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LAN & WAN Reviews

PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Extender Kit
At a glance
ProductD-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Extender Kit (DHP-701AV)   [Website]
SummaryFirst HomePlug AV2-MIMO adapter using Broadcom's BCM60500 chipset
Pros• Can provide 450+ Mbps of total throughput with multiple traffic sources
• Reacts quickly to line noise changes
Cons• Huge up/downlink imbalance in simultaneous throughput test.

Introduction

There has been some excitement about D-Link's DHP-701AV "2000 Mbps" HomePlug AV2 adapter due to the largest number yet on a powerline product. But it's yet another case of over-zealous marketing to too-gullible consumers.

As the good ol' HomePlug AV2 profile chart trotted out in previous reviews shows, the top AV2 profile is only 1.5 Gbps.

HomePlug AV2 Profiles

HomePlug AV2 Profiles

D-Link is likely using the same, uh, creative math given as explanation for the 1000 Mbps "speed" claimed for ZyXEL's PLA5206 and just multiplied by two, since the DHP-701AV is a MIMO adapter. Here is the explanation again:

  • Broadcom HPAV2 SISO device can use a bandwidth of up to 84.3 MHz (from ~1.8 MHz up to ~86.1 MHz).
  • In this bandwidth, a total of 3455 OFDM carriers are employed with a minimum symbol time of 40.96 us
  • The maximum bit allocation per carrier is 12
  • The maximum PHY rate is obtained as follows: 3455 carriers x 12 bits/carrier ÷ 40.96us = 1012.2 Mbps

You'll see shortly that performance is nowhere near 1000 Mbps, let alone 2000 Mbps.

The DHP-701AV is fairly large as current-design powerline adapters go. The photo below provides an idea of its 3.89" x 2.86" x 1.34" profile and shows it won't block the adjacent outlet in a standard U.S. duplex. The serial number label specs a 100 - 240 VAC 50/60 Hz operating range. Note the photo shows the individual adapters are labeled DHP-700AV.

D-Link DHP-701AV plugged in

D-Link DHP-701AV plugged in

The callout diagram below shows the adapter supports tri-color HomePlug link quality indication. The single Gigabit Ethernet port is centered on the bottom of the adapter, with the Reset / Encryption button sitting to its left.

D-Link DHP-701AV callouts

D-Link DHP-701AV callouts

The User Guide says the adapter goes into power-saving mode after 5 minutes of Ethernet inactivity and powers up again when activity resumes. I verified this by the following procedure, which ran without a hitch.

  1. Plugged in two adapters, let them link up and started a long ping from the HomePlug connected machine to another machine on my Ethernet LAN.
  2. Unplugged the cable connecting one adapter to my LAN switch. Verified that ping showed no response.
  3. Waited until the Ethernet unplugged DHP-701AV entered power-save.
  4. Plugged Ethernet back in and verified that adapter powered up and ping returns resumed within a few seconds.

Inside

The DHP-701AV kit is the first appearance of the second HomePlug AV2 device Broadcom announced over a year ago. The inside photo below clearly shows the BCM60500, which is coupled to the sheet-metal thermal spreader in the top cover via the thermal pad stuck to the spreader.

D-Link DHP-701AV inside

D-Link DHP-701AV inside

The plastic case has only a few measly vent holes on the back of its case. The case got moderately warm to the touch.

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