TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter Review @ ModSynergy.com
When it comes to ways one can connect their computers to the Internet, most people know of two ways; one being through the standard wired LAN port, and the other wirelessly through a Wi-Fi router.
These two options are most prevalent in today's computing world, for both consumers and businesses. We know that wired connections are the best in terms of overall speed and latencies, those who play online multiplayer games can attest to this, as they need lower ping rates (which wired connections provide) to have the smoothest online gaming experience. Those also streaming HD media through their network can also attest to wired connections offering the best speed and latencies, this means less buffering and less lag.
On the flip side with Wi-Fi, it's the convenience of no wires that attracts people to use a wireless router instead, so that we can connect to the Internet virtually anywhere our home with a Wi-Fi adapter. No one wants to be running 100 or 200-FT Ethernet cables to the next room in order to have Internet, I used to do that back in the day and it was both inconvenient and downright ugly.
There's a problem with Wi-Fi though, we have all come across the issue at one time or the other, the issue of range. Wi-Fi signals don't come with infinite range, there's theoretical limits and there's reality. Reality is that there's a number of barriers that affect Wi-Fi range in our homes and businesses, for example, the materials inside our homes, cement walls. There are Wi-Fi dead zones in every place, there's only so far you can reach, distance is always the enemy.
There are various wireless routers on the market today, some come standard with 1-3 antennas to boost wireless range, heck if 3 antennas wasn't enough, there's a wireless router on the market with 6 antennas so that wireless range can be boosted! However, those are just too expensive. The stronger your wireless signal, the faster you can download and or transfer files through your wireless network. The opposite happens if too low of a wireless signal, overall speed suffers.
What happens if to no avail you struggle to get solid wireless signal in your home? There are Wi-Fi dead zones in certain places. Homes aren't as small as they used to be, everything is larger and that means more distance between your wireless router and the computer or devices that requires Internet that happens to be sitting in the basement, or the second, third level of your home.
Today I'll be sharing with you about a new way, a third way you can connect your computer and or Internet enabled device to the Internet. It's called Powerline networking, sometimes known as Home Plug, and uses the electrical wiring in your house to create a wired network.
No longer will you have to run super long Ethernet cables down to various parts of your home that don't have Internet, or if there's a Wi-Fi dead zone in your home. Or let's say you wanted to have Internet in your garage... Now all you need is one of these Powerline networking adapters connected to your router, and another Powerline adapter connected to your desired device or computer with any short Ethernet cable to get up and running, best of all it's very easy to set up, even for beginners.
TRENDnet is a name that is known within the networking industry, though most regular consumers I imagine probably haven't heard of them like some of the other bigger networking names. TRENDnet has a 24-year history in creating and offering network solutions with great value along with performance.
Today I'll be reviewing the TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter that will allow you to add to your existing TRENDnet 500Mbps Powerline network, and have up to 4 Internet ready devices connected to the Internet in short order.
The TRENDnet TPL-4052E is a model that you'd want for your entertainment cabinet, for example, to connect your Smart HDTV, Apple TV, FireTV, any Media Player, game console, Blu Ray player, Internet ready devices to the Internet. With TRENDnet Powerline network products, you can expect plug and play operation with TRENDnet's Auto Connect Installation that is featured on all of their Powerline products.
Remember that you need at least 2 Powerline adapters to create a network, so for example, you could pair this up with the recently reviewed TRENDnet TPL-407E2K Powerline 500 AV Nano Adapter in order to create a wired Powerline network. Additionally a Powerline network utilizes your homes electrical outlet to create a wired network essentially removing the need of running long Ethernet cable runs to various areas of your home. And if you experience Wi-Fi dead spot zones in your home, or just want a more speedy and reliable solution compared to wireless connectivity, Powerline networking could be just the solution you've been looking for.
We'll walk you through everything and see how good it really is.
TRENDnet's vision is to build innovative, easy to use, and reliable Networks People Trust™. TRENDnet solutions network the countless devices which enable your connected lifestyle and workplace. Building award winning networking solutions since 1990, TRENDnet connects you with what you value most.
Founded in Torrance, California, TRENDnet has grown to become a leading global networking hardware brand. From the network core to the periphery, TRENDnet's expansive product portfolio includes Wireless, Wired, Surveillance, Connectivity, and Peripheral device categories. An emphasis on continual improvement and our ISO 9001:2008 quality management certification is an essential component of TRENDnet’s success. The TRENDnet brand is consistently recognized for exceptional quality, superior performance, and responsive support.
