Devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless+ - Is This The Ultimate Homeplug?

5/27/2013 2:59:41 PM

There is a wide range of HomePlugs available, and some come with extra features to help you get more from your network, such as pass-through sockets, Wi-Fi hotspots and extra Ethernet ports. However, the Devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless+ is the first HomePlug we’ve seen that combines all of these extras in a single unit.

Devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless+

Devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless+

This makes it a great option for your living room, where you might want to connect several different devices to your network. Plug in the Wireless+ behind your entertainment center and you’ve got Ethernet ports to wire up there devices (smart TV, set-top box and games console, for example), along with a Wi-Fi hotspot for your wireless gadgets.

It’s also a great option if your router is on the other side of the house from your home office. The Wireless+ will solve the problem of a weak Wi-Fi signal and can be used to connect your laptop and phone to your broadband.

As well as integrating these useful features into a HomePlug, Devolo has also redesigned its casting so it slots into the wall socket upside down. This means that the device no longer hangs down from your socket, but sticks up instead. If you’ve been prevented from using pass-through HomePlugs because your sockets are too close to your skirting boards and the plugs won’t fit all the way in, this design tweak sorts out the problem. The downside is that Ethernet cables shoot out messily from the top of the device, rather than neatly dropping down from the bottom.

Software and set-up

Devolo’s products are unique in that they come with software to help you keep an eye on your network. There’s a Cockpit tool that provides a useful overview (as long as all your HomePlugs are from Devolo), but you don’t have to install it if you don’t want to.

Ethernet cables plug into the top of the HomePlug

Ethernet cables plug into the top of the HomePlug

Like all HomePlugs, the Wireless+ is simple to install using its default settings. However, because it includes Wi-Fi, it works like a mini router, so you can also use the software or your browser to change its defaults, such as turning the Wi-Fi off or on, and configuring parental controls so limit how long devices are allowed to connect to the Wi-Fi network. It’s not the best interface for controlling this, but it’s functional and does the job well.


We tested the Wireless+ in an average detached house and compared its performance to two alternative scenarios. In the first, we placed a standard router provided by an ISP at the telephone line’s point of entry in one corner of the house. The Wi-Fi signal strength dropped of rapidly as you moved through the house away from the router.

In the second scenario, we placed a more powerful Wi-Fi router in the center of the same house. This provided better coverage across the property, as you would get in a smaller home or from an upgraded router.

Devolo Cockpit shows the status of all the Devolo devices on your netrwork

Devolo Cockpit shows the status of all the Devolo devices on your network

We ran the Advanced Network Test tool of PassMark’s Performance Test benchmarking software (www.passmark.com) to measure the network speed in each of the two scenarios. The performance of both set-ups was tested in the same room, then in a distant room (up a floor and in the opposite corner of the house to the ISP router).

We then plugged in the Wireless+ device, testing the speed of both its Wi-Fi and Ethernet networks, and comparing them with the two Wi-Fi routers from the scenario set-ups.

The Wi-Fi results offered little surprise. The standard ISP router was reasonably fast when operating in the same room as the device it was connected to, but there was a significant drop-off as we moved across the house. There was less of difference with the more powerful router, which was actually slightly slower at close range than the ISP router, but barely dropped off at all when moving around the house, because of its central location. Using the Wi-Fi on the Devolo HomePlug saw a slight reduction in network speed over both the Wi-Fi routers when used in the same room. We’d expect that, since the HomePlug must send the signal through an extra section of wire before getting to the router, whereas both routers were communicating directly with the PC’s network adapter. When used in a distant room, the HomePlug’s Wi-Fi network was faster than the ISP’s router across the distance, but slower than the upgraded router, because it was so well positioned in the center of the house.



However, as we’ve seen before with HomePlugs, it’s when you take advantage of the Ethernet ports that things really make a difference. Plugging our computer directly into the Wireless+ saw speeds almost double when compared with even the fastest of the Wi-Fi alternatives, which is a phenomenal improvement in speed.

§  Our verdict: 5/5

§  Features: 5/5

§  Performance: 5/5

§  Ease of use: 5/5

§  Value for money: 4/5

The dLAN 500 AV wireless+ can fix a lot of network swoop. With its three Ethernet ports, Wi-Fi hotspot and pass-through socket, it’s crammed with options and is the only HomePlug device we’ve seen that will do all these things.

The Wireless+ performed impressively in our test, with the Ethernet option almost doubling the network speed of our existing Wi-Fi equipment.

If you want to get faster networking around your house, connecting your devices using HomePlugs and Ethernet cables is the best way. However, if you don’t need the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, you might be just as well off with Develo’s cheaper dLAN 500 AVtriple+ and AVplus devices, which are equipped with there and one Ethernet ports, respectively.

Product info

§  Develop dLAN 500 AV wireless+

§  Price: $134.99 each or $194.99 for starter pack (includes a dLAN 500 AVplus)


§  The most feature-packed HomePlug we’ve ever seen

§  Great performance over Ethernet


§  Expensive if you don’t need all its features in one HomePlug

§  Wi-Fi hotspot proved weakest link in our tests


§  802.11n Wi-Fi

§  3 x Ethernet ports

§  Pass-through socket

§  Buttons for turning off Wi-Fi and setting up security (WPS and HomePlug)

§  WEP/WPA/WPA2 Wi-Fi security


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