A well-priced, no-frills set of two fast AV1200 Powerline adapters.

Powerline is an incredibly easy way to set-up your own speedy home network. Specifically, this is the TP-LINK AV1200 Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Adapter Starter Kit review (or TL-PA8010PKIT for short), which uses the latest fast Powerline chips in order to make it one of the fastest we’ve tested.

Why do you need a home network? Most of us nowadays have either a smart TV, Sky+, Apple TV, PC or laptops, games consoles, or Tivo DVR. Or all of the stated.

These come with Ethernet ports on the back so you can get super-speedy Internet connections for catch-up TV, over-the-internet gameplay, or Web access.

But your Internet router/modem is usually in a different room to all these digital home-entertainment devices. And who wants to stretch ugly Ethernet cables all over their house?

Plug one Powerline adapter into the wall socket near the router, and then connect the adapter to the router via Ethernet cable. Then take the other Powerline adapter and plug that into a power socket near the TV/Sky+, Xbox etc. You can now connect these to the second adapter via another Ethernet cable. In between the two adapters it’s your home’s electrical wiring that’s operating as the Ethernet cable.

[divider]Where the AV1200 comes in[/divider]

Set up is a breeze on just about every Powerline we’ve tested, and TP-Link’s AV1200 Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Adapter Starter Kit is no exception.

It really is Plug & Play. No need to install software or configure your settings.

The latest Powerline adapters are being hailed as Gigabit as they have a theoretical maximum speed of 1,200Mbps. Slower 500Mbps and 200Mbps Powerline adapters are also available at smaller prices.

In our tests the Gigabit Powerlines do indeed overthrow the older Powerlines, but not by doubling the speed.

Their “Multiple Input Multiple Output” (MIMO) functionality within HomePlug AV2 significantly improves data-transfer rates. It uses any two electrical wire lines within a three-wire network to boost performance.

And even the Gigabit 1,200Mbps Powerlines are unlikely to hit the theoretical max speed of the slowest.

All Powerlines are classed as either 200/500/1200Mbps but the fastest we’ve managed to get in areal-world environment is about 110Mbps. There are so many factors slowing down data transfers on electrical wiring that the reality is much less impressive than what’s printed on the box.

Don’t worry, this is plenty fast enough to boost your catch-up TV downloads.

[divider]Features and Design[/divider]

The TP-Link AV1200 Powerline Starter Kit is subtle in white but larger than many adapters as it features its own power socket on the front – which is helpful as it means you don’t give up a valuable socket by using these adapters.

The Ethernet port is at the top of the adapter, which is handy if your power sockets are close to the floorline.

The £89 TL-PA8010P KIT version of the TP-Link AV1200 features just one Gigabit Ethernet port on each adapter, unlike some of the others that boast two or three. You could add an Ethernet switch for about £20 if you need more Ethernet connections.

Also sitting in our office was a TL-PA8030P KIT (basically the same but with three ethernet ports) – so there’s always that option if you need more than one port. And the thing is; it costs a mere £7 extra.

There’s also no extra Wi-Fi on these adapters.

Some Powerline, such as the TP-LINK AV500 WiFi Kit can create a new Wi-Fi hotspot in the second room, which usually boosts wireless speeds for your smartphones, laptops and tablets.