The DHP-1320 Wireless N PowerLine router from D-Link.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET)

If you live in a house that's either huge or has lots of thick walls or both, even the most powerful home wireless router probably won't be able to broadcast the signal to every corner. In this case, it's a good idea to also equip the property with powerline networking via kits such as the WD Livewire or the Linksys PLK300. In this case, it's more convenient to get yourself an all-in-one router that has built-in support for both Wi-Fi and Powerline technologies.

The first example of this new type of networking devices is the D-Link DHP-1320 Wireless N PowerLine Router.

The DHP-1320 looks similar to other wireless routers, except it's noticeably thicker. This is because its power adapter is housed inside the chassis and now doubles as a powerline adapter. This means that when plugged into the wall, the power cable will also work as a data cable for the first end of a powerline connection. All you have to do is plug other HomePlug AV Powerline adapters into other power sockets around the house and you'll have yourself a complete powerline network, which turns the home's electrical wiring into network cables.

The DHP-1320 worked as intended in our tests and for the most part it's great, especially for the street price of just around $85. It's not perfect, however, and is essentially a very basic router that offers just three LAN ports and lacks the support for dual-band and Gigabit Ethernet. Its embedded powerline is also that of the HomePlug AV standard that caps at 200Mbps, not the new 500Mbps standard used in some existing powerline kits such as the TRENDnet TPL-401E2K.

The router does offer a USB port to be used with D-Link SharePort technology that allows for turning any USB device into one that works with any computer in the network. Still, the lack of support for the higher-speed standards makes the router suitable for situations where flexibility is more important than performance.

To find out if the router is the one you've been looking for, check out our full review of the D-Link DHP-1320..

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