Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter Review

Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter Review

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Last Updated on January 1, 2022 by Daniel

For the past several years, the term “Wi-Fi extender” has become synonymous with a lot of headaches, usually because of poor performance. Asus, however, is looking to change all that. The new Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter is a complete revamp of the popular AC1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender with the addition of a much faster processor, more antennas, and a number of other tweaks.

This is an excellent device for people with a whole-house network. I had a lot of trouble with the first AC1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender I reviewed, so I’m interested to see how the new 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter performs.

Want to find out more? Continue reading

Specs

  • 1,200Mbps rated Powerline
  • On the second adapter, there are three Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Wi-Fi functionality
  • the pass-through socket on base adapter only.

Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter: Hardware

Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter Review

The Asus PL-AC56 AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender is a 1,200Mbps (megabits per second) starter kit that consists of a smallish base unit you connect to the router and a fairly large second-room adapter (151 x 80 x 43 mm) that you connect to Internet-hungry devices elsewhere in the house.

The 1,200Mbps theoretical maximum speed is only a theoretical maximum, so you can’t expect to get speeds that fast. This maximum speed is rated for all Powerlines, but you will not get close to it. However, it will be faster than the Wi-Fi you use in your second room.

Powerline adapters rated at 1,200Mbps are a significant upgrade over the 500Mbps models, as well as supporting Gigabit Ethernet instead of the slower 10/100 Ethernet that limits speeds to 100Mbps.

It looks like the second Asus PL-AC56 adapter is unlike any other Powerline adapter we’ve seen. An external antenna is screwed into the side of the second adapter. This is to improve the Wi-Fi range and signal strength as well as to make it look like one of the imperial cruisers from the opening scene of Star Wars.

The adapter features three Gigabit Ethernet connections for wired connections, as well as a dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi hotspot.

When you install the adapter near your router, the base adapter (with just one Ethernet port) has a handy pass-through power outlet, so you won’t lose a wall power socket. There’s no pass-through socket on the second adapter either.

Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter: Set up

powerline adapter

Almost all Powerline starter kits are easy to install – a true plug-and-play solution. With the included Ethernet cable, you can connect the base unit (PL-E56P) to your Internet router by plugging it into a wall socket close to it.

Next, connect the larger second adapter (PL-AC56) to a wall socket near your smart TV, games console, Skybox, Tivo, PC, etc, that will benefit from the fast Internet connection provided by Powerline. A new wireless hotspot can be created wherever this adapter is placed. Take note of the Wi-Fi password before you plug in the adapter since it is printed on the back.

The new hotspot can easily be “cloned” to your existing wireless network so it just looks like a part of your existing network, but it’s much faster since the signal comes directly from the Powerline adapter rather than being transmitted long distances from your wireless router.

Asus 1200Mbps AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Adapter: Speed tests

powerline adapters

Three performance tests are conducted in our real-world testing environment.

Since we place the two adapters next to each other in a dual wall socket, the first setup isn’t really realistic. This test shows how fast it can go without any annoying environmental limitations that exist in every house, which limit speed based on various factors.

The Asus PL-AC56 achieved a respectable 357Mbps in this test, slightly faster than the Devolo 1200 Powerline kit.

This second test is the most significant because we will place the second adapter in a room two floors below the loft-based router. In this case, the PL-AC56 reached 109Mbps – again pretty good for a wired connection some distance from the router. Although it’s a long way from the claimed 1,200Mbps, it’s not uncommon for Powerlines. You’ll probably see different speeds in your home because it’s different from ours. These speeds will also differ at different times of the day.

Asus’ PL-AC56 is at the faster end of the Powerline scale, and it works well.

Let’s talk about the Wi-Fi hotspot it creates. Let’s do it again. Even with its external antennae, we were less impressed with the wireless speed, which was only 57Mbps, compared to Devolo’s 75Mbps. Due to the external antennae, however, that signal should be able to travel farther across the house, so the advantages of connection and speed could be greater than those of our standard wireless tests.

We also tested the PL-N12 AV500 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender, an Asus kit with a 500Mbps rating, against the faster kit with a 1200Mbps rating. In the first test, the highest speed we got was 96Mbps, compared to 357Mbps for the PL-AC56.

The PL-N12 scored 73Mbps in the real-world house test, which is decent for a 500-rated Powerline, but not as fast as its bigger brother. You should choose the 1210-rated PL-AC56 if you want to squeeze every megabit out of your home network. The cheaper PL-N12 will certainly save you money if you are willing to wait for your movies or TV shows to download.

Additionally, the PL-N12 includes an extra Wi-Fi hotspot, and it boasts a speed of 53Mbps, which is pretty much the same as the PL-AC56. The Powerline adapter we tested had faster Wi-Fi than others. When Wi-Fi only is tested, our tests indicate that there isn’t a big difference between the 1220 rated adapters and the 500Mbps Powerlines.

Pros and Cons

What we like What we didn’t like
Great performance Bulky
Wide coverage
Easy to set up

Conclusion

Asus’ PL-AC56 AV2 1200 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender performed well in our wired speed tests, but less so in our wireless tests despite its unique external antennae, which Asus claims will improve signal strength at greater distances than adapters with built-in antennae. Also, this second adapter is pretty large, so it is less discreet than most adapters we have tested.

Despite its high price (about the same as the Devolo 1200+ Wi-Fi, but more than the TP-Link WPA8630P), the PL-AC56 presents all the bells and whistles of the latest 1200-rated Powerline starter kits, and so should fit the top-end networking market well.