1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Comparable to Wireless 'n' but direct Ethernet can't be beaten,
This review is from: D-Link DHP-W310AV/B PowerLine AV 500 Wireless Extender (Accessory)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Before I get on to the review of this, D-Link's W310AV PowerLine WiFi Extender, bear in mind that it's not a standalone product and it needs one other HomePlug-compatible adaptor to work. The product blurb that came with it mentions D-Link's DHP-308AV HomePlug adaptor, but I got this at the same time as a pair of Netgear HomePlug adaptors, and the two sets have so far worked together without any problems. This is good, because if they hadn't the D-Link would be nothing more than a chunky plastic box taking up a power socket.
Shamelessly plagiarising from my review of the Netgear devices, HomePlug is an agreed standard (of sorts) for passing network traffic through the electrical wiring in your home, effectively using your home's power wiring as integrated network cabling in order to connect networked devices. Getting HomePlug devices to work together usually comprises nothing more than plugging one of the adaptors into a home power socket next to your router and then connecting it to your router using an Ethernet cable, then plugging the second adaptor into a power socket next to your PC or other networked device and connecting said device to that adaptor with another Ethernet cable. Being a lone item, the D-Link comes with only one, 1-metre Cat5E Ethernet cable.
I already had the Netgear HomePlug network up and running so I simply plugged the D-Link into another power socket, pressed the 'quick connect' button on it and the 'security' button on the Netgear adaptor next to my router, then waited around 15 seconds for all the lights on the front of the D-Link to illuminate. There are four of said lights - one to indicate that the power is on, one to show that the devices have established a network through your homer wiring, one to show that the WiFi is on, and one to indicate an active Ethernet connection. There's also an 'off' switch on the side of the D-link, which is handy if you only intend using it intermittently. What the D-Link doesn't have is an electrical pass-through, so you'll need to make sure that the mains socket you plug it into won't be missed.
Connection was, I am pleased to say, extremely painless, and the D-Link and the Netgear found each other straight away with no hint of trouble. At this point, I was beginning to think that it was all going to be plain sailing, and it was, right up until I accessed the D-Link through my web browser, as per the product manual contained on the included CD. Despite the D-Link being connected to my HomePlug network and my PC being connected to the D-Link, the browser configuration page insisted that nothing was connected. I reset both HomePlug adaptors, re-connected them and everything began working, with the browser giving me access to the device's settings. However, after only a short time the web browser interface once again began insisting that the adaptors weren't connected, so I chalked it down to experience and reluctantly disregarded it.
The W310 has another trick up its sleeve, though - not only can you connect to it with an Ethernet cable, it also transmits its own Wireless 'n' WiFi signal, so any WiFi-equipped devices can connect to it wirelessly. Once it had connected to my HomePlug network, connecting to it wirelessly with my Windows 7 PC was simply a matter of finding the correct network (which wasn't too difficult as it was labelled 'D Link'), and then entering the password on the included card.
The D-Link comes with a manual that, at first, looks ominously thick and imposing, until you realise that it's in about 20 different languages and the guide in English takes up only a very small portion of it. It's hardly necessary, though, and most people I would think will just skip past it.
Once everything was installed and running, I began testing the connection speeds with my PC. My internet download speeds are somewhat limited due to rubbish nature of my service provider, but I still value a fast connection around the home for media streaming and transferring of data. The wiring in my house is around 10 years old, so I was hoping for fairly good results; D-Link claims that transfer speeds of up to 500Mbps are achievable, but adds that this is under ideal conditions and in reality most people should expect quite a bit less.
I used TotuSoft's simple-but-effective LAN Speed Test Lite program to send packet files across my network and to monitor the speed across it accordingly. Connected directly to the D-link using the included Cat5E Ethernet cable, I managed to achieve read (download) speeds of about 56Mbps and write (upload) speeds of around 47Mbps. That sounds pretty good (and it does compare very well to Wireless `g', more on that later), but when compared with the Gigabit connection direct to my router - 246Mbps upload and 575Mbps download - it does look a little slow.
Connecting to the D-Link wirelessly, I only managed to achieve upload speeds of around 20 Mbps and download speeds of about 23 Mbps. This was when both my PC and the D-Link were in the same room, and I was expecting a little better, but both compare favourably to my router in Wireless `g' mode, which managed only a paltry 18 and 21 Mbps, respectively. Using a Wireless `n' dongle, I noted upload and download speeds of roughly 26Mbps each, compared to the 59 (read) and 49 (write) Mbps when connected wirelessly to the router directly.
The benefits of a WiFi extender if the signal from your router is weak are obvious, and if I lived in a house where the signal from my router was weak, then the benefits of the W310 might be more apparent. As it was, I managed to achieve a faster connection when connected to my router directly, rather than through my HomePlug network. A direct Gigabit Ethernet connection was understandably the fastest, followed by an Ethernet connection to the HomePlug, with wireless bringing up the rear. If you have a good router and you can manage either full Ethernet cabling or a good wireless signal, then I'd say stick with that formula. If, on the other hand, a HomePlug network is your only viable option, it's still a worthy choice and you could do worse.