There are many options for getting better network connections around your home, but outside of ripping off your walls and laying Ethernet cables, not many options will be very performant.
And that’s where powerline adapters come in, allowing you to use your already existing power cables to extend the network from your router to another spot somewhere in your home, however, most of what we have tried out previously have not been the be it and end all solution that we have hoped for.
Over that time there have been many strides taken in this market to improve and one of the companies doing some of the biggest strides is Devolo, who created the dLAN 1200+ WiFi AC powerline adapter that we will be reviewing today.
What makes this powerline adapter particularly interesting is not just that it extends your Ethernet connection, but it can also transmit a connection over a WiFi network at the same time, and more importantly, it can serve that WiFi network at the 2.4 and 5GHz bands whilst serving the 2 Gigabit LAN ports.
What’s more, this particular model also uses the 802.11ac standard, which means better bandwidth and higher amplitude, and it will work even if you don’t have an ac router currently, although most routers are now ac capable.
Out of the box, the starter kit that we reviewed came with two adapters and an Ethernet cable.
Both of the adapters feature their own power pass-through, allowing you to still use the plug socket, whilst something else is plugged in. That’s an awesome feature, especially if you are already low on power ports like myself.
This is also combined with a fantastic build quality that makes it feel very premium and sturdy in terms of the build itself, sadly they are a little top heavy, and they take up a large amount of space in the plug, resulting in them feeling unstable when plugging them in, and it can be rather annoying to use the second slot in a double plug socket, or use the power switch.
It would have been better to have flipped the adapter so that the Ethernet ports are at the bottom, not at the top, but they may be for a good reason.
Setting up the adapters is really easy, despite some confusing instructions.
In reality, all you need to do is plug in the primary adaptor, connect an Ethernet cable between your router and the primary adaptor and then power up the primary adaptor. After that, you can plug in the second adapter, press the sync buttons on both of the adaptors and your new powerline network should be ready to go.
That said, you can set it up further if you like, with instructions on how to set-up the powerline as its own separate network, or as an extension of your current network, the latter of which will copy your existing WiFi name and password to allow you to switch between your router and the extender automatically depending on the strongest signal.
This can all be configured via Devolo’s management application for Windows or Mac, Cockpit, which allows you to configure the settings of both adapters via an easy to use interface, as well as add more devices to your powerline network as you want, with a network map that shows all of the connected adapters.
During our testing, I found myself very pleased with the outcome of using the powerline adapter, with much faster speeds than what I have previously experienced with other powerline adapters that I have used. Devolo does this by using all three wires of the electric mains circuit for the data transfers.
That said, the results that you will achieve from this will depend on all sorts of external influences, from the location of the adapters all the way to the quality of your homes electrical wiring. In my own experience, I was able to maintain a steady connection, with great connection speeds that were sufficient enough for gaming, streaming and much more.
This Devolo starter kit is priced at £160, so it is rather expensive, but if you need a solution like a powerline adapter, over re-wiring homes then Devolo’s is definitely better than some of the other options out there, in terms of build quality and features, I would definitely recommend this solution.
You can find out more about it on Devolo’s website.
Disclosure: Devolo sent us this starter kit for review purposes.