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We often have clients that complain about wifi in different area’s of their apartment being weak.

While there are a number of solutions to that, such as running additional cabling, adding additional routers via WDS, using ็”ตๅŠ›็Œซ (ethernet over power) adaptors etc, we decided to try out a newish all in one solution from TP Link.

TP Link HomeAV packaging

This ties together 2 paired mini wifi routers via power over ethernet (HomeAV).
See the Chinese diagram below for a clear example.

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What does it do?

Well, you can plug one router in where your internet connection is, then plug the other router where your signal isn’t ๐Ÿ˜‰ With a bit of luck, it will connect successfully over your power lines automagically, and there is no configuration needed other than adding in your internet settings at the router side.

The units provide both Ethernet and Wifi at both ends, so they’re a good solution for both wired and wireless access.

The units we bought only have Chinese firmware at the moment, but its pretty much set, and forget for most users.

They also come reasonably well documented – each unit has a sticker with its ip address and user/pass. Yay!

TP Link HomeAV

As you can see below, one unit has 2 ethernet connectors, and the other has 1 ethernet connector.

TP Link HomeAV

The unit with 2 connectors sits at your modem side (it can also extend an existing network if you have another wifi router already).
The WAN port plugs into your modem or network (as appropriate for your needs).
The LAN port provides a network port for use.

The other unit plugs in elsewhere (eg in a suitable location where you need wifi or wired connection).

I initially thought our initial unit was faulty, as it would only pair to the second adaptor for a few seconds, then stop pinging its ip address (192.168.1.254 as per its label)

TPLink HomeAV adaptor

Turns out that once its booted up and paired, it gets an address via DHCP from the main
device, so whats written on the back of the unit no longer applies. Stumped me for a few seconds till I realised and went doh!

Here is our suitable test bed.
TPLink HomeAV adaptors

I’m pinging one device from the other –
upload

..and it works.

The units are a bit flimsy, but seem to work fine in our limited testing.

Price – RMB258 + shipping for a paired set via http://tp-link.tmall.com/ online store (price correct at time of writing)

Extra units – RMB133 (you can have up to 7 units tied together to extend your network).

I’d give these a rating of 7/10 – they’re cheap, and they work.

Further reading (and tools):
http://www.zibri.org/2009/03/powerline-ethernet-fun-and-secrets.html