dLAN 500 AV Wireless+ Starter Kit Review

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As Peter Kay might say, “WiFi, it’s the future – I’ve tasted it”. You realise this is true when your relatives visit and, within minutes of crossing the threshold, proceed to pull out their gadgets and demand to know your WiFi password. This ever increasing demand on my connection, combined with keeping up with the Joneses, led me to recently splash out on a fibre broadband connection.

Having paid Sky a healthy premium for their “Pro” connection, I wanted to ensure I was getting the maximum possible speed – which is 80mb downstream and 20mb upstream. You’ll therefore understand my disappointment when I ran a couple of speed tests and discovered I could only get a download speed of around 35mb. Changing the router’s WiFi channel led to a small increase, but I was left feeling pretty peeved that I was paying for a service that I couldn’t actually get.

That’s when I decided to try connecting directly to the router with an ethernet cable. Hey presto, suddenly I was getting a download speed of around 76mb. The problem is that my office isn’t near the router and permanently running a cable across the house wasn’t an option. At this stage I should also mention that we were struggling to get WiFi in the garden (which I believe Twitter refers to as a #middleclassproblem!).

If only there was one stone with which to kill these two birds… well ok, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that dLAN 500 AV Wireless+ starter kit could be the stone I needed. This kit, from the folks at Devolo, has the potential to deliver both an ethernet cabled speed in another room (through their Powerline technology) as well as extending our network through its integrated WiFi.

But, before we go further, here is a quick unboxing video for those who enjoy them:

So, was the dLAN 500 AV the solution to our problem? In a word, yes. The beauty of the product is that, like Ronseal, it does exactly what it says on the tin. You just run the supplied cable from your router in to the smaller 500 AVplus adapter and plug it in. Then, somewhere else in your house, plug-in the larger ‘Wireless+’ adapter. I then connected my work PC to this socket with an ethernet cable and it instantly gave me the 76mb download speed I’d be after. Having the plug on the other side of the house also enabled us to surf the web while sunbathing in the garden! You simply login to the WiFi network using the name and password printed on the plug and, like the rest of this kit, it just works ‘automagically’.

dLAN AV 500 Wireless+: Why take two bottles into the shower?

I fixed my sink the other day. It was clogged and after seeking advice from a “proper grown up” (a plumber) who wanted almost £200 for the privilege I decided to roll up my sleeves, google “how to fix a sink” and carry out the repair myself. And I did. It was a magical, empowering experience and felt ready to tackle anything. Well almost everything. I don’t think all the sinks in the world could prepare me to fix my home networking situation.

devolo

I hate networking. I’m quite good with technology (I recently swapped out an iPhone battery for a friend, now that I think about it would have made a better lead in paragraph that one about sinks), but dealing with the vagaries of home networking gives me a headache. The cables, the printers, the users and their levels of access. Fortunately there’s a new kid in town. And by kid I mean dLAN AV 500 Wireless+, the first all-in-one Powerline adapter with integrated WiFi, Powerline and LAN.

By jamming all their technologies into one box you can extend you home broadband using your electrical circuit, boost wifi hotspots and plugin devices via the Ethernet ports. Plus with the ‘piggyback’ electrical socket you don’t even have to miss out on a plug socket.

There’s also an app so you can monitor what’s going on with your home network and set parental controls if you don’t like what you see.

“Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have become part of our everyday life. Using dLAN Powerline, you create a central network infrastructure that can integrate wireless products wherever you need them. This makes dLAN one of a kind, because we can ensure the highest transmission quality in every room of the home – whether cabled or wireless.”

Heiko Harbers, CEO of devolo

The devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless+ is available online now. An individual adapter costs £89.99, while the starter kit costs £129.99.