TP-Link TL-PA211KIT

TL-PA211KIT TL-PA211KIT
Please click on thumbnails for bigger images

Our sample unit is with EU plugins, but the product is available also with US, AU and UK plugins.  An ethernet cord is plugged in the bottom section of the unit while the powerplug is plugged in the upper section. The product is white in color fromthe top and the sides are black plastic. Linking the adapters with each other is easy.  Simply plug them both in power cords and press “pair”-button from the first unit. Within 2 minutes you need to press the same button from the other module to make a pair with the modules. After that is done, the ethernet connection between the modules should be made and no further tweaking should be required.

TL-PA211KIT
Please click on thumbnails for bigger images

There are three leds indicating traffic, power and ethernet cable connection. As you can see, all the leds have different pictures in them so noticing which led is which is quite easy.

Testing:

Testing was done using following systems:

Lenovo Thinkpad T61 2GHz C2D / 4GB
HP TC4400 2GHz C2D / 4GB

Thinkpad T61 was plugged in straight to the Zyxel Gigalan switch while HP TC4400 was plugged in to the same switch using TL-PA211KIT between the switch and the computer.

TL-PA211KIT

As we can see, the filetransfer speeds aren’t mindblowing. Sure they are enough for everyday home use, but transferring files from fileserver in LAN or streaming 1080P HD video might be problematic. Download speeds at about 4MB/s and upload speeds around 3MB/s are nowhere near the promised speeds and even the 10/100 ethernet connection could do better.

UPDATE:

TP-Link TL-PA211KIT
After discussing about slow transfer speeds with our contact at TP-Link we got some more information about the product. We did the tests again and were able to have over 190Mbps link speeds and about 10MB/s real life speeds. It seems that if you plug the adapters to different phases (in case you have 3 phase power supply system in your home) the speeds drop dramatically. Also worth noticing is that transfer speeds may be affected by hair dryers, microwaves and other high frequency products. Also if you plugged the products using extension cords, we noticed dramatic drop in transfer speeds.

Unpacking:

Conclusion:

TL-PA211KIT is an interesting product. Ethernet over powerline is not a new invention. This kind of products have been available on market for many years now, however the speed and reliability have increased with time. TP-Link promised the maximum of 200MB link speed between the modules, which is quite weird as each of the modules only have 10/100 connection in it. However 200MB link makes it possible to use full duplex speeds in its full capacity. We managed to get around 30Mb/s – 40Mb/s speeds with this product in both upload and download speeds. It’s not bad considering ethernet over powerline is always a compromise solution. So if you want to make your homenetwork easily and with quite a good speeds, this product just might be for you.

UPDATE:

With 190Mbps speeds achieved the TL-PA211KIT is much more attractive product than previously stated. Transfer speeds are now on par with 100Mbps network and should be enough for normal homeuse.

Pros:
+ Easy to install
+ No drivers required

Cons:
– Not as fast as promised (check update for more details)
– only 10/100 ethernet ports

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Comments

  1. Mike Velez says

    I have had some experience with PLMs in the past, and can give a few hints for connectivity/throughput. 

    UPS’s – avoid plugging PLM’s into these.
    Surge strips/protectors – avoid plugging PLM’s into these. 
    Separate Phases – try to avoid this.
    Extension cords of any kind – try to avoid these.
    Outlet “splitters” – avoid these. 

    Basically, always plug directly into the wall outlets. any sort of bypass/passthrough will hinder or completely negate connections. these units can be extremely positive, if used properly, in my experience.

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