Powerline Networking Upgrade – Part 2

A few things occurred to me after I wrote Part 1 of this series, I thought they would be worth documenting here:

  1. Number of ports – Unlike the now decommissioned XE104 devices, the new TP-Link devices only have two RJ45 ports (the XE104 had four).  Not a huge issue given the proliferation of WiFi – but something to think about.
  2. Positioning – The pins (of the mains plug) are at the bottom of the unit.  This means the unit as a whole stands above the mains socket.  The Ethernet ports are on the very top of the unit, so they  need a reasonable amount of top clearance.
  3. Software – the software isn’t signed, so Windows complains every time you start it.  Not really a great thing for a consumer oriented device.  What were TP-Link thinking releasing software like this.
  4. Software (again) – the software is easy to use, but rewards those who are prepared to right-click/hover etc.  There are no simple workflows, or areas that are obvious attention grabbers.
  5. The software didn’t force (or recommend) a firmware upgrade on first use.  I have mixed feelings about this.  It’s a topic of regular discussion on the SecurityNow podcast.  However, having done a firmware upgrade to a newly purchased WiFi Extender a few years ago, I’m a little more cautious and tend to wait for some stability and time to read up on this.

Finally, in terms of a performance field report, the following are worth documenting:

  1. The device gets quite hot; not sure if that is an issue or not.  Given most of these devices are likely to be in out-of-the way places with little airflow, that doesn’t seem a good thing.
  2. One of the device’s green home network LED began to glow solid red.  This indicates a poor connection; difficult to believe since its showing ~1000 MB/s in the software.  However, this LED required a powercycle to return to green state.

If anything notable arises – I’ll create a Part 3.

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