Tom's Guide Verdict
What the Trendnet TPL-423E2K lacks in speed and range it more than makes up with a handy AC passthrough outlet, a useful utility and a class-leading three year warranty. At $70 for the set, the TPL-423E2K is a must-have for those who choose low costs and reliability over all-out performance in powerline devices.
Inexpensive with low operating costs
AC passthrough outlet
Single Ethernet port
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Max Throughput: 47.5Mbps
Performance at 100 feet: 44.0Mbps
Range: 581 feet
Size: 4.7 x 2.3 x 1.5 inches
Three/Two Prong Plug: Three
Ethernet Gigabit Ports: One
Estimated Power Bill: $3.40 per year
If low costs and the peace of mind that comes with a three-year warranty count for more than the top-shelf performance, extra range or the ability to service two networked devices, the Trendnet TPL-423E2K is for you. It may not be perfect but the TPL-423E23K is a bargain that should appeal to networking cheapskates.
This Trendnet TPL-423E2K powerline extender review shows that there's more to a network extender than raw performance – though one look at the best powerline extenders will help you see that performance counts for a lot, too. Nonetheless, the Trendnet TPL-423E2K offers affordability and the assurance that it will work for years, even if that function doesn't have the range and bandwidth of more expensive competitors.
Trendnet TPL-423E2K Powerline Extender: Design and features
The TPL-423E2K measures 4.7 x 2.3 x 1.6 inches, about 50 percent smaller than the TP-Link TL-PA9020P but is more than twice the size of the diminutive D-Link DHP-601AV. The white plastic case has cooling slots on both sides and three forward-facing LEDs for Power, Ethernet and Powerline status.
Its three-prong grounded plug makes it less useful in older homes but the TPL423E2K has a passthrough outlet to replace the one it takes up. On the downside, its single Ethernet data port means that if you want the TPL-423E2K to supply data to both a TV and a computer you’ll need a network switch. With separate Sync and Reset buttons, you can also turn on the network’s 128-bit encryption security with a long press of the Sync key.
Based on the HomePlug AV2 standard, the TPL-423E2K uses Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology to feed data to several family members at once. Trendnet specs the system at a peak of 1.3Gbps and it can work with as many as eight Powerline devices on a network.
Trendnet TPL-423E2K Powerline Extender: Performance
Under the skin, the TPL-423E2K uses Qualcomm’s QCA7500 Powerline chipset, an update of the QCA7450 that D-Link uses in the DHP-601AV. Overall, it had unimpressive performance and range.
The TPL-423E2K started middle of the pack with a peak throughput of 47.5Mbps out of my home’s 200Mbps Internet service, which fell off to 44.0Mbps with 100-feet of electrical cable in between the sender and receiver. By contrast, the Netgear PLP2000’s available bandwidth (101.0 Mbps and 81.9 Mbps) was nearly twice as high at each distance.
At 580-feet, the TPL423E2K disconnected, while the Netgear PLP2000 and TP-Link TL-PA9020P were still delivering nearly 17Mbps. This puts it a little ahead of the D-Link DHP601AV’s 525-feet range but roughly half the TP-Link TL-PA9020P’s 1,075-feet. It provided 20.4Mbps to my previously unconnected garage, plenty for video, online gaming and Web sites.
While it was being sending data back and forth, the TPL-423E2K hit a peak of 103 degrees Fahrenheit and used a meager 2.4-watts of power; it consumed 0.4-watts at idle. If it’s used for 12 hours a day, the TPL-423E2K will cost an estimated $3.20 a year. This is a little more than the D-Link DHP-601AV’s $2.80 but a bargain compared to the TP-Link TL-PA9020P’s $23 a year in electrical costs.
Trendnet TPL-423E2K Powerline Extender: Setup and software
After plugging both TPL-423E2K devices in, they were communicating in a few seconds. Like the TP-Link TL-PA9020P and Zyxel PLA5456, the TPL-423E2K includes a utility for setting up and monitoring the gear. The software lets you update its firmware, return the devices to their factory default settings and adjust the Quality of Service settings. As is the case with the Zyxel, the TPL-423E2K’s software doesn’t run full screen.
With three years of warranty and support, the TPL-423E2K provides the peace of mind that devices with shorter coverage or support — like Netgear’s PLP2000 — can’t. The system came with an installation guide and a manual.
Trendnet TPL-423E2K Powerline Extender: Verdict
The Trendnet TPL-423E2K is for those who care more about value and a three-year warranty than getting the top performance of the Netgear PLP200 or the extended range of the TP-Link TL-PA9020P. It came up short on speed and range and only has a single Ethernet data port. The included utility can help monitor and configure the system just the way you want it. Overall, the TPL-423E2K offers the enviable combination of low upfront price and low operating costs, making it the one for penny-pinchers to get.
Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.