I’m going to review a product that I’ve found to be super useful but never thought to purchase or implement in my house – a powerline network expansion kit. Specifically, D-Link’s AV2 2000. I don’t know why these products aren’t more popular but they should be.
Powerline adapters in general have been around for a number of years. What they do is quite simple. They use the household’s existing electrical wiring to send and receive networking information. The public’s perception of expanding wireless signal is just that – wireless, so it makes sense that most folks look for wireless network expansion kits. Folks would most likely overlook powerline adapters when they need to enable a device located in the basement or the dark corners of the house to connect to the great big ‘net outside. What makes D-Link’s latest offering stand out of the crowd is that the device promises to deliver a blistering speed of 2,000 Mbps. Most households have 100 or 1000 Mbps over cable or 1,900 Mbps over the latest wireless connections so hopefully that’ll give you an idea of what to expect in terms of speed here.
I’ve been using the D-Link AV2 2000 for about two months now. Simply put, I’m loving it. For the most part, my house is set up for WiFi and nothing but. Normally, everything works great but there is always that one device that cannot be set up anywhere near the router for one reason or another. For me, that’s my Xbox. Couple that with Bungie’s terrible servers and my Destiny experience suffers more than everyone else’s. Simply hooking up one of the AV2 2000 adapters to the router and the other to the Xbox fixed that problem. Seriously, it was that simple. Sure there were some logistical problems that cropped up when trying to set the powerline devices up, but from a technical standpoint there really was NOTHING TO DO. It was weird how easy it was. Kind of like getting pumped up for a huge match then finding out at the last second that the opposing team all quit and your team won by default. Coincidentally, hooking up the console to the AV2 2000 also resolved my problem with interference from the baby monitor. Baby monitors always have had problems with wireless devices that operated in the 2.4 GHz range.
The big technical win aside, the logistical problem I mentioned previously has to do with the way the D-Link AV2 2000 connects to the power outlet. One can argue that it’s my surge protector but the plug’s wire on all of my surge protectors are not connected in a straight line but rather tries to sit flush against the wall. It also runs diagonally from the plug assembly and due to the bulk of the powerline adapter, I could not plug it straight into the wall outlet. I couldn’t plug it in “upside down” either since the adapter uses a third prong for grounding.
Instead of coming up with some crazy and most likely dangerous solution utilizing nail clipper and paper clips, I orders a pair of these. I was in business two days later. So yes, the size of the units was a big downer here. Unfortunately, there are other characteristics that knocked my enthusiasm down for the device. The MSRP sits at $129.99 which is pretty high compared to other similar devices on the market. Typically, I saw the AV2 2000 go for about $99.99 at various online outlets and that’s still on a high side. At times, I can overlook those two dings. The bulkiness and the price tag can be overlooked if it wasn’t for the biggest knock against it of all – performance. I didn’t even get close to hitting those 2,000 Mbps speeds in testing. Maybe it’s due to the way the house is wired or maybe there was some interference but In my testing, I was able to achieve speeds that sat between 300-380 Mbps. That’s quite the gap and only slightly faster than a number of comparable powerline devices on the market today.
Whether a purchase will be made or not ultimately depends on the reader’s perception of value attached to the performance, brand name, and performance gains the product offers. In my case, if I was aware of the performance offering of the AV2 2000, I most likely would have gone with a more affordable alternative. If however, you need to have the latest, greatest, and fastest regardless of how marginal the gains in speed may be, go for it. I don’t judge. I have friends whose experiences with powerline adapters bordered on nightmares due to the fact that the devices simply did not like how the house/condo was wired. D-Link’s AV2 2000 scored high in the setup department and if the devices were to sit at a lower price point, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this product wholeheartedly regardless of its failure to meet the “2000” in its namesake.