Netgear XAUB2511 Powerline Music Extender review
The Netgear Powerline Music Extender is a HomePlug kit that lets you stream audio directly to a set of active speakers or an amp from an Airplay or DLNA-compatible device such as an iPad or Windows computer.
Once connected to your home network, the kit appears as an audio device, which you can select from your chosen media player or iOS device.
One adaptor is an XAV1601 adaptor, which you connect to your router, and the other is an XAU2511 adaptor. Both HomePlugs are rated at 200Mbit/s and have a single Fast Ethernet port, but one of the HomePlugs also has a USB port to which you can connect a USB drive, printer or the included 6ft USB audio lead. The lead terminates with a female 3.5mm jack socket and a male stereo pair of RCA connectors, so you should have no problem attaching it to your active speakers, home cinema system or amp.
The marvellous thing about the Netgear Powerline Music Extender Kit is the ease with which it’s set up, administered and used. Connect the two HomePlugs to a mains socket and they’ll pair within a minute or so. Each HomePlug has a button that secures communication between the HomePlugs, and you only need to secure them once. After that, they’ll secure themselves the next time you plug them in to a mains socket.
Once paired, you must connect the XAV1601 to your router, modem or switch with an Ethernet cable and place the XAU2511 near to your audio system. Streaming audio to your speakers or Hi-Fi requires nothing more than selecting the XAU2511 adaptor on your device and then selecting media to play. It really is that simple.
We used our iPad and iPhone to stream audio from iTunes, from our NAS using Synology’s DS Audio app and from the YouTube website among others. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stream audio from BBC iPlayer, although we could stream audio from the Sky Go app.
We had no trouble streaming audio from our iPad and iPhone 4S at a distance of 10-15 metres on the 2.4GHz band. We also had no trouble streaming audio to our speakers while simultaneously streaming Full HD video to a smart TV connected to the XAU2511 via its Ethernet port.
This is great performance, and makes the kit perfect for those users who want to connect their smart TV, Blu-ray player or games console to their network in addition to streaming audio from their mobile device. Conveniently, each HomePlug also has a pass-through socket, so you can use them without tying up your mains sockets.