The D-Link DHP-307AV is a powerline adaptor kit that will get broadband to the parts of your house that Wi-Fi just won't reach. But powerline has been around for a while now, and what - if anything - sets the D-Link kit apart?
The D-Link DHP-307AV powerline adaptor starter kit is the company's first powerline product to comply with the 2005 HomePlug AV specification. This is bad news for the rival Universal Powerline Association (UPA) specification which D-Link previously used, but good news for the majority of powerline users, as it means this kit is compatible with almost all other products on the market. However, if you have existing D-Link powerline adaptors, they may not be compatible.
Beyond that the D-Link DHP-307AV will be nothing new for those familiar with powerline technology. It comprises two sleek, white plug adaptors, a start-up CD and two lengths of ethernet cable. For some reason, D-Link has decided to call the individual adaptors 'DHP-306AV', and the kit 'DHP-307AV'. For the sake of your sanity we suggest that you ignore this, sit back, and enjoy the rest of the review (the ethernet cables don't have a name).
Each D-Link DHP-307AV adaptor has an ethernet port - a 10/100Mbps LAN port to give it its Sunday name - and three status LEDs. One light indicates power, another shows when a device is attached and the third lights up when you have a working network. To achieve this, you simply plug the adaptor into a wall socket and hook it up to your router. Then plug in the other adaptor where you wish to surf the web, and attach your computer. Like all powerline kits, the D-Link DHP-307AV is achingly simple to use, and fast to set up, but means that you remain tied to a cable.
Unlike similar equipment, however, the D-Link DHP-307AV doesn't have a pass-through power socket. This means that one plug point near your router, and one near your PC, will be out of commission. Note that you shouldn't use HomePlug adaptors with plug extension leads, for throughput and safety reasons.
On the other hand, the lack of a power socket on the back of the D-Link DHP-307AV means that the adaptors are relatively small. This will be a boon to those with sockets snug to the floor: because of their bulk products such as the Devolo dLan 200 AVplus we reviewed in January are impossible to fit into some low-down plug sockets. The positioning of the cable port on the righthand side of the DHP-307AV is unusual, and also helps in this respect.
A small button lets you protect your powerline network with 128-bit AES encryption. To enable a randomly generated password you press the button on one adaptor, and then do the same on the other within two minutes. You can also encrypt the network via software settings.
We tested the D-Link DHP-307AV on a broadband connection around our 1950s-built house, complete with elderly copper wiring. The D-Link kit is rated at 200Mbps throughput but as in all things Wi-Fi this figure is almost impossible to achieve. And the speed of your original web connection remains the crucial factor. In our case, media streaming across the powerline network was rock solid, and transferring even large files proved no problem at all.
We succesfully used the D-Link DHP-307AV adaptors on different floors of the building, something you're not supposed to be able to do. Even when when connecting the two furthest points of the house - which our Wi-Fi connection previously baulked at - upload and download speeds were good. Crucially, and unlike any 802.11n kit you may try, with powerline adaptors the connection remains constant (or as constant as the original connection allows).
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