TRENDnet TPL-4052E Product Features
TRENDnet TPL-4052E Product Overview
TRENDnet’s 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter, model TPL-4052E, uses an electrical outlet to create a 500 Mbps Powerline network. Two adapters are needed to start a network. Connect network ready TVs, media players, game consoles, and computers to the four Ethernet ports. No CD installation required—encrypted TRENDnet adapters auto-connect out of the box.
This adapter will automatically connect to other TRENDnet Powerline AV adapters with no installation required—TRENDnet recommends pressing the ‘Sync’ button to automatically change default encryption keys. Power Save mode reduces electrical consumption by up to 80%. Quality of Service technology prioritizes video, audio, and online gaming. LED displays convey device and port status for easy troubleshooting. Advanced AES encryption secures your network. This adapter is ideal for use in buildings that interfere with wireless networking signals.
TRENDnet TPL-4052E Product Specifications
The TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter comes in a cheerfully designed eco friendly packaging where it utilizes paper instead of plastic, making recycling easier and effective than if plastic were used. TRENDnet specifically points out that their products packaging contains a minimum of 80% recycled materials.
We live in a plastic world, with enormous amounts of plastic filling up our landfills, and since there are many variations of plastic, not all plastic can be recycled at local recycling facilities, therefore they just sit and take up space in landfills. But with paper having a single variation, it's easier and able to recycle at any center. The box takes advantage of a bright orange and black background to make it stand out on store shelves.
Front of the box displays the product image of the 4-Port Powerline Adapter included in the package and gives brief information to what this product can do for you. The box has a QR matrix barcode on the box that once scanned with your Smartphone, allows you to view product information directly on the TRENDnet website, a neat touch for customers browsing on store shelves, however, useless for those without.
Unlike the single port TPL-407E2K Nano starter kit we just reviewed, this 4-Port TPL-4052E does not feature an integrated socket receptacle Pass-through, which is a crying shame considering the Powerline adapter is significantly larger, could have easily had it, and the lower model single port version has one. No Pass-through outlet means you cannot plug another device or power bar into it, you effectively don't have a third power outlet that compensates for the receptacle the unit occupies.
The box also mentions that this kit supports up to 500Mbps. But what that really means is that the 500Mbps speed is in relation to the Powerline network link speed between adapters. This is shown on the side of the box with the asterisk. It states 500Mbps is the maximum theoretical Powerline data rate. Actual throughput may vary by circuit wire condition. The actual Ethernet port on the TPL-4052E are 10/100Mbps ports. For most of you this won't really matter so it's not really a big deal if you just want an Internet connection. But for those of you specifically looking for a faster Gigabit connection, or specifically looking for a specific rate, you already know you need to look elsewhere.
The front of the box also mentions that the TRENDnet TPL-4052E offers Encrypted connection when in use. TRENDnet utilizes 128-Bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) so you can be sure your network won't be broken into. A default encryption key is utilized among all TRENDnet Powerline adapters, however, they recommend pressing the ‘Sync’ button to automatically change default encryption keys.
Why Powerline networking? Well for starters, a wired connection gives you the lowest possible latencies and better overall speed compared to a wireless network, and that's not taking into consideration if your wireless signals are weak. Every home or business with a wireless router has a weak wireless spot, a dead zone for Wi-Fi signals. Powerline adapters don't have to deal with this, a benefit of Powerline networking.
The box doesn't really have a full set of technical information, that's why the QR matrix barcode is provided. Turning the box over reveals only a basic overview given in multiple languages and a diagram that describes how you would connect the Powerline adapters to create a wired network. Compared to D-Link Powerline network products we've already reviewed, I like how their box had compatible Powerline adapters listed on the box so you know what the device was compatible with for future addition to your Powerline network. This TRENDnet box doesn't have those details on the box, forces you to go to the website. The box should have more information in general, they easily have the space.
About the only negative about the package that I don't like is that it could be using less paper real estate. Maybe they strategically want more shelf space in stores.
The contents of the TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter are as follows...
Powerline networking products don't come with much of a bundle as there's nothing else you need other than the Powerline adapter and the possibly supplied Ethernet cables. Thankfully an Ethernet cable is included with this kit. Frankly, you don't need a Quick Install Guide or CD-ROM either, since set up should be as simple as connecting one end to your network router, and the other end wherever you want the connection to be made. I didn't read the Quick Install Guide, nor did I use the CD-ROM, and I got the Powerline network up and running right away.
That's the beauty of Powerline networking, it's essentially a 3-step process. All you're really doing is 1. Opening the box, 2. Connect one Powerline adapter to the router, and 3. Connect other Powerline adapter to the computer or device you need Internet on.
