Customer Review

61 of 73 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How can so many people be misled!, 13 Dec 2012
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This review is from: TP-Link TL-PA411 AV500 Powerline Adapter - Single Pack (Accessory)
I like many others, have read the reviews on this product and went ahead and purchased three to upgrade my network.
Installation was relatively trouble free, and I got them connected. The utility provided is not very consistent and bit buggy.
Using the Utility I could see various speeds being reported in the range of 337Mb/s to 300Mb/s. However this is the speed BETWEEN the adapters which may not be obvious to some people. It is NOT the speed across the link from Ethernet port to Ethernet port. I bought these adapters so I could achieve speeds above 100Mb/s which is what my wired network supports. Gigabit (1000Mb/s) ports are quite common now. Apparently TP-Link have used 10/100 for the Ethernet port and not 10/100/1000. This means that PC to PC the maximum speed you can achieve is 100Mb/s, not 500Mb/s. I have also confirmed this by ringing technical support who confirmed the Ethernet interfaces are 10/100. The manual ALSO confirms this as well (I assumed it might be a typo). The Ethernet standard also supports full duplex at 100Mb/s so the maximum speed is 100Mb/s in both directions simultaneously, so the best this product can achieve is 200Mb/s full duplex. But for most people the bulk of the traffic is going in one direction.

It is rather like having a hosepipe connected to both ends of a drainpipe. The amount of water you can get through is limited by the diameter of hosepipe at either end, the fact that the drainpipe can carry much more water does not make any difference.

The most disturbing thing is that most people are blindly accepting the figures that the utility tells them, without understanding the system. For a remarkably unclear Chinglish explanation look here: I spent 20 minutes on the phone with them, the person on the other end did not understand Ethernet standards or the problem. I have sent in a written tech support enquiry. If I learn anything new I will add it here. These products are going back shortly. Anyone considering this product for a small network would be better off buying the 200Mbs version or putting in Cat5e/ Cat 6 and installing a Gigabit network.

I have received a written response from TP-Link slightly better than the one on the web. The only benefit of using this device is that it may offer higher bandwidth than a 200Mb/s device because the signalling method will achieve a higher throughput over a 500Mb/s connection. I have been told that there is a model with 10/100/1000 interfaces on. I have acquired two and these are my observations:
Baseline: Cat5E connecting between two computers GigE to GigE file transfers over TCP/IP achieve a rate of 185Mb/s
Insert the 511 devices in the network and run over mains wiring. The best I can achieve is 68Mb/s. This is running over fairly recent wiring too. The units are plugged into wall sockets and are running over no more than 20 metres of mains wiring. Of greater concern is that the reported speeds across the mains wiring from the 10/100 411 device reported 337Mb/s and when I plugged in the gigabit 511 version it reported a lower speed of 185Mb/s. This is using the same sockets just different products. The more expensive Gigabit version performed worse than the 10/100.

For most people these devices will work, however don't expect speeds of more than 100Mb/s half duplex over any moderate distance in a house or office. Don't interpret the utility reported speeds as the end to end speeds between the ethernet ports between routers/ servers/ clients. They are not. If you are looking for performance (Gigabit networking) then install cable CAT5E/6. It is cheaper and will yield better results.
If you don't know what your network speeds are at the application level then don't worry about it. You are unlikely to notice. For comparison: I also have a Belkin 200Mb/s system. When substituted against the 500Mb/s system it performed at 22Mb/s. The 500Mb/s in the same test achieved 68Mb/s. So both were a long way shy of their stated maximums. Both reported line rates much higher than those achieved. TCP/IP does have an overhead but it is relatively small. It certainly does not occupy 50% of the bandwidth available.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jan 2013 09:10:35 GMT
HMrz says:
Technical specs on clearly state: 10/100Mbps Ethernet Port. Anybody with a bit of common sense will understand that the slowest connection will be the bottleneck. Nothing misleading IMHO.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jan 2013 10:07:12 GMT
It is not a 500Mb/s product, it is a 500Mb/s channel which you have a 10/100 port attached to it. And yes while I agree if you look hard enough you will eventually find a spec for a 10/100 port. Perhaps you knew that already. It is not so obvious in the description for the product. If you bother to check with their technical support there FAQ is not clear either. So buying a pair of these you will only ever get 100Mb/s out of it at best. In fact my experience has been much less than this. It is being misrepresented. Judging by many people's comments who are happily quoting 327Mb/s on their pair of adapters they don't understand how they work either. That was the reason for my post.

