The TP Link WPA8630P powerline networking kit helps you expand your wifi coverage around your house without the need for trailing wires. It not only can help remove dead spots in your house but also may even help boost speeds in the same room as your router.
Wireless internet is a huge convenience around the home, but if you have a large house or thick walls it can be difficult to get signal everywhere you need it. While it is possible to get multiple routers set-up, each one will need an ethernet connection and if you don’t have a phone line this will need a lot of wiring.
Thankfully there is an easy solution, powerline networking. This uses your current power cables to transfer the signal between units meaning you can then retransmit a wireless signal from a different position, improving the signal in any problem spots.
Setting up the WPA8630P is very simple, you just need to plug in the first unit and connect it to your router with an ethernet cable. It then automatically copies the wireless settings of your router including name and password. If you then plug additional units close by, they will automatically sync with the first unit and once they’ve finished setting up, you can then relocate them around your house and you’re done. There’s no need to change the wireless settings on any of your devices as they use the same details, everything should just work.
If there are issues you can download a dedicated app for tweaking the settings and there are also some buttons on the plugs in case the automatic pairing doesn’t work, but we found it all to work perfectly.
Depending on your home router you may immediately see an improvement in speeds, even in areas where you already had good signal. This is because the signal boosters use both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands to transmit data and if you have a single band router the new 5GHz channel will allow the signal to carry more data (although the range of the 5GHz channel will be lower than the 2.4GHz). You will also need a device with a wireless receiver that is capable of handling a 5GHz band, although most devices now do this.
We found the signal to produce similar speeds where the signal was previously good, although checking the signal strength showed the signal was now available across more channels than previously so should be more reliable.
Where it really made a difference was in the dead spot in our house. Here we found the signal strength had doubled, with this more stable connection delivering speeds twice that of what we could manage before the units were added.
Problems and issues
If you do have a dual-band router and you have split the 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections into separate networks this potentially could cause connection issues. At first we had some connectivity problems with specific devices but on recombining both bands into one network this solved the problem.
Costing £140 for a starter pack (currently available for £100) where you get two plugs (as you need one to plug in near the router and another to boost the signal somewhere else) it is a significant investment. It is possible to pick up cheaper options but many of these don’t come with dual-band capability and aren’t capable of the same kind of speeds – if your base speed level isn’t that high this won’t be a problem but if you pay for high-speed internet it will be a shame not to be able to use it throughout the house. When combined with extenders of a similar spec they are priced at a comparable level.
When it comes to ease of setup and performance the WPA8630P are pretty much as good as it gets. They’re not super cheap but are well reviewed everywhere and a much easier (and cheaper) solution than trying to wire in new routers around your home. If you have a lot of dead spots around your home this is our recommended way of dealing with them.