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Features

There are two sets of features because there are two different adapters in the kit. The TL-PA4010 adapter's list is pretty short, since it is a standard HomePlug AV 500 adapter.

  • One 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Pairing button
  • Power save mode
  • 128-bit AES encryption
  • Built-in QoS
  • Supports IGMP managed multicast IP transmission

The TL-WPA4220 is an access point, so has more knobs to twiddle.

  • Two switched 10/100 Ethernet ports
  • WEP, WPA / WPA2 Personal and Enterprise (RADIUS) wireless security
  • Auto and manual channel set
  • SSID broadcast disable
  • Wireless enable / disable
  • Wireless modes: b-only, g-only, n-only, mixed b/g, mixed g/n, mixed b/g/n (default)
  • MAC address filter, allow or deny modes
  • High (default / middle / low transmit power adjust
  • Beacon period, RTS threshold, DTIM interval adjusts
  • Wireless client isolation (from each other)
  • Short GI disable

Powerline features

  • Public / private network name setting
  • Pushbutton network join / disconnect
  • Station add

The main missing feature is support for Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). The biggest use for this would be to simplify initial setup by easily connecting a wireless client to the AP. Instead, TP-LINK has endowed the TL-WPA4220 with a Wi-Fi Clone feature, which copies your main router's SSID and wireless security password over to it.

Wi-Fi Clone is intended to provide "seamless networking" by eliminating the need to change SSIDs when moving a client between the main and extended networks. However, this feature assumes that wireless clients are more intelligent than most are and will automatically move (roam) to a better connection when one is available.

Sadly, most wireless devices are not smart roamers and cling stubbornly to the first connection they find, moving to another only when the first disappears entirely. So I'm not sure Wi-Fi Clone is a good idea and may end up making users think that the TL-WPA4220KIT isn't really helping.

Twelve out of fourteen of the conventional, i.e. wireless only, wireless extenders we have reviewed create an "extender SSID" for just this reason. Fortunately, the TL-WPA4220 comes default set to its own unique SSID, so as long as users don't try the Wi-Fi Clone feature, they will be able to find their extended network just fine.

The gallery contains screenshots and commentary of most of the AP's admin pages, plus a few more photos of the hardware innards.

In Use

The TL-PA4010 AV500 adapter is your basic plug-and-play HomePlug adapter. It comes set to the default HomePlugAV password, as does the TL-WPA4220, so they'll link up out of the box. Should you need to change the password, you can use the pair button on each device. It has its own PowerLine Utility on the supplied mini-CD, shown below. This utility doesn't seem to detect the TL-WPA4220, which I thought was odd and limits its usefulness. There are screenshots of the other main screens in the gallery.

Powerline Scan utility

PowerLine Utility

Since it's an access point, the TL-WPA4220 has more knobs to twiddle. If you have a Windows computer, you use the Powerline Scan utility found on the enclosed mini-CD to locate the AP's IP address and launch a browser to connect to it.

Powerline Scan utility

Powerline Scan utility
Updated 4/9/14

TP-LINK told me there are MacOS utilities available. The WPA4220 Utility for Mac OS is the equivalent of the Windows "Powerline Scan" utility to find the TL-WPA4220's IP address.

The TPA4010 Utility for Windows/Mac OS is the equivalent of the Windows "PowerLine Utility" for managing the TL-PA4010 AV500 adapter.

If Windows PCs are a thing of the past for you, then use the http://tplinkplclogin.net URL to connect to the AP. This URL works only from a wirelessly-connected device, however, and I found it a bit flaky. I tried the URL from both Firefox / Windows and Chrome / Android and first wasn't able to connect. But after I ran the Powerline Scan utility to find the AP's IP address, the URL then worked.

As noted earlier, the AP appears to be set to obtain its IP address automatically. But there is no control exposed for this

Finally, I had to try four times to get the Wi-Fi Clone feature to work. I think part of the problem is the instructions for pressing the Wi-Fi Clone button. The instructions say two seconds, but I found I had to use double that. The other problem is knowing that the Wi-Fi Clone process has started. The Wi-Fi Clone button's light also indicates wireless activity and blinks steadily in a factory default state. This blinking is supposed to slow when the Wi-Fi Clone process is running. But I found it hard to detect the difference between the fast blinks and slower blinks.

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