Solwise NET-PL-1000M-TWIN Gigabit Adaptor Kit
It’s worth asking if this isn’t something
of a Frankenstein technology.
Unlike the other product with the ‘gigabit’
name in this guide, this one is actually capable of a 1Gbps connection
throughout the network, which makes it the fastest adaptor on test – at least,
in purely theoretical terms. Performance in the real world, of course, will
Every other feature of this adaptor class
is ultimately secondary to that. It’s as bog-standard as they come, with no
plug-through connector, a single Ethernet port, no wireless or power-saving.
You get the sense that LEDs would probably by optional if there were a way to
make it so. Still, it’s impossible to argue with the results. A low-cost,
potentially very fast network connection.
Solwise NET-PL-1000M-TWIN Gigabit
The 1Gbps connection is powered by a
much-trumpeted ‘MediaXtream’ chip, suggesting some proprietary system at work
(HomePlug AV2, let us remind ourselves, is only capable of a 500Mbps connection
under normal circumstances), but Solwise does claim compatibility with HomePlug
AV devices, which is a plus, although not HomePlug AV2 devices, which seems a
little redundant if you were hoping to use it as the basis for a faster
Of course, even under the best conditions
you won’t get speeds out of this that are comparable to gigabit Ethernet, so
it’s worth asking whether this isn’t something of a Frankenstein technology.
Sure, it’s nice that it can be done, but should it be?
The fact that it uses non-standard
protocols to squeeze out extra network speed means that in a few years it’s
probably going to be outdated and overtaken by the official HomePlug standard.
In that sense, if you need every ounce of speed in your powerlines being
utilised right now, and for some reason can’t use regular Ethernet or a
wireless connection, it’s an immediate solution to that dilemma. But in terms
of being a good idea for the future, well, not so much.
Price: $75 RRP
Adaptors included: 2
Protocol: HomePlug Gigabit / MediaXtream
The stripped-back approach offers
immediate results, but don’t start planning a future together
It’s a tough market and there’s no room
for even a hint of weakness.
Athough reasonably expensive for an AV2
solution, the TRENDnet TPL-401E2K delivers some of the fastest practical
results, although as you might expect by now, it’s typically well short of the
Beyond that, though, there’s very little
special about it. You can expect to find the usual crop of features: a single
Ethernet port, hardware security and reset buttons, no pass-through, and
indicator LEDs to help you determine the status of the device and its
connection. There’s certainly no omission that makes it a good idea to pass
over this model in favour of any other (unless you’re looking for a
multi-device solution) so in that case, the question becomes ‘why this one over
And that, sadly, is a harder question to
answer in a convincing manner. Indeed, there’s one good reason not to buy this
model, and that’s the power-saving feature. It works in the same manner as any
of the others (powering down the connection when the computer isn’t using it),
but it takes just a fraction too long to spring back into life, and that can
mean that your connection will drop entirely for a moment.
World-shattering?Hardly. But it’s something it does that others don’t, and it
is undeniably inconvenient.
So is that enough to put you off? It
probably should be. If you’re angling for the best speeds, there are AV gigabit
devices you could use. If you’re after dependable AV2 devices, there are better
ones. If you just want a network adaptor that gives you as little hassle as
humanly possible, then sorry, this isn’t it. It’s a tough market, and there’s
no room for even a hint of weakness. Sorry, but that’s just the way it goes.
Price: $130 RRP
Adaptors included: 2
Protocol: HomePlug AV2
It’s not so bad you shouldn’t accept it as
a gift, but don’t throw away the receipt until you’ve tried it out…
Devolo 1409 Wireless N HomePlug Starter Kit
Devolo 1409 Wireless N HomePlug
There’s no danger of anyone hijacking
your connection when you’re not using it.
Ethernet-based HomePlug might be cheap, but
if you’re trying to reduce the number of wires and cables in your home, they’re
far from ideal. Instead of relying on Ethernet sockets, the adaptors of the
Devolo 1409 kit each feature a built-in wireless access point, which allows you
to take advantage of the freedom of wireless networking without any of the
If you do want the security of a cabled
connection, or you want to use a device that doesn’t support Wi-fi, then you’re
still well-catered for – the adaptors each have the Ethernet ports, allowing
you to connect several wired devices in addition to any wireless ones you might
Wired connection speeds are a standard
HomePlug AV connection (200Mbps) but on full wireless mode, this can be
increased to 300Mbps. The antennas are integrated and compact, and wireless can
be switched on and off using a physical button or through the use of a software
timer, so there’s no danger of anyone hijacking your connection while you’re
not using it.
The package includes two adaptors and two
network cables, so while it’s geared towards multi-device setups, you’ll need
to pay a little more on top of the already hefty cost, if only for extra
cabling. With an RRP of almost $150, this might seem a little unfair, but the
range of features is such that you’re already getting an excellent bargain.
If you already have several devices in the
house that need network access (i.e. laptops, games consoles), are planning to
add some in the future, or you already own devices that don’t have Ethernet
support (smartphones, tablets), then the Devolo 1409 kit has comprehensive
technology support and is built to accommodate expanding networks. Costly,
perhaps, but it’s worth the investment.
Price: $150 RRP
Adaptors included: 2
Protocol: HomePlug AV / wi-fi
Perfect for large or complicated networks
– as long as you can afford it