Wednesday, October 25, 2017

TP-Link WPA4530 kit review & fix for random disconnect

I've recently purchased a TP-Link WPA4530 kit for roughly less than $70 (3500 pesos) to extend my WiFi coverage and eliminate a particular dead-spot that so happened to be my desktop PC workspace at home. The device I bought is a consumer-based version which is both a powerline adapter and WiFi AC750 access point.

The next few bits is sort of a background of the item I've purchased; sort of a pseudo-review. For those who just need the answer to your "WPA4530 TP-link random disconnect powerline" Google search, scroll down (or click here) to the workaround part

The Backstory

At first I was a bit skeptic about using a "powerline" (powerline communication or PLC) but this is actually an old technology based on data communications used by power distribution companies to monitor and control their power grid. I was willing to try this out because it fell within my budget and I've already tried using a high-power AC2400 router (Asus AC87U) which was a tad expensive for the intended purpose and performed sub-par as I have wanted, but it did the job of removing the dead-spot.

You might think that "hey, why not use those WiFi Mesh network devices" solution compared to using PLC devices. To answer that, I'm not YET a firm believer of that technology, especially if the product hasn't gone mainstream to other manufacturers. I guess that's a good bet for a different scenario where PLC devices are not possible (i.e. old houses with old wiring). 

The Review

Bottom-line, it did work on my setup at home. It does work even if the house layout wiring of the source outlet and destination outlet are at two different circuit breakers, as long as it is still under one master breaker.

I used a universal adapter on the source PLC device (PA4020P) because it was a three-prong and my power outlet was the two-prong ungrounded version located at the ground floor near my gateway router. The wireless device PLC (WPA4530) is plugged at the second floor of the house and has the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi enabled. I also use the in-built ethernet (LAN) port for my desktop workstation.

this photo not mine; was too lazy to take a shot of my own unit
The PLC kit has a rated transfer rate of 500Mbps, but for real-world specs I'm getting a decent 130-175Mbps which is still good and enough for HD streaming for my Chromecast and online gaming using my desktop PC.

Workaround / Fix for random disconnect

For those who may have problems with random disconnection of their TP-Link powerline devices (given you've configured it correctly and have used it for a couple of minutes), I found a workaround based on forums that there is a "power-saving" mode for the PA4020P that turns-off the connection after 5 minutes of inactivity between the PLC devices. The power-save mode is sometimes persistent even after unplugging and plugging it back in. I think this fix is not exclusive for the WPA4530 kit and can also be used for other (older or newer) models.

From the official product page of TP-Link for your model/device, go to the "Support" section and look for the Utility tab. For the WPA4530kit, the link is this one You will need to download and install their TP-PLC utility program. This will let you monitor and manage your TP-Link PLC devices.

Once you have finish installing the program, just play around it and look for the advanced settings for the PA4020P devices and you should see a way to disable the "power saving" mode.

This fix is actually based on an old article (from I read that tells of a tool to disable the power-saving feature of TP-Link powerline devices. However it only provided the old program that no longer support Win8 and above.

By the way, I did not bother updating the firmware as they're still up-to-date once I got it out of the box.

I hope this article helps people out there, both looking for ways to solve their WiFi dead-spot or those who already have this powerline device and looking for answers.


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