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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Fast data transfer
Connection quality indicator
The D-Link Powerline AV2000 uses your home’s electrical wiring to extend your wired network beyond the reaches of Wi-Fi, with speeds that get pretty close to wired Ethernet.
We purchased the D-Link Powerline AV2000 Passthrough DHP-P701AV so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Wired network connections are preferred over wireless in situations where speed, reliability, and latency are important, but building out a wired LAN can be prohibitively expensive. D-Link’s Powerline AV2000 is a more affordable alternative that provides a wired connection over your home’s electrical wiring. It isn’t quite as fast as connecting via Ethernet cable, but it’s the next best thing.
While the Powerline AV2000’s specifications are impressive, they don’t always tell the whole story. That’s why we took a pair of these adapters, plugged them in, and tested them to see if they work as well as advertised. We checked things like how easy they are to set up, whether they’re likely to get in the way of other electronics, real-world transfer speeds, and more.
D-Link’s Powerline AV2000 is more about function than form. The design is minimalistic almost to a fault, with a basic, white, plastic body, a few indicator LEDs, an Ethernet port, a sync button, and an electrical pass-through. It’s also available in a slightly larger version that costs a bit less and doesn’t come with the pass-through.
Due to the bulky nature of this powerline adapter, the pass-through is a nice touch. The version of the Powerline AV2000 that doesn’t include a pass-through is big enough to block electrical outlets above and to either side, depending on your outlet configuration, making it a bit of a pain to use in a lot of situations.
Since you can’t plug these into a power strip without suffering a massive hit to data transfer speeds, it’s really nice to have the option to plug a power strip or any other device into the pass-through. Out test unit included the pass-through, and we highly recommend spending the extra money to get the version of the hardware with this feature.
Setting up a wired network with a set of D-Link Powerline AV2000 adapters requires absolutely no networking experience or knowledge. The setup process requires you to plug one adapter into your modem or router with an included Ethernet cable, plug the other adapter into your computer, game console, or any other device that has an Ethernet port, and then plug both adapters into power.
Setting up a wired network with a set of D-Link Powerline AV2000 adapters requires absolutely no networking experience or knowledge.
Once you have the adapters plugged in, they automatically detect each other and establish a network connection. You can verify that this process is in progress by watching the LEDs on each adapter, which will light up when the device is powered on, when a network connection is established between the adapters, and when a connection is established between the adapter and the device it’s connected to via ethernet cable.
Each Powerline AV2000 adapter also includes a button that you can press to establish a secure connection. This isn’t necessary, but it’s still very easy. To get started, you push the button on one adapter for two seconds. You then have two minutes to press the corresponding button on the other adapter. The adapters will then established a secure connection using 128-bit AES encryption.
D-Link Powerline AV2000 adapters use the HomePlug AV2 specification, so they’re nominally compatible with other AV2 devices. In practice, and when using the secure network function, they work best with other D-Link Powerline AV2000 adapters.
Each Powerline AV2000 adapter also includes a button that you can press to establish a secure connection.
Since they use the HomePlug AV2 specification, these adapters are able to take advantage of multi-in multi-out (MIMO) with beamforming. This represents a massive improvement over the other HomePlug AV1 specification, both in terms of speed and the maximum distance between adapters.
These adapters are built on the excellent Broadcom BCM60500 chipset, which is used in some of the best powerline adapters on the market. The theoretical maximum network transfer speed is 2Gbps, but these adapters are limited by their 1Gbps ethernet ports and also the realities of home wiring.
We first measured a download speed of 300Mbps on our network using a wired Ethernet connection. We then tested the D-Link Powerline AV2000 adapters, with both plugged into the same circuit, and measured a download speed of 280Mbps. With so little difference between each measurement, it’s clear that the D-Link Powerline AV2000 adapters are the next best thing to a wired Ethernet connection.
These adapters are built on the excellent Broadcom BCM60500 chipset, which is used in some of the best powerline adapters on the market.
When tested on data transfer within the network, we measured a maximum transfer speed of 350Mbps. That’s not exactly gigabit, and speeds drop off significantly when the adapters are plugged into different circuits, but it’s still one of the fastest powerline adapters we’ve tested.
These devices are plug and play, so most users won’t ever have to worry about software, and there is no software included in the box. If you ever do need to change any settings or update the firmware, you can download a PLC utility from D-Link’s official website.
The D-Link PLC utility has to be run on a Windows PC that’s connected to the same network as your Powerline AV2000 adapters. It’s fairly simple and provides a few management and diagnostic tools. You can update the firmware of your adapters to the latest version, diagnose a malfunctioning system, change the encryption key used by your devices, or provide custom names for each adapter.
The D-Link Powerline AV2000 adapters are priced on the upper end of the scale for similarly equipped adapters. The version that doesn’t come with a pass-through has an MSRP of $130 and usually sells in the $100 range. The pass-through version that we tested has an MSRP of $160 and usually sells for around $110.
The typical street price for these adapters is pretty close to the competition, but the MSRP is significantly more expensive. Since some competitors, like Extollo, make adapters that are even faster than these, it’s likely that you’re primarily paying for the brand name rather than better performance.
The D-Link Powerline AV2000 adapters beat most competitors in terms of sheer performance, and the slightly higher price tag is mostly justified by high transfer speeds and reliable connections. The main exception is the Extollo LANSocket 1500, which was a bit faster in our tests, and has an MSRP of just $90.
Compared to the Netgear PowerLINE 2000, with an MSRP of $85, the D-Link Powerline AV2000 comes out on top in terms of transfer speed. However, the difference might not be enough to justify the price gap, especially if you have a home internet connection that’s on the slower side.
The TP-Link AV2000 is another competitor that has a theoretical top speed of 2Gbps, but falls short of that in real-world testing. It’s also a bit slower than the D-Link Powerline AV2000, and doesn’t have an electrical pass-through, but it’s also less expensive with an MSRP of $90.
Buy it on sale, but take a pass otherwise.
The D-Link Powerline AV2000 is a great powerline adapter, but it isn’t the best. We found that these adapters are extremely easy to set up and use, and they provide fast transfer speeds, but there are alternatives that are both faster and less expensive. If you can find a pair on sale, then the price concern goes out the window, and this is a great product to own. Otherwise, take a look at the Extollo LANSocket 1500, which is both faster and less expensive.