It's expensive, but the Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac Powerline networking kit is a great way to extend your wireless range
Powerline networking adaptors route network data through your mains electrical wiring. This makes them an excellent way to connect wired network devices to your home network, or to extend your internet connection to areas where Wi-Fi won’t reach.
This is no good if you want to connect wireless-only devices, though. The Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac is here to help, with its combination of super-fast Powerline networking and built-in 802.11ac wireless. This is one of the fastest-rated Powerline networking kits we’ve seen; it’s rated at 1,200Mbit/s, while most powerline adaptors are rated at just 500Mbit/s.
This starter kit, which is comprised of two adaptors, are ready to go out of the box – just plug them in and wait for them to find each other. Both plugs have passthrough power sockets, meaning you can plug them into a socket along with another device. While admittedly wider than a standard plug, they won’t block the second of a double socket. The adaptors also point upwards rather than downwards. This is a major bonus for UK customers, as chunky skirting boards often don’t leave enough room for downward-facing models.
The primary adapter is designed to sit next to your router and has a single wired Ethernet socket. The secondary plug has two. This means you can connect more than one wired device, such as your Smart TV and games console, rather than buy multiple adapters to get all your gadgets online. Both adaptors use Gigabit Ethernet ports, so they won’t be the limiting factor in the connection.
Devolo uses all three wires of the electric mains circuit for data transfers, which helps boost performance significantly. After connecting one adaptor to our reference router and the other into a laptop, then plugging both adaptors into adjacent wall sockets so they were as close as possible, we measured a huge average speed of 419.13MBit/s – more than four times as fast as 10/100 Ethernet.
This isn’t a real-world scenario, however, as the point of Powerline adaptors is to spread connections throughout the home. With the adaptors plugged into wall sockets 1m apart we saw 325.22MB/s transfer speeds, and at 10m apart we saw 158.45Mbit/s. That’s easily fast enough to stream Full HD video to a Smart TV, or for playing a games console online.
Devolo Cockpit, the free configuration utility that you can download from Devolo’s website, helps you set up and secure the Wi-Fi network. The friendly user interface creates a map of your Powerline network, showing you the current speeds of each adaptor; clicking on one will let you manage each adaptor independently, either through the software or through a web browser.
Over 802.11ac Wi-Fi, we saw 279.62MBit/s from 1m away from the adaptor. Again, this isn’t indicative of real-world use, but moving to 5m produced an impressive 195.73MB/s and at 10m we still saw a quick 135.73MB/s. However you connect to it, the Devolo dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac is incredibly quick. If you need to connect both wired and wireless devices to a very fast home network, it’s a great buy.
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