D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender Long-Term Review @ ModSynergy.com
Those pesky Wi-Fi dead spots. I'm sure everyone has experienced those annoying times when you can't just seem to get a solid Wi-Fi signal. Those times when you get a brief weak Wi-Fi signal and then disappears are the worst ones, they are so frustrating! When you have a single wireless router, Wi-Fi dead spots exist no matter what you do, there's just parts of the home or business that's just too far away to obtain a fair wireless signal.
So what are your options? Do you shell out $50 for a bigger wireless antenna (if replaceable) and hope it gets the job done? Or do you shell out another $100 for a wireless router that comes with 3 antennas? Heck, what about spending over $300 for the latest wireless router with 6 (yes you read that correctly!) antennas? I don't know about you, but, I have a hard time justifying investing over $300 for a wireless router, no matter how many antennas it has on the back.
Two of our most recent reviews have been talking about a new way that you can connect your Internet enabled device to the Internet, instead of having to pull and run long lengths of Ethernet cabling to wherever you have the device and or Wi-Fi dead spot. We've been talking about Powerline networking, sometimes known as Home Plug, where it utilizes the electrical wiring in your home to create a wired network. Your home's electrical wiring essentially becomes the Ethernet cable, without the mess of cabling; I know, it sounds amazing!
The best part about Powerline networking has been the truly plug and play nature of these adapters, you literally plug them in and they work instantly without configuration. In most situations, Powerline networking either works for you or it doesn't at all. These are so much easier to get up and running for even the basic of beginners. Heck, I've even been recommending novices and enthusiasts to try out Powerline networking. You get the benefit of faster latencies and overall speed for very little compromise. The only compromise is that you do need to use just a little bit of extra Ethernet cabling, however, 3-6ft of extra cabling isn't going to do damage to your spaghetti wiring mess you already have.
D-Link is a name we all should know and likely remember, it's a name that is linked to computer networking products of all kinds. D-Link designs, develops, and manufactures networking products on a global scale. They've been doing computer networking for more than two decades, you might be running a D-Link product as you read this!
Well today I've got something a little special to share with you today. If you don't want any extra cabling at all and still want to have wireless capabilities, this solution, which is a hybrid of sorts, might be for you. It combines all that is great with Powerline networking with the convenience of wireless N networking functionality. You could say that this combination provides the balance of both worlds (without the lower latencies that a wired network provides). In theory it sounds fantastic, but what happens in real life application? In theory, in your existing D-Link Powerline network, all you need to do is plug this in exactly where you have your Wi-Fi dead spot and all should be fixed. We'll see if that is the case and tell you if it's any good. Keep on reading as I present to you the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender review.
D-Link helps you connect to more of everything with our innovative approach to computer networking. From relatively modest beginnings in Taiwan, the company has grown over the last 25 years into an exciting global brand offering the most up-to-date network solutions.
D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender Product Overview & Features
The DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV 500 Wireless N Extender allows you to extend your existing home network to enjoy high-speed and reliable connectivity throughout your home. The PowerLine AV 500 Wireless N Mini Extender features both wireless and PowerLine. This allows you to benefit from PowerLine networking, compliant with the HomePlug AV standard that uses your existing home electrical wiring to extend your home network. The wireless ability allows you to increase the area in your home where you can use your wireless devices.
Data transmission over electrical wiring
Faster wireless speeds and wider operational range
Ideal for bandwidth intensive applications
Convenient setup and secure operation
D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender Product Specifications
PowerLine modulation scheme
PowerLine frequency band
Minimum system requirements (For PC Utility Software)
Dimensions (H x L x W)
The D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender 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. 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 the signature green D-Link colors and allows it to stand out on store shelves.
Front of the box displays the product image of the DHP-W310AV Powerline Wireless N Mini Extender included in the package and gives brief information to what this product can do for you. The product is aimed at users wanting to extend their wired and wireless network coverage. It states on the box that all you do is simply plug into your electrical sockets and that no set up is required.
The model I am reviewing today is the DHP-W310AV, it contains only the Extender adapter and nothing else. You must have at least two Powerline adapters to create a Powerline network. This model are for those with an existing Powerline network from D-Link, for example, if you already have an existing DHP-308AV Mini Powerline AV+ Adapter, DHP-P338AV Powerline AV+ 3-Port HD Media Adapter, DHP-306AV Powerline AV Adapter, or the DHP-W346AV Powerline AV 4-Port Switch, then this will fit perfectly into your current D-Link Powerline network ecosystem.
