Bundle and Packaging
The bundle of the TRENDnet 200Mbps Powerline Home Networking Kit is rather basic, but having said that, it is enough to get you up and running. The asking price tends to be under $120 USD according to the online retailers we visited at our price search website, which is fair for what you get here.
Starting off the bundle, you get two TPL-302E power line network adapters, which work from AC 100 - 240 VAC, meaning that they will work in all countries. They are light weight and plain, yet stylish - so they won't look out of place or ugly when plugged into your power point.
The adapter isn't small, probably the same size as the power point itself or a tad bigger - keep it mind it will block one and maybe the other points on the power point.
The adapters include 128-bit AES hardware encryption, but just like wireless, it comes disabled and you must turn it on using the included software utility. We kept all security disabled throughout all testing, as we weren't working with sensitive data and reckon it would be extremely difficult for someone to logon to the network since we aren't in a shared building and have our own circuit breaker box, which is also not shared with anyone else.
There are three LEDs on the TPL-302E - power indicates when the device is on and working, HomePlug indicates that two or more TPL-302E adapters are connected in your building (and connected to the same power circuit breaker box) and that they can see each other and whether or not they are paired and Ethernet indicates network traffic.
Finally, there is a Connect/Reset button on the TPL-302E which is used when allowing new TPL-302E adapters to be accepted in your existing power line network. Just hold down the button for three seconds on an existing TPL-302E at the same time as the newly added TPL-302E and it will pair and be allowed access.
Next up, there is a multilingual Quick Installation Guide that runs you through the process of setting up your power line network. I had a quick glance through just to see what it had to say, since this is my first time working with this type of networking, but even for beginner computer users, it should not be too hard for you to setup yourself - I have confidence that my parents could do it easily. Advanced users won't even need the guide and will be up and running within minutes or less.
Following on, we have a CD-ROM which includes the more in-depth User Guide along with the included utility, which we will look at more closely later. No drivers are required. Finally, two 1.8m CAT5 cables are included to connect the first TPL-302E adapter to your router and the second to your PC or other device. We would have liked to have seen CAT6 cables included since they are the fastest available right now, but having said that, in our testing we did compare using CAT5 and CAT6 cables for interest sakes and saw no performance difference. And adding in CAT6 cables would only increase the price of the package.
Now that we've covered the bundle and the kit, let's move onto the setup and installation.