TP-Link Technologies Co., Ltd is a Chinese manufacturer of computer networking products. They are a recently company to the networking space in the United States, but in their home country of China, they are one the largest market share holders of networking products for small office / home office. In their short time on the US market, TP-LINK has proven themselves to produce some outstanding networking equipment.
TP-LINK as their trademark goes manufacturers a wide variety of products. This Editor of Gizmo Scoop tried out several of their products and over time their reviews would show up at Gizmo Scoop.
This particular review is for the TP-LINK AV200 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit (TL-PA2010KIT). The device features 2 power plug outlets with a sync button up front and Ethernet ports on the bottom. The 110v outlet devices are designed to extend your home network using the existing wiring of your house. Setup is reasonably simple, but it is not without it’s issues.
Setup of the AV200 kit is incredibly simple. Plug in one device close to your main router with an Ethernet cable plugged in between the router and the AV200 Nano adapter, which plugs directly into the wall socket. The other device is plugged into the wall in some other part of your house. In theory TP-LINK suggests that the devices be sync’d by pressing the sync button to initialize and encrypt your network. In practice, it works without doing so.
Here is where the caveat is. If you live in a housing complex with multiple units, stay away from these devices. In theory, you should not be able to see your neighbor’s network, even if encrypted. However, it seems under my testing, network stability was never achieved, and eventually I found myself staring into a neighbor of mine’s network over IPV6.
IPV4, which inherently does not allow cross-over on a private network, IPV6 unfortunately has a different set of rules including neighbor discovery protocol. I found these devices crossing over and revealing my lovely neighbors network to my prying eyes. Resetting the encryption only worked for a few hours before the network stopped working forcing a unplug and re-plug.
It seems IPV6 implementation on these devices is not complete. Talking to my neighbor on his network design (which incidentally was a bit of a shock to him) lead me to the conclusion that there is something wrong with the way TP-LINK has designed their firmware.
The devices work, but I would err on the side of caution until TP-LINK resolves their issue on network wire-line security. For whatever reason this implementation did not work for this editor. The convenience of extending the network was thwarted by the lack of security. It seems network security maybe achieved if you own a single family home. In theory, the network extension would stop at your electrical meter. In my case, my electrical meter is in close proximity to my other neighbors, and hence the cross over and lack of network security.
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