Do you want to connect your TV or console to the wired internet but you don’t want to run a 20-meter cable in your home? Powerline kits may be the answer and introduces you to the best models in this buying guide.
With the multiplication of the number of connected objects in our homes and the possible saturation of Wi-Fi networks, it is not always easy to enjoy your digital entertainment in good conditions. The CPL is presented as a simple and inexpensive alternative allowing you to wire your devices while avoiding the tedious step of pulling a network cable through your apartment or house.
We therefore offer you a complete buying guide that will introduce you to the best CPL kits of the moment as well as all the elements to take into account to choose a set adapted to your needs and your use. Follow the leader !
Our selection of the best CPL kits
Devolo Magic 2 Wifi, performant and completes
Devolo is a German brand whose specialty is none other than CPL kits. The Magic 2 range offers theoretical speeds of 2.4 Gbps with boxes fitted with nesting sockets so as not to “lose” those to which they are connected.
Beyond its high theoretical throughput, the Magic 2 Wifi kit also benefits from two RJ45 ports on the satellite box as well as Wi-Fi connectivity which can also operate in mesh mode if you equip yourself with additional boxes.
The only shadows on the table: the boxes of the Magic 2 range only work with boxes of this same range and the price is finally quite high since it is necessary count around 200 euros to give you a starter kit. It is nonetheless interesting because of the number of features offered.
In a few points:
- 2.4 Gbps theoretical throughput
- 2 RJ45 ports on the satellite
- Wi-Fi integrated into satellites
Devolo Magic 1 Wifi Mini: the alternative for large homes
If you do not need a flow as high as that offered by the Magic 2 kits, the references of the Magic 1 range are always interesting. Here, you will enjoy a theoretical maximum speed of 1.2 Gbps with a more complete kit with two satellites.
Due to their “Mini” designation, satellites do not have a pull-out socket or additional RJ45 ports, but for 40 euros less than the Magic 2 kit, you will have an additional satellite allowing you to connect two devices, in two different rooms while broadcasting the Wi-Fi in these two rooms.
In a few points:
- 1.2 Gbps theoretical throughput
- 2 satellites with Wi-Fi
- Ideal for large homes
Netgear PLP2000: efficient and accessible
If you are only looking for a powerful and accessible Powerline kit without needing additional functions such as Wi-Fi connectivity, you can turn to the Netgear PLP2000 kit and its theoretical speed announced at 2 Gbps.
This kit goes to the essentials by offering a pull-out socket on each of the two boxes with a satellite, here also equipped with two RJ45 ports allowing two devices to be connected. Its main advantage over the Devolo kit quoted just above is its price since it is offered for almost half cheaper.
In a few points:
- Theoretical speed of 2 Gbps
- 2 RJ45 ports on the satellite
- Pragmatic and efficient
TP-Link TL-PA7017P: the most accessible
This TP-Link TL-PA7017P kit is certainly one of the most interesting of this selection. Very simple, it will be satisfied with providing a theoretical speed of 1 Gbps which will be more than sufficient for your TV decoder, a console or your television set for example.
We still benefit from a pull-out socket on the two boxes with a single RJ45 port and no additional functions such as Wi-Fi for example. Its main advantage is to be available for less than 70 euros as of this writing.
In a few points:
- Theoretical speed of 1 Gbps
- Nesting sockets
- Efficient and accessible
What is CPL?
CPL stands for Line Carriers and allows you to create a computer communication network on the electrical network of your home. Thus, we will use the electric cables present in the walls to transmit information, in addition to the usual electric current.
In practice, installation and operation are quite simple since it suffices to be equipped at least two PLC boxes. The first is to connect to your internet box and the second to the device you want to connect to your box. So there is no configuration step, you plug in, it works.
The speeds offered by the CPL kits are now high enough to enjoy a more than decent experience. However, you should be careful about their installation by avoiding, for example, plugging them into an extension cord or worse, a multiple socket. It is therefore always recommended to plug the PLC boxes directly into an outlet.
What are the characteristics of a CPL kit?
