Setup and Installation
When I was first given word of getting this kit in for review, I thought it may be a challenge and hassle to get up and running - especially since testing was to be done in a building which is around 20 years old with no new wiring. I was pleasantly surprised, though.
As you can see from the diagram above that was plucked from TRENDnet's website, installation is simple and painless.
First, you take one of the TPL-302E adapters and plug it into a power point close to where your modem and router is located. Take note that while you physically can install the power line adapter into a a surge protector, this impacts performance and TRENDnet suggests against this. We had no issues when we were testing whilst plugged into a power brick. Ideally, you'd have the TPL-302E plugged into a power point by itself with no other devices, otherwise the performance could potentially be impacted by as much as 15%, especially if something like a hair or clothes dryer is sharing a point with it (according to our contact at TRENDnet). Our contact also went on to say that there is no known electrical device which will break or stop the network, which is certainly good news. Throughout our testing, we had no issues with the network failing or getting errors at multiple tested power points.
Once you've found a place to plug in the first TPL-302E, run a network cable from it to a spare LAN port on your router. Do note that even though TRENDnet recommend using the power line network in conjunction with a router, you don't need to. As we tested, you can run a direct point-to-point connection and all you need to do is give each PC or device a manual IP (such as 192.168.0.1 on client one and 192.168.0.2 on client two) rather than automatic (DHCP) that is normally assigned by your router. This could be handy if you just want to transfer files from one PC to another and they are in different rooms or on different levels of your building / house.
Next up, once you've decided where you want to extend your network, just plug in the second TPL-302E adapter into a spare power point. The maximum range claimed by TRENDnet is 300m (or 984 feet), which is quite a distance considering that cable usually runs the most efficient path. We tested with one adapter on our first floor and one on our third floor and noted ping latency at up to 5ms. With two adapters relatively close to each other and both on the first floor, we only saw ping latency of up to around 2 - 3ms. If you can reach the full 300m using the same circuit breaker, you are obviously really rich and live in a mansion and would just get your whole house wired up with CAT6 cabling.
The kit comes with both TPL-302E adapters already paired, so it makes setup dead easy. You can add up to a total of 15 adapters inside your building (as long as each is connected to the same circuit breaker in order to be seen on the same network). After playing with this kit for a while, we wondered if it would be possible to connect up a whole street (or at least some of it) using a bunch of TPL-302E adapters. While in theory it is possible, each would need to be using the same electrical distribution system (circuit breaker or the like). This is another reason why even though TRENDnet pack in 128-bit AES data security, it is of little to no use in a home environment where the house is not shared with others.
You can easily move around the non-router connected adapter anywhere in your house, depending on where network access is required. Once you plug in the adapter, it only takes around about a second for the network connection to be established.