
Trendnet Powerline 1200 AV2 Wireless features
The second-room TPL-430AP adapter boasts an impressive three Gigabit Ethernet ports, which should be enough for even the smartest room, especially as it can also create a new Wi-Fi hotspot using the faster connection.
This new dual-band wireless hotspot is a fresh start connected to the far-away router by the power wiring, so should be much faster than your existing weakened signal coughing its way from the wireless router itself.
The wireless adapter uses beamforming technology that focuses the Wi-Fi signal towards a specific receiving device, rather than randomly spreading the signal in all directions. This should result in a more direct connection that is faster and more reliable.
You can create a second Wi-Fi network or integrate the new one to your existing wireless network. This is called “cloning”, and means you keep the same password and moving between the two hotspots should be seamless.
Trendnet Powerline 1200 AV2 Wireless speed tests
While it claims to be rated at 1,200Mbps, you won’t actually benefit from such at that fast speed. Don’t blame Trendnet for the claim, as all Powerline manufacturers badge their adapters with the theoretical maximum rather than real speeds you’ll get at home.
It’s still a useful rating to compare when choosing between the various types. A 1,200Mbps adapter will be faster than a 500Mbps adapter, although it will unlikely be twice as speedy.
Our tested speeds will almost certainly differ from what you get, as each home is built differently, with many factors working to slow wired and wireless bandwidth.
We test all the Powerline adapters in the same environment – a three-storey Victorian house, with all the usual Wi-Fi faults and barriers – so we can safely compare all the contenders and recommend based on features and performance.
First, we test the adapters next to each other in a wall socket to test performance away from the weaknesses of distance, brick walls and other interferences.
Here, the TrendNet performed ably but not sensationally compared to our top-rated Powerline speedster, the Devolo Magic 2 WiFi next, which peaked at twice its speed and offers Mesh Wi-Fi capability.
Next, we locate the non-base adapter in a room two flights down for a proper real-world test. This is where you’ll actually use the adapters, so is the most important of our tests.
And the TPL-430APK did very well, with performance not far below the fastest we’ve seen.
Don’t forget that you can buy extra single adapters to add to third and fourth rooms if you need them.
In the same second room, we then test the performance of the Powerline adapter’s new wireless hotspot.
Maybe those antennae really do have an effect because the speed from the new wireless hotspot was one of the fastest we’ve seen in tests. It’s big but it passes our wireless tests.
Wireless Powerline is a great solution for adding stronger Wi-Fi in your home, but if you live in a large house and want fast Wi-Fi in every room, we recommend you consider setting up a Mesh network of two or more Wi-Fi routers that work together to provide much wider Wi-Fi coverage than a single router can.
Like Powerline, Mesh Wi-Fi is easy to set up; read our roundup of the best Mesh Wi-Fi systems.
The Trendnet Powerline 1200 AV2 Wireless Kit costs £145, which is a £20 cheaper than the two-adapter Magic 2 WiFi next Starter Kit, but more than the TP-Link TL-WPA7510KIT.
However, it is a better bet than the cheaper TP-Link Powerline if you require multiple wired connections, as its three Gigabit Ethernet ports offers much better connectivity than the TP-Link’s lonely one port in the Wi-Fi Kit.
This Powerline adapter is the right choice if you need multiple Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired networking and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The much-cheaper TP-Link TL-PA8033PKIT AV1300 also has three Ethernet ports, but isn’t as fast as the Trendnet Powerline 1200 reviewed here, and lacks the Wi-Fi function.
Bristling with three Gigabit Ethernet ports and Wi-Fi, the Trendnet Powerline 1200 AV2 Wireless Kit has it all, except for a pass-through socket on the voluminous second-room adapter.
If you need to connect two or three devices in one room for the fastest Internet access, as well as creating a new, strong Wi-Fi hotspot, this ticks all those boxes. It might not be the cheapest, but both its feature set and real-world performance are impressive.
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