Actiontec Powerline Network Adapter Kit

By Victor Oshiro | Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:47AM


MSRP: About $50 USD

Networking over your home/office powerlines
500 Mbps performance

Product site





Great way to solve wireless performance issues
Get the internet to your console, TV, or another router
Easiest network install I've ever had

Haven't found any yet!

I just ran into a little situation with my home network. In my older home I can't get good wireless performance throughout the home. Luckily, Actiontec just sent in their Powerline Network Adapter Kit. I know most people are wondering why anyone would need this. I’m going to point out some reasons I came up with as we move through the review.

How Does It Work?

The unit ships in a small box. Inside are two adapters (each the size of about two 9v batteries set side to side) two Ethernet cables, and the instructions. That’s it. This isn’t a unit that’s going to require a visit from your local tech guru to install.

Now to the operation: Once both adapters are plugged into the wall, plug the first one into your network Ethernet port and the second one into where you’re feeding the data – your computer, game system, or even another wireless router. I know a lot of people are wondering why you would use your home’s electrical wiring to setup a second wireless router but I had just the need for this. In my older home I’ve had terrible network performance in my bedrooms. Blame the construction of my home or any number of variables but I had great performance in my living areas but the main bedroom could have been in a cave for its lack of internet access. I’m limited in what wireless router I can use as mine is provided by my ISP – to get a better antenna I need to jump up to a much more expensive performance tier. That isn't going to work for me as my current tier should more than handle my needs.

Enter the Actiontec Powerline Network Adapter. I plugged into the outlet next to the wireless router and hooked up the Ethernet and at the other end of my home I used another wireless router behind the Powerline equipment. I setup the second router to accept DHCP from the original router and I was off and running. Yes – I could have just plugged the Ethernet cable into my computer but I like that now my phone, Xbox, and any other wireless equipment work throughout my house. 

Performance and Conclusions

 I was expecting a little loss of network performance but to my surprise there is no obvious loss. The best way to test this was online with the Xbox. I noticed no lag and enjoyed the entire experience. 500 MBps is very fast - most people's network needs are far below this so you should have an experience similar to mine. 

 I've come up with a couple of different situations where this unit can help tremendously. If you have multiple floors you may find your wireless network performance degrades quickly as you move from floor to floor – add another wireless network higher in your home and you are in business. An even better use would be in a basement where wireless performance can be nonexistent. Another great use would be for a single computer (or internet TV)  far from a router. I liken this to the computer in my mom’s bedroom. And my mom could even set this network up! The only thing you may want to change is the encryption key but as shipped the preset key is able to get you off the ground right away. You can keep adding adapters to multiple areas of your mansion should you need to.

I highly recommend this as a solution for your network needs. The compact size and super easy installation makes this a no fear upgrade. I hate the dread that happens when you fire up a new network and nothing happens. 

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