For a person without some technical knowledge, a wireless router setup is daunting and will always usually go wrong, heck even those quick automated setup CD's that come bundled with routers don't always work out with beginners. I've been on numerous calls with customers trying to set up a wireless router to know that they just don't know what they are doing, and that it's very confusing for them to know and complete what needs to be done. Powerline networking really simplifies everything tremendously, it's a solution I'm now recommending to beginners, and even to those professionals who already have the know-how, because to get up and running is lightning fast.
The TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV adapter measures approximately 4.1 x 3.0 x 2.2 inches so it's quite wide. The good news is that it won't take up two power outlets if you plug it into the bottom outlet of the receptacle. Again, I would have loved to see a built-in power outlet pass-through on this model, but unfortunately that isn't the case.
The TRENDnet TPL-4052E is draped in matte white color and is constructed entirely out of hard plastic, aside from the metal used on the electrical prongs. Unlike the TPL-407E2K I just reviewed, which is the single port version with built-in power outlet pass-through, this one looks nicer visually as it doesn't look like a toy.
The front of the TPL-4052E contains 6 LED's, either green, amber, and red with respective symbols beside to differentiate what they are. From top to bottom is the Power LED, Powerline LED, and Ethernet LEDs port 1 to 4. There's nothing else worth noting up front aside from me nitpicking to have the symbol names illuminated.
The Power LED indicates that the device is receiving electrical power, the Powerline LED indicates that the device is connected to the Powerline Network (green being the best link rate quality, amber being better link rate quality, red being good link rate quality), and lastly the four Ethernet LEDs indicates which port is linked and operational.
Again, in order to create a Powerline networking you need at least 2 Powerline adapters in order for them to sync up and create a wired network. So use this 4-port version in conjunction with another 500Mbps TRENDnet Powerline network adapter, such as the TPL-407E we previously reviewed. The TPL-4052E will enter Power Saving Mode automatically after extended periods of Ethernet inactivity.
The backside of the TRENDnet TPL-4052E contains the electrical prongs that will be inserted in your wall electrical socket. A sticker at the bottom provides the brand name, model number, serial number, and regulatory information of the product. The product is made in China. Specifications say that the maximum power consumption is only 6.4W max and Standby 0.97W max, however, in my testing with the Belkin Conserve Insight Power Meter, I only ever experienced between half of the 6.4W rating being used from the wall, so regardless it's all very cheap to operate in a 24/7 basis.
The sides of the TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline adapter contains vent holes to allow heat to be dissipated from the adapter and run as cool as possible. Under operation the units never become hot, only lukewarm at the most.
Coming to the bottom we find four 10/100Mbps LAN connector ports.
On the left side of the unit we find the Sync button and the pinhole reset button. Use the Sync button to use another encryption key other than the default one from the factory, to prevent unauthorized access to your Powerline network if you're in a scenario where you're electrical lines are being shared.
This adapter automatically connects to other TRENDnet Powerline AV adapters with no installation required. TRENDnet recommends pressing the ‘Sync’ button to automatically change default encryption keys.
Set up should be as simple as 1-2-3.
1. Open the box and gather TPL-4052E Powerline Adapter and connect Ethernet cable to the Powerline adapter, either LAN ports 1 through 4. The other remaining ports, you must supply your own Ethernet cables.
2. Connect a TRENDnet 500Mbps Powerline adapter to your network router (be it an existing one that you already have) by plugging the Ethernet cable to your routers unoccupied LAN port, could be either port 1 through 4. Plug into electrical socket receptacle.
3. Go to the location of your computer or device that requires Internet connection, anywhere in your home, and connect the remaining Ethernet cable to that device. Plug TPL-4052E Powerline adapter to the electrical socket receptacle you desire.
Connection is now fully complete. Enjoy the Internet!
Here are some further example diagrams of how it would be to connect in different rooms and situations..
A bit of Powerline Networking Do's and Don'ts
Powerline networking won't work for everyone, however, it should work for most people. Most homes dating back 15 years should work with Powerline networking. Older homes 35-100 years old may not work with Powerline networking because of either old wiring, interference, bad wiring, corroded wiring, poor grounding, split phase difference due to wiring, many more variables.
A few do's and don'ts to consider...
1. Connect Powerline devices to electrical outlets that are not controlled by a wall switch to avoid accidentally turning off power to the device.
2. Do not connect the Powerline devices to an extension cord, surge protector, or power strip as this might prevent it from working correctly, or reduce the network performance.
3. Avoid using the Powerline devices in an electrical outlet that is located near an appliance that uses a lot of power, such as a washer or dryer, or a refrigerator. This may prevent the adapter from working correctly, or negatively impact network performance.
