capsule review

Belkin Powerline AV+ Starter Kit F5D4075

At a Glance
  • Belkin Powerline AV+ Starter Kit F5D4075

    PCWorld Rating

    Multiple ethernet ports and a convenient desk mount option, together with solid performance and plug-and-play setup, put the Belkin kit at the head of the powerline networking class.

Like the Netgear XAVB101 Powerline AV Ethernet Adapter Kit, the Actiontec MegaPlug AV Powerline Gaming Kit HPE200AV, and other Homeplug AV-based kits, Belkin's Powerline AV+ networking kit lets you extend your home network over your electrical wiring.

HomePlug AV powerline kits tend to be similar in most respects, but the Belkin has two compelling features that set it apart from the rest, at little or no added cost.

First, no other HomePlug AV kit we've looked at has interchangeable wall and desk mounts. Like most powerline adapters, it can remain happily plugged into a wall outlet. But the Belkin kit also includes a cord that permits you to park the adapter on your desk, saving space in a crowded power outlet and making it easier to connect and disconnect devices.

Second, the Belkin includes multiple ethernet ports in the remote adapter--an extremely useful feature for home-theater applications. You can take advantage of the Belkin's three ports to keep your game console, DVR, and Slingbox (for example) connected simultaneously. The overall powerline throughput (about 60 mbps in our tests) will get split up among those three ports, but you're unlikely to use more than one or two of them at once, and it can easily handle two high-definition streams.

Otherwise, the Belkin kit performs on a par with the other HomePlug AV kits we tested, producing glitch-free high-def video streaming and very good throughput.

The Belkin ships without a software utility, so you can't do things like change the quality of service prioritization on your network. But it does include a color-coded powerline LED that indicates whether your connection is bad, so you'll know whether you should choose a different outlet.

If you have more than one device that you would like to network, or if you want the convenience of desktop mounting, the Belkin may be your best option among powerline kits.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Multiple ethernet ports and a convenient desk mount option, together with solid performance and plug-and-play setup, put the Belkin kit at the head of the powerline networking class.

    Pros

    • Interchangeable wall plug & extension cord
    • Three Ethernet ports on remote adapter

    Cons

    • No setup utility
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.