TP-Link 300Mbps AV500 WiFi Powerline Extender Starter Kit (TL-WPA4220KIT)

TP-Link WPA4220KIT

TP-Link WPA4220KIT

Introduction

A little while ago, we reviewed the TP-Link TL-WA850RE which extended the range of your wireless network through amplifying the existing signal. A great feature but it requires the unit to be within range of the existing wireless network. The TL-WPA4220KIT provides the same functionality but differs greatly in how it achieves this. This unit extends your network connection using the electrical circuitry, the caveat being that both units are plugged into the same circuit, a challenge only if you have multi-phase power in your environment.

Features

  • Wi-Fi Clone Button  – clone your existing wireless configuration to provide extended coverage with up to 300Mbps speeds
  • Watch HD and/or 3D content with up to 500Mbps data transmission using the devices Ethernet interface
  • Two Ethernet ports
  • Up to 300m range over the power circuit
  • Simple installation process
  • Optimised for IPTV applications (e.g. Fetch TV, Telstra T-Box, Apple TV, TPG IPTV, etc…)

Specifications

Supported StandardsHomePlug AV, IEEE802.3, IEEE802.3u, IEEE802.11b/g/n
Ethernet Ports2 x 10/100Mbps Ethernet Port
Button(s)Pair, Reset, Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi Clone
LEDsPWR, PLC, ETH, Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi Clone
Modulation TechnologyOFDM (PLC)
EncryptionPowerline Security: 128-bit AES
Wireless Security: WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK Encryption
Supported SystemsWindows 2000/XP/2003/Vista, Windows 7/8, Mac, Linux
Dimensions94mm (L) x 54mm (W) x 40mm (H)
RangeUp to 300m over electrical circuit

What’s in the box?

No surprises here, the kit comes with the following components:

  • TL-WPA4220 AV500 WiFi Powerline Extender
  • TL-PA411 AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter
  • 2 x 2m Ethernet cable
  • Resource CD
  • Quick Install Guide

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Installation

Installing the TL-WPA4220KIT is a relatively simple process. The TL-PA411 Powerline adapter is connected to your internet router via Ethernet whilst the TL-WPA4220 WiFi Powerline extender is plugged in on the same power circuit in or near where you want to use it. The following diagram courtesy of TP-Link provides an overview of how it can be configured for a typical home network environment (note: the TL-PA4010 Powerline is shown instead of the TL-PA411 that the kit contains):

Image Source: TP-Link

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Both devices need to be paired before use, this was done by pressing pair on the TL-PA411 first and then on the TL-WPA4220. Once paired, the extender can be used with the ethernet port. Next step was to configure the wireless.

Configuring the TL-WPA4220 to work with the existing wireless environment can be done at the press of a button. The WiFi Clone Button will automatically replicate the wireless configuration details necessary to extend your wireless network (SSID & password). This step should be done in the same room as the wireless router and then moved to the desired location once paired. One downside is that the extender doesn’t support 5Ghz so the only wireless network cloned was my 2.4Ghz one.

In my test environment, I cloned the wireless off my Archer D7 and placed the extender on the other side of the house. As shown below, the extender was a distance away from my initial measurement. The blue curve represents the D7 and my proximity to it.

The primary and extended wireless network

The primary and extended wireless network – WLAN_2.4Ghz

I then moved to the room where the extender was and measured signal strength of the Archer D7 and TL-WPA4220:

Archer D7

Archer D7

TL-WPA4220

TL-WPA4220

Final Thoughts

The TP-Link TL-WPA4220KIT worked as described. In a matter of minutes I had unpacked, configured and extended my home network. In my previous review, the TL-WA850RE gave a stronger signal boost but this kit at least lets me use my electrical circuit to get wireless to areas previously not possible with the WA850RE. I didn’t write anything regarding the ethernet port as it worked as expected and I had no problems playing HD content using my XBMC setup.

Personally, I find that only supporting 2.4Ghz is limiting with the increasing number of wireless peripherals operating at that frequency. One of these devices with 5Ghz support as well as Wireless-AC would be awesome. That said, at the price the TL-WPA4220KIT retails for, you would be hard pressed to find reasons not to get one if you were needing to expand your network on a budget.

 

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