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Best Powerline Adapters 2016 Round-Up


Netgear Powerline Music Extender XAUB2511

6 / 6

Reviewed by Edward Chester

09 May 2016

Netgear Powerline Music Extender XAUB2511

Best Powerline Adapter for Network Music and Storage

Key Features
  • USB port support music players and USB devices
  • Apple AirPlay support
  • AV 200 standard
One of the most innovative Powerline products on the market, the Netgear Powerline Music Extender’s standout feature is the inclusion of a USB socket for connecting up USB audio devices for playing music across your network.

This socket can also be used to connect a printer, creating an instant network printer, or a USB storage device for creating a primitive NAS solution.

If you don’t have a USB music adapter already Netgear also has you covered as it includes one in the box. It’s not the finest quality example, but is fine for non-Hi-Fi duties. Adapters can be bought for £20 and upwards, while there are also plenty of USB speakers too.

Music playback uses Apple’s AirPlay standard, so works with any compatible Apple device. Once connected up, just select the adapter from the AirPlay playback devices and away you go. Obviously for phones and tablets you’ll need to have a Wi-Fi router somewhere on your network too.

It’s also possible to connect Android devices through AirPlay compatible apps but our experience of this has proved very unreliable. For PCs, you can download Netgear’s USB Media Extender utility, which you can then use to setup the adapter as a general audio device, porting all your PCs audio to it.

The process is the same for connecting printers and accessing USB storage.

It’s a very clever set of features though it is rather let down by the fact you can only do one thing at a time – there’s only one USB socket.

Also, it only uses the AV200 standard so in our performance tests it only delivered 6.2MB/s – still plenty for HD streaming and speedy file transfers, but it’s less than half the fastest kits.

Price also works against this kit. Other AV200 pass-through kits cost well under £50 whereas the Music Extender costs around £90. Still, if you want a reliable network music solution it’s one of the very few solutions out there.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £91 (newer model)

At time of review the Netgear Powerline Music Extender XAUB2511 was available for £90.

Our Score:


Prem Desai

June 11, 2014, 2:47 pm

Nice one TR. Very useful article.

Wish you could do one on wireless range extenders too......


June 13, 2014, 11:38 am

I have these. They are an excelent product. I also have the Home Hub 5. Sitting at the bottom of the garden stretched the range of my Home Hub (at the front of my house) slightly too far, however, I plug the WI FI extender in to the Kitchen, and I have super fast wireless at the far end of my garden. Fantastic.


June 16, 2014, 11:56 am

Glad you enjoyed. I shall stick one on the list!


June 25, 2014, 11:31 am

Does anyone know if the powerline adapters advertised as wifi extenders require an existing wireless router to be present on the network or whether they can be used to replace one?
My current setup is with a Sky router running as a modem, with a separate router performing the wireless duties. The reasons for this are so I can pick and choose the wireless kit myself, and I don't have to change the wireless settings every time I change provider. Ideally I'd like to just have the 'modem' plugged into a powerline adapter with wifi capability and get rid of the separate wireless router, but I don't know if this is possible.


September 3, 2014, 1:16 pm

Yes, you can do this. Most of these Wi-Fi adapters create their own network rather than piggybacking off an existing one.


September 17, 2014, 10:16 pm

Thanks, this was very informative and just saved me from having to crawl under my house to run cable to my office. Sweet!

Ade Keys

September 25, 2014, 4:31 pm

no. 4 netgear powerline XAVB5201 for £30 doesn't have wifi - the wifi version is XWNB5201 and costs nearer £70

arol nosneb

January 3, 2015, 5:58 pm

I have an office out in the garage. I am on the same electric circuit as the rest of the house but my wireless drops out. I have tried many things but have become disillusioned. Will a powerline adaptor do the trick? The broadband is not fast in this area - we are not considered worthy of such fripperies as fibre optics - so this means that we cannot afford to slow down at all


January 6, 2015, 7:03 pm

If you are on the same circuit a powerline adapter should work a treat. You can get adapters that are a wi-fi hotspot too so you can have wi-fi coverage in the garage. I use several in my house to have total coverage and also connect my desktop PC (upstairs) via cable to get the best speeds for online gaming.

Marie Sternquist

January 18, 2015, 6:51 pm

I have a rather large house with an over-garage mother-in-law apartment. Of course the only cable/internet comes in at the farthest point from the apartment on the second floor of the main house. Using a Netgear N750 WNDR4300 router, I get pretty good wifi through the main house but important dead spots in the apartment. Thinking a set of powerline adaptors... please recommend and also know that the apartment is on it's own utilities--in other words, it is not only on it's own circuit but a completely different utility box more like extending to a second cabin. Will any of the powerline adapter sets be able to connect these two different areas? And if not, within the main house can I just plug a wifi-capable powerline adapter into a wall socket nearest that space and it will broadcast? Pretty sure these won't be on the exact same electrical circuit as most of the house is split up into about 16 different circuits in the box. Please elaborate on this point and thank you for the helpful article.

Gavin Major

March 9, 2015, 10:41 pm

I am thinking of getting the bt power line adapter, but I want to make sure it will work for my play station using the Ethernet connection and the wireless connection for my iPhone and iPad.
My router is by the front door on the ground floor, my play station is situated in the loft, on the second floor. Obviously the electrics in the loft we're done as an extension, but everything runs to the main fuse board, does this mean I am one circuit or is it possible the loft will be ona different circuit to downstairs and So therefore not work?
If this type doesn't work, is there another type of extender I can use?


July 2, 2015, 3:00 pm

I've read most houses have one ring main per floor, so this isn't going to be that useful for many houses is it? How can you check whether one socket will be on the same circuit as another?


July 9, 2015, 3:07 pm

Hi Paul
Where do you live? In the UK most houses run through a central panel. I've used powerline extenders in a number of houses with the router downstairs and the extender upstairs with few problems.


November 10, 2015, 2:08 am

hey dude, i'm in a similar situation, did it work for you in the end?


May 8, 2016, 9:54 pm

so I live in canada and want so use one from my main floor to my basement, Im wondering same thing.

Arne Delve

January 6, 2017, 10:13 am

There is a lot of misinformation about regarding the issue of the operation of powerline adapters on different "CIRCUITS". The author of the above article is helping to spread the confusion even further. Let me try to clarify. The power generated by the national grid is distributed in 'three phases', and these are the three circuits that powerline manufacturers refer to. On a housing estate with three hundred houses, one hundred houses will be connected to each of the three phases (circuits). Domestic property is connected to one phase only (commercial buildings like factories and Tesco will use all three of the phases) It does not matter how many power circuits come out of your distibution box, your powerline adapters can be plugged into each and every one and it does not matter one iota which circuit you use, they will all work perfectly well. The same does NOT apply to commercial premises; only the powerlines that are connected to the same phase (circuit) will be able to communicate with each other. Hope that this clarifies as to what constitutes a circuit as far as powerlines are concerned

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