Devolo dLAN 200 AVeasy Starter Kit review

Price when reviewed

With the advent of draft-n wireless and the Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification scheme, you might have expected powerline networking devices to go the way of the dodo. But the scarcity of products such as Media Center extenders and video streamers supporting draft-n means there’s plenty of life in the old powerlines yet.

Devolo dLAN 200 AVeasy Starter Kit review

In fact, only a couple of devices – the Linksys DMA2000 and DMA2200 – have draft-n adapters built in. Every other HD-capable media streamer assumes that if you want to watch HD, you’ll be using wired networking – and that’s where kits like Devolo’s latest dLAN 200 AVeasy come in.

Plug each device into a free mains socket wherever you need it and you’ll be able to transfer files and stream video at speeds of up to 200Mb/sec – easily enough bandwidth for streaming HD files. That’s the theory, at least.

They’re certainly very easy to set up. Encryption (128-bit AES) is applied with a couple of button presses, which is much simpler than even the easiest-to-use wireless router.

To test dLAN 200s, we hooked up a pair of laptops and ran the same set of tests as we did in our wireless routers labs a couple of months back, connecting each laptop in roughly the same location.

And though nowhere near as fast as 200Mbit/sec claim, the dLAN adapters were faster than the fastest draft-n performer, at an average of 37.7Mb/sec. They also achieve a much more steady connection: the speed varied very little in our tests, dropping an average of just 3.1Mb/sec when we moved from a connection two metres away to the garden office 40 metres away from the house. We also tested the connection’s stability by watching a 1080p WMV file, which ran perfectly smoothly in all five test locations. An impressive performance all-round.

There is one big caveat, however, and that is cost. At £89 per pair they’re not exactly cheap – nearly twice the price of a decent draft-n router.

But if you need fast, steady networking over distance, or draft-n just doesn’t work in your house, this is a good, solid alternative.

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