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Devolo dLAN AV USB Extender Review

Pros

  • Works as advertised
  • Software is excellent

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Proprietary solution
  • NAS/Router makes a better solution

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £88.39
  • Makes USB devices available over powerline
  • Connect one USB device to multiple PCs
  • Multiple adaptors can work together

We’ve seen no shortage of Ethernet-over-power adaptors in our time but although we’ve never failed to be impressed by the technology inside them, the products themselves don’t offer that much variety beyond the transfer speeds they offer. Bucking that trend, however, is the DeVolo dLAN 200 AV USB Extender, which takes the principles of powerline networking, and takes them to a fairly logical new domain: powerline-USB.


It’s a clever idea, if not an amazingly imaginative one – we’ve seen countless (wireless) routers offer similar functionality. The big ace up the DeVolo LAN 200 AV USB’s sleeve is that it doesn’t require an Ethernet or wireless connection, the former of which is an obvious hassle, and the latter of which doesn’t always provide the most stable or speedy of connections.


Functionally that makes the DeVolo dLAN 200 AV USB a basic device. The two members of the powerline-USB tag team are fairly small units, one of which packs an Ethernet port, the other a USB port. We’d have liked to see a couple of ports, which would justify this adaptors rather high, almost £90, price. The ability to link multiple computers to a single USB device is pretty useful though – even if you will have to buy more powerline Ethernet adaptors to use this feature.


Physically the two adaptors that comprise the DeVolo dLAN 200 AV USB kit are what you’d expect – fairly small unimposing boxes, one of which is equipped with a USB port underneath, the other an Ethernet port in the same place. Also next to these ports on both is a button for enabling the encryption of the data over the network – at a small performance penalty that’s nigh unnoticeable given the transfer speeds to and from any attached device are limited by USB’s slow data rate.

The bundled dLAN Cockpit software is used to manage compatible attached peripherals – be they printers, scanners or storage devices. A lesser issue, but one that affected us, is the lack of OS X and Linux support – the DeVolo Cockpit software is supposed to be available for these operating systems, but a release is as yet still not forthcoming.


To its credit, this interface is surprisingly easy to use. As well as showing a faux-map (obviously the software doesn’t display the physical location of your adaptors) you can name adaptors, add new adaptors by their id (printed on the device). If you have other DeVolo adaptors, the Cockpit even shows you the data rate between them and will suggest ways to improve it if it’s particularly low.


For all of the fanciness of the UI, however, the DeVolo dLAN 200 AV USB has a few issues. For a start, it’s perhaps disappointing, but not unsurprising that the DeVolo dLAN 200 AV USB isn’t just able to present remote USB devices as if they were natively network-accessible. So although you can access USB storage devices from a computer, there’s no DLNA streaming – a feature that a number of USB-equipped routers do offer. And similarly there’s no web access to attached storage, another feature a dedicated storage system would likely offer.


This might be acceptable if the DeVolo LAN 200 AV USB adaptors were cheap, but they’re far from it. For not that much more than these adaptors you can get a https://www.trustedreviews.com/networking/review/2010/03/24/Verbatim-Gigabit-NAS-External-Hard-Drive-1TB/p1 Verbatim Gigabit NAS (or a number of similar systems) that throws in a terabyte of storage to boot – and can have external drives and printers attached to it. And with this solution If you decide you really need powerline Ethernet you can always add adaptors later.

Verdict


The DeVolo LAN 200 AV USB adaptors sound like a great idea in theory, but in practice they turn out not to be that useful. Where Ethernet-over-powerline is almost universally useful, USB-over-powerline has a way to go before it’s a particularly useful technology.

Trusted Score


Score in detail

  • Value 6

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