The technology is plug-and-play, meaning it requires no additional setup to work. Should you wish to add another HomePlug device, however, you’ll need to sync it to the network, typically by pressing buttons on both the new and one of the existing adapters (or by typing the adapter’s unique identifier into a software utility that most vendors provide). Data is encrypted using 128-bit AES.
A HomePlug AV primer
For those who don’t follow the minutiae of HomePlug AV standards for networks that use existing electrical wiring, HomePlug AV2 (the third-generation HomePlug spec) includes both mandatory and optional components. The first wave of HomePlug AV2 products were based on the mandatory components only, which promised nominal network speeds of up to 600 megabits per second and delivered 60 to 70 Mbps in our real-world tests.
The second wave of HomePlug AV2 products utilize the MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) concept first introduced with high-speed Wi-Fi routers—hence the AV2 MIMO moniker. But this requires using all three wires in your home’s walls: line, neutral, and ground. If you live in an older home that doesn’t have grounded wiring (and three-prong outlets), you won’t be able to use this type of power-line adapter.
Even if your home has grounded wiring, you should be aware that the quality of your electrical circuitry can significantly impact the performance of power-line networking devices.
The revised Trendnet Powerline 1200 AV2 adapter kit certainly improves on the original, but the improvement isn’t enough to make it a strong contender against other AV2 MIMO kits in the same price range. Better luck next time, Trendnet.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.