Billion BiPAC 2070 HomePlug AV 200 Desktop Ethernet Bridge
- Outlet plug is not fixed on the adapter, don't get hot, easy to install, a reliable solution for media streaming
- Slightly slower speeds than we were expecting, hard to use software utility
These aren't the fastest adapters we've tested, but they're the easiest to install and they are a good solution for anyone who is having problems with their current wireless network.
Price$ 229.00 (AUD)
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A pair of Ethernet-over-power line adapters is often all that's needed to facilitate a network connection in dwellings where wireless networking doesn't produce the required results.
And while they're able to work properly, even over long distances, and with plenty of other household appliances plugged in along the way, Billion's BiPAC 2070 HomePlug AV 200 Desktop Ethernet Bridge consists of two BiPAC 2070 adapters, which aren't the fastest we've seen (see our reviews of Netgear's Powerline HD Ethernet Adapters (HDXB101) and D-Link's DHP-300), but physically, they're better designed.
Rather than having fixed plugs on the adapters themselves, 1m long cords with regular-sized power plugs can be attached to each BiPAC 2070 device. This makes the BiPAC adapters very easy to use with any wall outlet. Netgear's and D-Link's adapters are hard to install because they are akin to oversized transformers, which render adjacent wall outlets unusable.
The size of each of the BiPAC adapters is large, but they are quite light and barely get noticeably warm, even after prolonged use.
As for setting them up, they can both be joined on the same network by using their built-in push buttons. This takes away the need to install any software in order to configure them, which is just as well, as the software interface for these adapters is quite hard to use. But if they are far apart, it means you have to press the button for three seconds on the first adapter, then race to press the button on the remote adapter. Subsequent adapters can join the network in the same way. Additionally, the push button technology can be used to group different adapters to different networks on the same electrical network. Once setup is complete, the adapters will use 128-bit AES encryption on the data that will flow through your power lines.
The adapters have a speed rating of 200Mbps, but in reality this figure will never be reached due to the data encryption, networking overheads and line conditions. We speed tested them in our standard household environment, without unplugging any existing appliances, by transferring files over the local network. The remote device was plugged directly into a wall outlet, while the host device was the lone resident of a power strip with surge protection. The pair proved to be slower than expected, averaging only 1.86MBps when transferring data from a file server to a client PC. Regardless, movies streamed reliably over this connection, which makes the adapters suitable for use with a media streamer or living room PC.
When we plugged the remote adapter into a power strip, which also housed power plug for the remote PC, the average speed dropped to 1.21MBps, but this was still enough to effortlessly stream videos. It's important to note that the attainable speed will vary depending on the condition and length of your wiring, and also how many heavy-duty electrical appliances are installed along the way. Also note that in order for the adapters to work, they must be on the same power phase, otherwise they won't see each other.
In a best-case scenario test, in which we placed both adapters next to each other on the same power strip, the adapters averaged a speed of 2.46MBps. This is still slower than we expected.
In the end, while they are slower than other adapters we've seen, BiPAC 2070 HomePlug AV 200 Desktop Ethernet Bridge scores points for ease of use. The adapters are easy to plug into almost any outlet and they feature a push-button setup process. Functionally, they're a realistic solution for a streaming device or a lounge room PC.
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