Think of the D-Link DHP-W310AV Powerline AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender as a mini wireless router, because that's basically what it really is along with Powerline networking functionality.
Turning the box over reveals more detailed information regarding the D-Link DHP-W310AV Powerline Wireless N Mini Extender, what it's meant for, how it works, and what other D-Link PowerLine products its compatible with should you ever in the future need to extend your network coverage. The D-Link Powerline networking family is extensive in the products and variations available.
The contents of the D-Link DHP-W310AV Powerline Wireless N Mini Extender 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 cable. Frankly you don't really need a Quick Install Guide either, since set up should be as simple as connecting one compatible Powerline adapter end to your network router and the other (this DHP-W310AV Powerline Wireless N Mini Extender) end wherever you want to extend and have your wireless connection to be made.
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 the other Powerline adapter to the location of where you desire wireless Internet connectivity to be established, preferably this is where your Wi-Fi dead spot occurs. In this case, we plug in the D-Link DHP-W310AV Powerline Wireless N Mini Extender in our dead spot zone.
Frankly speaking, 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 who already have the know-how, because to get up and running is super fast.
Wi-Fi Configuration Card
A small card is supplied with the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender that supplies the standard Wi-Fi SSID Name, Wi-Fi password, and web browser URL to enter the D-Link configuration webpage. The username and password information to login to the D-Link configuration web page is also provided. Should you lose this card, the same information is provided on the back sticker of the Wireless N Mini Extender.
The D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender is one the chunkier units you'll find in the D-Link lineup. It's about as tall as a credit card in height, a little wider than a credit card, and much more lengthy in depth. I found the styling to resemble that of an old fashion standing heater and or a plug in oil heater, especially when looking from the side profile. Finishing the styling off is rounded corners and vents that wrap around the Wireless N Mini Extender making it resemble an old fashion heater.
The D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender is draped in solid matte white color (though it has a bit of texture on the wrap around vent portion) and is constructed entirely out of hard plastic, aside from the metal used on the electrical socket prongs and the metal screw at the bottom. There's no flex or cheap feeling that the product is going to break and not hold up over time.
The front of the D-Link DHP-W310AV contains 4 LED's, either green, amber, and red with respective symbols beside to differentiate them. From top to bottom is the Power LED, Wireless LED, PowerLine LED, and Ethernet LED. There's nothing else worth noting up front aside from me nitpicking that the symbols could have been illuminated to make it easier to read in dark lighting conditions.
The Power LED indicates that the device is receiving electrical power and if it starts blinking indicates that it is in sleep mode or seeking a Powerline connection.
The Wireless LED indicates that the wireless functionality is ready.
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).
The Ethernet LED indicates that the Ethernet port is linked to an Ethernet-enabled device should you wish to use it wired and or when you are connecting it to the computer for further set up configuration (optional).
The backside of the D-Link Wireless N Mini Extender contains the electrical prongs that will be inserted in your wall electrical socket and a sticker up top that restates what is on the Wi-Fi configuration card, should you happen to lose it. This contains the default configuration page address URL, the username, the password, Wi-Fi name SSID and the Wi-Fi password. The SSID and password are different for each unit sold. Other information includes 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 6 Watt maximum. I personally experienced only 3.7 Watt being pulled from the wall according to the Belkin Conserve Insight Power Meter, meaning it's very inexpensive to operate.
Wrapped around the entire side portion of the unit contains vent holes to allow heat to be dissipated from the adapter and run as cool as possible. It does a good job as the backside is only slightly warm after hours of operation.
The left side contains a reset hole should you ever need to reset for connectivity issues or if you simply want to restore factory default settings. I find that a needle works for this, just press and hold the reset button for 5 seconds until the lights begin to flash and cycle. I do have to point out that you have to be careful when inserting a needle into this reset hole, if you don't do it correctly, the needle can go right through the inside of the device and possibly short some components. You must position the needle in the middle of the reset hole, the needle should only need to go in a little less than half way to press the reset button.
The left side also contains a single button that acts as the simple connect button/push button security button if you wish to utilize encryption (other than its default encryption) to prevent unauthorized access to your Powerline network. But if you're in a home environment, or a business environment that you're not sharing, you don't really need to touch this.
