TP-Link TL-PA511 AV500 Gigabit Powerline Adaptor Starter Kit review
TP-Link's latest HomePlug kit is comprised of two HomePlug adaptors, two Ethernet cables and a configuration disc. Each adaptor has a single Gigabit Ethernet port, so you can attach a PC, smart TV or games console to your router over your home's wiring - handy if your device doesn’t have a Wi-Fi adaptor or if you're struggling to get a strong enough wireless signal around your home. The TL-PA511 kit adheres to the fast 500Mbit/s HomePlug standard, which means it’s perfect for streaming high-definition video and other media from your network to your smart TV or other device.
Setting up the TL-PA511 kit takes no more effort than plugging the adaptors in to mains sockets and pressing the Pair button on each adaptor. After a minute, the two adaptors are networked and traffic is protected with 128-bit encryption. The TL-PA511’s setup utility lets you configure privacy, Quality of Service and security settings, but it’s very basic in appearance and options and its cramped setup is hard to use. In our tests we saw data transfer rates of 139.8Mbit/s, which is what we expect from 500Mbit/s HomePlug kit. The TL-PA511 adaptors run hot, but this didn't seem to affect their performance.
At just £60 for two Gigabit Ethernet HomePlug adaptors, the TL-PA511 starter kit is good value, but for just £10 more you can get a pair of Solwise NET-PL-500AV-PIGGY HomePlug adaptors, which have pass-through plug sockets so that you plug other devices in to them such as your laptop or a lamp. If you have plenty of power sockets and don’t need passthrough sockets, though, TP-Link's kit is very good value.