Powerline boxes do not generally offer many features. Their main objective is above all to be able to “bring” your computer network from point A to point B. The main characteristic to be taken into account is then the speed offered by the kit. Depending on your expectations, you will have to choose a kit with a sufficient flow, while taking into account the fact that the theoretical announced flow is very different from the actual flow (we will explain further).
Since electrical outlets can easily be missing in your home, the majority of Powerline boxes are now equipped with a pull-out socket. So you can plug in the box without “losing” the electrical outlet. In this way, you can connect the devices of your choice “to” the CPL box.
On some high-end kits, you may also find more than one RJ45 port on the satellite boxes. So we can connect multiple devices, without having to buy or use a second network equipment such as switch or hub. This characteristic can in particular make sense if you want to connect the equipment of your TV cabinet such as a box or an amplifier.
Finally, some kits include Wi-Fi connectivity at the level of the satellite boxes. In this way, in addition to bringing the network in a wired way to a place in your home, the kit will allow you to extend the range of your Wi-Fi network.
What alternatives to CPL kits and what advantages?
The first alternative to the CPL kits is none other than the very classic network cable, it is moreover rather the CPL which is an alternative to the latter. Indeed, pulling a cable from your box to your computer is quite simply the most efficient and reliable solution. You will get the best possible flow (subject to using a quality cable) and the induced latency will be negligible. Unfortunately, pulling a cable through an apartment or house is not necessarily the easiest thing to do.
When it is not possible (or not easy) to pull a cable, Powerline kits and their alternatives come to the rescue. One of these can be found at Netgear with the Orbi kits we have discussed in the past. These kits are composed, like the CPL kits, of a base and a satellite. Both communicate via Wi-Fi and their main strength is to extend the Wi-Fi coverage of your home and thus overcome the weaknesses of our operators’ boxes.
Where the Orbi stand out is through the presence of RJ45 ports on the back of the satellites. Thus, you can wired any equipment, as you would with a CPL kit, even if the latter is at the other end of your home. It is therefore a more expensive alternative, but also more complete and offering similar or even better performance. There is also similar equipment at Ubiquiti.
Finally, if you do not necessarily need to connect your device via an RJ45 port and Wi-Fi alone is enough for you, you can equip yourself with an access point like the Orbi or the Google Nest Wifi. Thanks to this type of equipment, you will enjoy better coverage than with your box as well as a higher speed. It is all a matter of need and if Wi-Fi is sufficient for your use, it is certainly the most practical solution.
Pay attention to the speeds announced by the manufacturers!
All manufacturers advertise a flow rate (often very high) for each of their CPL kits. Currently we can find kits advertised for 1.2 Gbps or even 2.4 Gbps for the latest Devolo models. These values far exceed the speeds offered by most French Internet service providers.
Unfortunately, these flows are theoretical and in fact, you will never achieve such performance, whether inside your local network or to the Internet. For example, during our tests, a Devolo kit advertised at 1200 Mbps, did not exceed 400 Mbps in real use under optimal conditions (both boxes installed on the same power strip).
In addition to this, and just like Wi-Fi, Powerline technology is sensitive to disturbances. Thus, all the electrical devices connected to your electrical network become “obstacles” to the good circulation of your data in PLC and directly impact the performance of the latter. Likewise, an electrical panel, meter and fuses are also disturbing elements.
The image above offers a summary of the speeds measured with this same Devolo kit announced at 1.2 Gbps. The base being installed in “B”, at the level of the electrical panel and the satellite moved to different places. The flow measurements were made over one minute with the iperf utility. This gives you an overview of the performance of a CPL kit, in a recent apartment of around 50m².
In all cases, the real speeds remain very largely sufficient for most uses and will allow you to connect a computer or a TV box without any problem, for example. Freebox users are already familiar with this technology that Free has been using for years for its decoders.
As a guide, Netflix recommends an internet connection at 25 Mbps to play Ultra HD (4K) content and 5 Mbps for a Full HD (1080p) movie. Suffice to say that the kits that we offer in this buying guide are all capable of providing such flow rates.