In what must be a manufacturer's unspoken rule at this point, the kit model number varies only slightly from that of the individual adapter.
Inside the box, we're provided two powerline adapters, two RJ-45 cables, a quick-start guide and a utility software disc.
Tech specs tell us that this product employs the HomePlug AV standard, and again we have no ground prong. The operating range for this set of powerline adapters is not listed in the product documentation or on the TP-Link website, but data rates are claimed to reach up to 600 Mb/s.
Although the form factor is small, power consumption is higher than what we saw from D-Link. On average, power consumption is reported close to 7W, making TP-Link's TL-PA6010 the most power-hungry device in this round-up.
Only two products are listed in the HomePlug Alliance Certified Product Index for TP-Link, and the PA6010 series adapters are not present with either the HomePlug AV or the HomePlug AV2 search filter applied. TP-Link's packaging doesn't even reference HomePlug, while the TP-Link product page does call out the HomePlug AV standard.
Although not marketed as a nano model, the TP-Link TL-PA6010 is more compact in length and width than the other powerline adapters in this review, although its depth extends farther from the wall. It also has ample clearance for the top wall outlet to accommodate a three-prong cable.
Power-saving mode is triggered after five minutes of inactivity, and is indicated by a blinking power LED. The powerline LED on TP-Link's solution does not visualize different data rates. If needed, a pair of buttons is available on the bottom, adjacent to the Ethernet port.
TP-Link includes a resource CD in the adapter kit, but the advanced configuration utility is also available for download via its support site. The first view displayed is the network view, in which detected TP-Link adapters are listed.
With a powerline adapter highlighted, clicking the Status button shows more detailed information about that particular unit. From this view, you can also change the network name for each adapter.
Clicking on the Advanced button allows you to set application- or VLAN-based quality of service.
The System button lets you upgrade firmware, restore factory defaults to the local unit or multiple adapters, and globally apply a network name for all powerline units.
Following the same line of thought applied to the D-Link powerline adapter, I felt along the TP-Link label for a slight depression indicating a possible screw housing. I did locate such a depression right behind the MAC/Password part of the label.
With the handy box cutter, I cut away the suspected area to reveal…that I was wrong!
With no other signs suggesting that a screw holds the case together, I explored the case edges for plastic clip holders. This process was pretty frustrating, as TP-Link case engineers did not intend for anyone other than the refurbishers to peer inside. Not to be deterred, I did manage to get the case popped off. Here is my mangled result:
Due to how resistant the case was to tampering, alas, we suffered a casualty…
For reference, and so you can avoid mangling your adapter as much as I did, here are all six plastic clips highlighted:
Researching parts for this Powerline adapter proved to be more difficult; when you finally do manage to get the cover off, this is what you see:
Even after exposing the board components, it's difficult to find chipset names. Check out the following four photos from different angles:
From the last pic, we can identify the fuse, but not much else. The two gray blocks on top appear to be some type of thermal protection; after peeling those off, I was able to see the Qualcomm Atheros QCA7450/AR1540 and the Qualcomm Atheros AR8035-A.
I briefly attempted to pry apart the two boards, but since they didn't want to budge, I stopped before mangling the internals as well.