Coming to the right side of the device we find a small ON/OFF switch and single LAN port should you wish to enter the optional configuration page for additional settings and or if you want to use it wired with an Ethernet cable. Don't really need a LAN port, however, at least D-Link provides you with one as an option, kudos to them.
Set up should be as simple as 1-2-3.
1. Open the box and gather D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender.
2. Plug in the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender to an available electrical socket receptacle in the location you desire, for example, in your Wi-Fi dead spot zone. It will automatically connect to your existing D-Link Powerline network. Internet connection is now automatically established.
3. Use the supplied Wi-Fi Configuration Card to connect to the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender by selecting the respective Wi-Fi SSID name and password provided on the card.
Connection is now fully complete. Happy Internet surfing!
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.
Results - How does it work?
For me at least, Powerline networking with the D-Link DHP-P339AV 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, after I found the best location and electrical socket receptacles, the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender did everything it said it would do without problems, and overall I've been super happy with it. It completely solved the issue of the Wi-Fi dead spot zone in my home. Previously I was getting frequent dropouts in wireless signal (0 to 1 bars), however, with this D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender I could now receive 4 full bars depending on how far I was from the device. With the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender, there was no way possible a Wi-Fi dead spot could occur.
You simply plug it into the wall, it establishes a connection within your Powerline network, and emits that wirelessly to your device. Simple and brilliant. I like the fact that this device does not simply re-amplify a poor or bad signal to give you extra distance, with a connection to your existing Powerline network, the signal is already excellent and the D-Link will amplify and broadcast an already excellent signal wherever you plug it into your home.
Startup of the device takes about 45 seconds in total before a wireless connection is established and when all the lights are illuminated indicating its ready. The other D-Link Powerline network adapters I reviewed took about 1-4 seconds to become ready, however, those did not have wireless functionality like is the case with this D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender. Remember this essentially a mini wireless router with Powerline networking functionality. So 45 seconds is really typical boot-up time for a wireless router. This likely doesn't make a difference as all you'll end up doing is turning it on and never worrying about it ever again.
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.
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 middle 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.
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 speed dropped quite a bit.
The next thing I tried to accomplish was having an Internet connection in my garage. My Wi-Fi signal is spotty at best in my garage, I get frequent dropouts in the signal. However, the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender allowed me to get excellent signal Internet as if I had my cable modem in my garage! Now I'm able to work on my car and have my Netbook showing me the instructions, and or listening to some music on YouTube inside my own garage without issue! Speed was excellent and I could achieve my maximum cable internet speed without issue. The Powerline network LED would illuminate Amber a few times to tell me the Link rate quality had changed, but it would switch back afterward to green. So for those of you who want Internet in your garage, or even have a wireless IP camera near your garage, this will help you out tremendously.
As a long-term review, I've actually been using the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender regularly for about 7 months and nothing has died. It's been reliable as it can be. The whole variation of Powerline networking products from D-Link I've tested thus far, they've encountered no major reliability problems, all of them have been impressive.
Where Can I Buy One? And For How Much?
The D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender I reviewed today only includes the Wireless Extender Powerline adapter and assumes you already have an existing D-Link Powerline network.
If you do not have an existing D-Link Powerline network, I suggest going for the starter kit. This would be the D-Link DHP-W311AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender Starter Kit. Right now it's on sale at 37% off for $75 with free shipping.
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If you are thinking of purchasing the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender, please use our Amazon link, it will help us out greatly. Thank you.
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I believe of all the D-Link Powerline networking products I've reviewed, this one in the form of the D-Link DHP-W310AV Powerline AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender would likely be the more suitable product for most of you reading today. People just love wireless Internet and the convenience associated with it. Most of you likely rather not run any extra Ethernet cabling.
This hybrid solution combines Powerline networking and wireless N capabilities beautifully. It completely solves the issue of low signals and Wi-Fi dead zones in homes and businesses without a doubt. Just simply plug it into your existing D-Link Powerline network and it will amplify an excellent signal wirelessly. So wherever your Wi-Fi dead spot zone is, plug this in and you will have full bars of signal!
I can easily recommend trying out the D-Link DHP-W310AV PowerLine AV+ Wireless N Mini Extender. I feel this one, of all the D-Link Powerline networking products I've tested, deserves our Editor's Choice Award!