There's now a huge range of powerline adaptors available, ranging from older AV200 standard models all the way up to Zyxel's PLA5215 which are rated at 600Mbps. The latter are the fastest we've seen, and were able to top 30MB/sec when transferring a video file in our testing.
While the faster speeds are welcome, there are still huge discrepancies both in terms of the advertised versus real-world speeds and indeed with the speed ratings between manufacturers too. By the former, we mean that while Zyxel advertises its PLA5215 powerline adaptors as 600Mbps, even in perfect conditions it was unable to achieve half of this, with a more typical scenario seeing barely a sixth of the advertised speed.
Zyxel is by no means alone - every powerline adaptor we've tested has yielded similar or worse results. However, it's also worth remembering that just because a powerline adaptor has a faster speed rating, it doesn't mean that it's faster. For example, many 200Mbps adaptors we've reviewed have actually performed better than cheap 500Mbps models. There's such huge variation (and borderline skulduggery) going on that unless you actually look at the numbers included in reviews like this, you'll possibly be making a poor purchase.
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With that little nugget or two of advice out the way, lets take a look at the reason we're here, which is TRENDnet's TPL-407E 500Mbps powerline adaptor. We're looking at the dual kit - TPL-407E2K, which is currently retailing for a very reasonable £40 in the UK, however additional single adaptors are also available for around £25 should you need to hook up another room.
At face value, £40 for a dual set of pass-through 500Mbps powerline adaptors certainly seems like a good deal; Devolo's equivalent set costs £60, Zyxel's PLA4211 a little less than that and the all-conquering Zyxel PLA5215 cost twice as much at £80.
The TPL-407E's are very compact at just 55mm x 78mm x 68mm (w x d x h) making them the shortest pass-through powerline adaptors we've seen - great if you have low-lying mains sockets. The software that's included is fairly basic and not essential to getting them working, which, as per usual, is pretty much a plug and go affair. It does allow the upgrading of the unit's firmware, although months after their initial launch, there's still nothing new, unlike Devolo, who seems to roll out upgrades every other month at least.
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Apart from this there's very little else worthy of note, except for the disappointing fact that there's no Gigabit technology inside these units. In fact, the TPL-407E's only connect at 10/100 speed and this is even stated on the box, right next to the big label saying AV500. So right away we know that the absolutely maximum throughput is going to be 100Mbits, which equates to just 12.5MB/sec.