4. Verify that your Powerline devices are electrically rated to operate with the power available in your location.
5. To help prevent against electrical shock, be sure to plug the power cables into properly grounded electrical outlets.
6. The Powerline device is equipped with a three-pronged plug to help ensure proper grounding. Do not use adapter plugs or remove the grounding prong from the cable.
7. Powerline devices need to be plugged into power outlets that are on the same electrical system.
8. GFCI outlets and AFCI circuit breakers may degrade Powerline network signals.
9. Noise – Generated by appliances which use your electrical system (e.g. Microwaves, ovens, blow dryer, iron, dishwasher, etc.). The quality of your household electrical wiring may also cause additional noise on your electrical system.
10. Distance – Long lengths of electrical wiring
Results - How does it work?
For me at least, Powerline networking with the TRENDnet TPL-4052E was without major incident once I found which electrical socket receptacles at certain locations that worked best. I did experience all that could happen with Powerline networking, the good and bad.
For the most part, the TRENDnet TPL-4052E has done everything it said it would without problems, and overall I've been very happy with it.
Installation was a breeze, I created a wired network through Powerline under 5 minutes. I didn't need to read the Quick Installation Guide nor did I have to use the included CD-ROM.
Once the TPL-4052E Powerline adapter was plugged in, the synchronization between the existing TRENDnet Powerline adapters would always be quick. The Powerline LED would become illuminated within a few seconds of plugging in, and the Ethernet LED would illuminate shortly thereafter.
Mind you, my home is around 15 years old, so the wiring is not entirely old. Again, your experiences may vary, there's so many variables, but for the most part they should work in most homes.
I did experience a few situations within my home that Powerline networking did not work at all. This was mostly in certain areas in my basement, which to my knowledge was not professionally done from the previous owner. So I don't know how they wired the basement and if they created new electrical nodes or just tapped into existing ones. I know the previous owner added extra electrical receptacles around the basement that were not originally there when the house was built. The Powerline network LED did not come on at all.
Some other receptacles around my home, the Powerline network would work for a couple of hours without issue and then all of a sudden the Powerline network LED would disappear. It would take about 5 minutes for the Powerline network LED to reappear and for the connection to work again or either I had to manually unplug and re-plug back to make it work.
Then there were other parts of my home where I had zero issue with Powerline networking. It would work 100% without issue and have zero down time.
Other parts of the home, I noticed that intermittently the Powerline LED would change between Amber or Red to indicate that the link rate quality was not the best but better and good. Internet would still work at a good speed, though when it was red, the speed noticeably dropped quite a bit.
One of the ways I tried using the TRENDnet TPL-4052E in my home is with my VOIP phone. I have my modem and router in the far end of the first floor, and have the Powerline adapter connected in the second floor opposite side of the house and connected to the VOIP adapter and phone and have had zero issues. It's been reliable and great. I tried connecting the VOIP adapter, my laptop, Xbox 360, and HDTV all at the same time and had zero issues.
The next thing I tried was having Internet in my garage. My Wi-Fi signal is spotty at best in my garage, I get dropouts in the signal. It's just bad in there. However, the TRENDnet TPL-4052E Powerline adapter allowed me to get Internet in my garage and with speed that was very fast as if my modem was in my garage. So for those of you who have DVR's in the garage, be rest assured it can work with the TRENDnet TPL-4052E.
Where Can I Buy One? And for How Much?
The TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter can be found on sale right now for $39.99 (20% off) with free shipping through Amazon! That's easily the best price of any 4-Port Powerline adapter, of any manufacturer, I've seen on the market right now...heck the other guys have their 1-port variant for the same price as TRENDnet's 4-Port TPL-4052E Powerline adapter. Amazing really.
Why do I like Amazon? They are fast, reliable, honest, and return policy is great. I actually got money refunded back to my account after Amazon overcharged me on duty costs, talk about being an honest company, most others would keep the money and not say anything!
If you are thinking of purchasing the TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter, please use our Amazon link, it will help us out greatly!
Some Amazon Deals That May Interest You!
My experiences with the TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter have been generally positive. The greatest part is the aggressive price point. Why pay more money for a single port adapter when you can have 4-ports for even less with this TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter.
I think it's great that I got to experience the good with the bad with the TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter, so that I can relay that information on to you my readers.
All in all, I can absolutely recommend the TRENDnet TPL-4052E 4-Port Powerline 500 AV Adapter. For the super aggressive price and all around great performance, the TRENDnet TPL-4052E is worthy of our Editor's Choice Award!