Belkin Powerline AV review

Use the wires in the walls to stream HD video around your home

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Our Verdict

A solid and speedy way to network the machines in your home

For

  • Good speeds
  • Security options
  • Simple to set up

Against

  • Supplied cables are quite short

Belkin's Powerline AV starter kit consists of two adapters, two Ethernet cables and documentation.

The glossy-black finish is very much in keeping with Belkin's N1 wireless LAN range.

If you've already established a wireless network and simply need to extend it to other parts of the house, this setup will help maintain the stylish theme.

The use of Homeplug technology – the most commonly used in this country – means these adapters can be mixed and matched with Powerline devices from other companies without much trouble.

The adapter consists of a single Ethernet port located on the base of the unit and three LED indicator lights on the front. The lights aren't very bright, but are sufficient to indicate when a connection is made.

The supplied Ethernet cables are on the short side, so you may find you'll need to budget for longer cables if your main laptop is away from the mains socket. There is also a security button on the top of the unit.

Encryption is activated by default, but to change it, simply press the button on the first adapter, then wait for the LED to flash green before repeating with the second adapter. The security key will then be automatically changed.

To really get to grips with the security settings, you'll need to install Belkin's control software, which is supplied on an included CD-ROM. For most users, this won't really be necessary, however, as the Powerline works straight out of the box.

When it comes to using these devices, we found they offer fast throughput that is more than sufficient for streaming video and sharing large files. Transfer rates remain at a constant speed, even when running HD video over two floors.

We like the Belkin Powerline AV. It has a stylish and modern look, and performance exceeds all the other devices we have tested recently. It's not the cheapest option you can find out there, but if you shop around there are bargains to be had.

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