Over the past couple of years, we have seen Powerline technology emerge as a way for consumers to connect multitudes of devices without running additional infrastructure within their homes. What started with simple 500/600Mbps capabilities, has now grown into gigabit devices that promise both an increase speed and coverage.
The TRENDnet 420E2K is a Powerline AV2 1200 kit that like most kits offers pre-encrypted security enabling these devices to be plug and play solutions. Setting this solution apart from the other we have tested, the TRENDnet TPL-420E2K is our first look at 1.2Gbps Powerline. Additional features include the use of the third wire or ground to enable both MIMO and Beamforming technology giving these adapters a 5,000 Sq. Ft or 980 linear ft. coverage range.
MSRP of the TRENDnet TPL-420E2K Powerline kit is set at $131.99 with a three-year warranty.
Packaging for the TRENDnet 1200 AV2 kit carries an image of the adapters with marketing information down below.
Scope of delivery includes the adapter, Ethernet cables, and reading materials.
Looking over the adapter, we find it similar in appearance to most solutions we have seen. The front of the device houses three LEDs denoting power, Ethernet, and powerline connectivity.
The backside of the adapter carries a tag below with regulatory information. Above, you can see these adapters are utilizing all three available power connections.
This being our first AV2 1200 powerline adapter in the lab, we decided to take a look inside to see what chipset the device used. Here we found the Qualcomm Atheros QCA7500 SoC.
Above, we decided to pull out our original TRENDnet adapters to get a size comparison. As you can see the new AV2 1200 solution has gained a little weight and has shrunk by a few mm.
Included with the Powerline adapter kit is a software utility that allows you to monitor the connection rate of your adapters.
Unfortunately, after moving adapters around along with using the older 408E kit from TRENDnet, we couldn't get the utility to work at all.
In testing, we set up the TRENDnet 1200 AV2 kit three rooms apart or about 60ft with line of sight. The test period was over 15 minutes with a 10GB transfer size. As you can see over our previous solutions, TPL-420E2K nearly doubles network throughput peaking at around 400Mbps.
Like most of the powerline solutions we have seen come through the lab, the TRENDnet TPL420 offers a stable connection for those that need to connect devices in remote locations from the home router. What most solutions don't have is the ability to utilize technologies like MIMO and Beamforming to create a stronger signal, hence resulting in higher throughput for the end-user.
Build quality of the TRENDnet TPL420 kit was quite good, the plastics certainly feel like they are able to take some abuse, and upon opening the unit, we found all the solder connections to look solid. Performance of the unit was solid as well, it's certainly the quickest powerline solution we have tested, and it rivals performance seen from many 802.11ac wireless solutions.
The only downfall with I found with this kit was within the software solution that refused to work at all no matter how many times I reinstalled and rebooted. Of course, the software utility doesn't affect the performance of the adapters at all, but it does take away from the kit as a package since you lose the monitoring capabilities. TRENDnet will likely offer a fix for this soon.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||82%|
|Bundle and Packaging||88%|
|Value for Money||79%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||85%|
The Bottom Line: TRENDnet's TPL420 is a great solution for those that want to connect multiple devices in remote locations without sacrificing too much performance. The only caveat is you will need your home wiring to be fairly modern to take advantage of this boost.
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