The Devolo Magic 2 WiFi next is essentially a base unit and repeaters that uses the power lines in your home rather than air bandwidth to repeat signals. What this accomplishes in newer houses is fairly consistent speeds that are not affected by things such as someone walking between a destination device and a router, or closing doors.
The following is the result of nearly two months playing with these thinking something had to be wrong on my end. I finally placed them in a fourth location an got a use case that worked. Please read this as “if you have ancient wiring, power conditioners, or plaster walls this product is not for you.” You can read about my pretty bad first impressions of the product here.
The pitch was interesting – Powerline tech for the destination units, up to 1600 feet WiFi range, and the ability with the destination repeaters to plug things in. Back end of nearly 2 gigabits also seemed really promising as I liked the idea of putting a NAS somewhere away from the base and if I could reach even 1 gig speeds on the backend this would handle it.
I was sent the base unit starter set and two or three additional access points. In my 1940’s house, with the exception of the one repeater that was 11ish feet down a new copper run, I never saw above a gigabit on the back end. My average repeater claimed it could pull about 100mbit over the powerline (old lines,) but what the speed claims on the app were never realized in internet speed tests where I routinely pull 400mbit off of a single AP (my beloved Portal router.)
To be clear, at my house it worked worse anywhere in the house, in any combination, and at any distance than my Portal WiFi router did from anywhere outside my house. Using only the AP that claimed it has a 1400mbit connection from the outlet to the base my max speed was a little under 100mbit out. This 100mbit limit never really changed whether with CAT 5E, cat 6, and 4 different gigabit connections. I think I saw 130mbit when I tested it in a studio but it was always slow to the internet.
I mentioned this to their tech support and got no good answer. Even in the use case I have it in now – 1960’s ranch style house, long, better wiring, all the units claim about 300mbit connection to base and yup I’m topping out on speed tests into a gigabit router at 88mbit. Now, 88mbit is enough for the use case I’ve got it in now and we’re going to keep it there for a bit but it’s not gigabit speeds.
I mean, over the air repeaters suck like this, I hadn’t expected a powerline + WiFi to be this. It really feels when you’re in an updated environment where it’s reporting a good backend signal that it’s a firmware issue that evidently most on Amazon’s reviews are experiencing. That or nobody has bothered to run a speed test on it in the US.
My main issue with this has been that 1,600 feet range that was pitched to me. The WiFi is stable, but not strong. In the tests at my house it died if I walked outside my house. This with the repeaters blanketing the walls. The experience I got was weak WiFi, several Devolo Magic 2 WiFi next boxes that were quite warm heating up the place, and in the end a very meh experience.
I’ll note the worse the wiring the warmer they seemed to be, but I didn’t take a temperature gun to them to verify.
The only use case I have had it work for is the 1960’s house with updated wiring where the best powerline signal reaches 300mbit and the internet speed that the Magic 2 next reaches maybe 90 (on a connection I can pull 400mbit easy.) It’s solid there, but the WiFi doesn’t penetrate the walls particularly effectively and as such, anywhere that there needs to be a signal, there’s a Magic 2 box in that room. This isn’t a deal breaker, but the repeater boxes take up a LOT of space and they are not inexpensive.
I believe the 100mbit slowdown is a firmware issue, the WiFi range I don’t know, we’re talking a good 70 feet line of site and it’s weak. No idea where the 1600 feet claim came from. The product is an interesting idea that I hope they really work at fixing.
If you’ve got a house with modern wiring and don’t particularly care about gig speeds, this actually did do an ok job getting internet from the far left to the far right of a 1960’s ranch style house. If you’re looking at that 2 gigabit powerline backend and hoping to utilize it I don’t think you’re going to be happy.
1940’s house – 2-5 units failed to be better than one several year old WiFi access point. 100mbit speeds reported on speedtests when connected to box claiming 1400 to the base unit
Studio – modern wiring with a potential power conditioner in the mix, high rates of speed reported box to box, internet still at 100mbit give or take
House 2 – wiring too old, not worth much of a test as everything was showing bad or in the 20mbit range
Ranch house – worked, 300mbit highest back end anything shows, 80-90mbit highest speed you’re going to see on speed tests
Overall, I’d wait and see if there’s a firmware update that addresses some of the range and speed issues as I have a feeling the hardware is capable but the programming is weak.
You can find them on Amazon, check the reviews I’m not alone.
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