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TP-Link Powerline Starter Kit Review (TL-PA8030P)

TP-Link Powerline Starter Kit Review (TL-PA8030P)

Imagine a crazy world where those wires that have been inside your house walls since the day it was built, could be used to connect PC’s, Consoles, TVs and more to your router…and the internet. No need to worry about wi-fi signal strength, no cables trailing around the house, or having to lift flooring to hide them away. Powerline networking continues to surprise us with its speed and ease of setup. In this article we take a look at a product designed to get you up and running with minimal fuss. This is our TP-LINK Powerline Starter Kit Review (TL-PA8030P).

TP-Link Powerline Starter Kit Review (TL-PA8030P) – Packaging and Bundle

TP-Link-Powerline-Starter-Kit-Review-TL-PA8030P-box TP-Link-Powerline-Starter-Kit-Review-TL-PA8030P-bundle

For anyone who has seen a TP-LINK product before, the box styling should be fairly familiar. We get a nice clear image of the products along with plenty of specification and feature information and then we find the adapters inside, covered in a protective plastic. Bundled with the TL-PA8030P plugs we get two 2meter RJ-45 cables, a software disc and product documentation.

TP-LINK Powerline Starter Kit Review (TL-PA8030P) – The TL-PA8030P Kit

TP-Link-Powerline-Starter-Kit-Review-TL-PA8030P-AV1200

The two AV1200 adapters included in the TL-PA8030P kit are shown above and the first thing which will be noticeable to those who have used TP-LINKs previous generation powerline kits is that this edition is significantly larger at 5.2×2.8×1.7 in. (131×72×42 mm). They use an all white, plastic casing and feature perforated sides to allow in air for cooling purposes. Plug design will of course vary depending on your region but the layout on the device will be the same. So we get TP-LINK logo and speed details, logos for the status LEDs and on the back an information sticker. The three networking ports are located on the top of the device and are GB spec (10/100/1000). The final point of note is a pairing button on the left of the device, though that generally isn’t needed as we will discuss later.

In terms of powerline features we have support for HomePlug AV2, HomePlug AV, IEEE1901, IEEE802.3, IEEE802.3u, IEEE802.3ab as well as 128-bit AES encryption and our modulation technology is OFDM (PLC). The range for the kit is 300m and it draws around 6w when in use (with active power saving to reduce draw to 0.5w when not in use). This is also a 2x2MIMO kit with beamforming. Multiple Input Multiple Output functionality is part of HomePlug AV2. It improves data transfer rates by using any two electrical wire lines within a 3 wire network. Ideal with multiple users on the network.

TP-Link Powerline Starter Kit Review (TL-PA8030P) – Setup and Software

How do we set-up a poweline network? Unbox, plug in and done! Ok, so it requires a touch more thought than that but not much. Basically we plug in each unit, one near the router and one near the PC, console, whatever that we are connecting on. One RJ-45 cable runs from the router to the first plug, the other cable from the 2nd plug to our PC/Device. Turn them on and they search, sync and connect.

If for some reason that doesn’t happen, the pair buttons on the side can be used to sync everything up.

tl-pa8010p-kit-software1 tl-pa8010p-kit-software2 tl-pa8010p-kit-software3 tl-pa8010p-kit-software4

Once up and running we can view the status of the powerline network by installing a small utility from TP-LINK. This allows us to view aspects such as speed or upgrade the firmware. We can also tweak the profile to prioritise certain traffic types such as gaming or chat.

TP-LINK Powerline Starter Kit Review (TL-PA8030P) – Conclusion

Starting with the build quality and design of the TP-LINK AV1200 powerline kit we have a product which offers a good standard on both fronts. These new generation powerline adapters are larger than the previous models however they are still easy enough to hide away somewhere and overall the new curved design is nicer than the older models. These are also much more white which could please some users. The location of the gigabit ports on top of the devices is good and on this particular model we have a change which is very much appreciated. When we reviewed the single port version the LEDs were located on the sides. Now they are on the front which makes them nice and easy to see. Perfect!

In terms of value, the retail price of around £80 is decent, after all we are getting two plugs, two cables and the latest specification parts. The single port version is now £65 and that’s a full £20 less than when we first reviewed it which is great to see.

Setup too is impressive, essentially plug them in and they work. Nothing more is required, unless we want to take more control and TP-LINK’s application is simple enough to use and understand. These plugs are also backwards compatible, so anyone with the older AV500 kit will find that those automatically connect to the network created by AV1200, without reducing the speed of the new kit. We’d suggest putting the AV1200 at the router, the 2nd AV1200 at your primary device and the AV500 at any other locations you want to extend to which are less important.

As far as performance goes, the minor frustration with AV500 a couple of years ago was that any internet connection over 90-100mb was limited by the 10/100 port on the older models. Now with AV1200 we can get he full benefit of most home internet speeds (we tested up to 200mb with no issue) and our internal network speed more than doubled. Speeds will of course vary depending on your own  router, server, drives however like for like, we would say you should assume the AV1200 will be a little over 2x faster than (as an example) AV500 and will easily offer you the maximum speed of your home internet connection throughout your house.

Gold Award

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
TP-Link Powerline Starter Kit (TL-PA8030P)
Author Rating
5

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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