Posted on 28 Dec 2013 14:10:34 GMT
Could Mr. Wingrove comment on the fact that the download speed of the wired connection from my bt router is only about 16 Mb/s so, as long as the speed achieved via these devices is about 20Mb/s, would that be sufficient for systems like mine.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Dec 2013 16:53:02 GMT
Yes agreed, if all of your data is going to and from the internet, then these powerline devices will most likely exceed the bandwidth and therefore will be transparent to any devices attached to them. I have 38Mb/s and they can easily cope with that. Do however go for the 500Mb/s devices, not the 200Mb/s devices to future proof yourself. - Hope that helps.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Feb 2014 22:04:51 GMT
Atomspheres says:
I have three of these set up 500mb/s and get 30meg when I do a broadband test on every site and only 20meg when I do it on wifi and all my downloads arrive very fast indeed so I do not see the problem and I see no reason to give it only 1 star.

Posted on 5 May 2014 00:04:50 BDT
I agree with Mark's comments and review. He isn't just calling out the misrepresentation, he's clearly gone to some lengths to test the item. I bought some 200 meg links a few years ago and mentioned similar in my review.

Put simply the fact that "they work for your broadband connection" is not necessarily relevant when looking at the bigger picture. 500mb powerline units cost more than 200mb ones, yet serve to provide no practical advantage in most usage scenarios unless you're using them extensively and therefore require a greater pool of potential bandwidth to share between many devices concurrently.

As such its a con and it applies to the whole market not just TP-Link. Thing is most people are clueless sheep when it comes to technology. So by all means continue on in ignorant bliss and dismiss his bringing this to light but don't downplay the issue just because your knowledge of said issue is insufficient for you to understand why it's misleading.

Posted on 12 May 2014 11:18:46 BDT
PS says:
Thanks Mark for your time on this. You're absolutely right in every respect. You say its misrepresented and back it up with knowledge and tests. I was initially going to get these or the 4220 triple pack. What got me is I couldn't see gigabit mentioned anywhere on this or the newer set of prducts. TP-Link has a set of gigabit as you mention but at closer inspection is an older product. Eventually I noticed in the pdf docs and tp-link own site product specification that it is 10/100, but also though it might be a typo especially since the manual is for a t2220 and the better t4220 . I wondered how it would ever be possible to claim 500Mbps over 10/100 ports. Then I came across your post which helped understand what is really going on - it can never get the speed claimed!
As Mark commented, if one doesn't know the speeds they intend achieving, then the chances are it won't make any difference.
People wanting gigabit, at least with me, it's not just for the sake of the connecting to the Internet or a bit of internal streaming (even if its over fibre a decent set will do it). It's so the internal network works fast. Transferring high volumes of data on the network is slow on a 10/100 network. Heck, my DSLR photographs are 50MB each! On a card with 32GB, there will be 10 GB of keepers, pushing these to the NAS would take nearly an hour over a 100 port compared to 5 minutes over USB 3.0.
On internal drives you have very fast throughput; on USB ports/e-sata its slower: i.e. on a USB2.0, transfer is around 1GB/minute; on USB3.0 it improves and I get around 2.5GB/minute. When you go over network it's slower technology (usual 30% of theoretical maximum); on a 10/100 I get continuous 30Mbps, thats 225MB/minute (5 times slower than USB2.0). On a powerline gigabit set I'd hope to achieve 10 times that figure to place transfer closer to USB 3.0.
That's why people wan't gigabit speeds, to maximise their internal network.

Hope this helps someone.
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