Linksys PLEK400 Powerline Networking Kit
|Linksys PLEK400 Powerline Networking Kit|
|Features and Specifications|
|Installation, Setup and More|
|Performance and Final Thoughts|
Networking has come a long way in terms of speed, reliability and flexibility and today we are looking at a piece of technology from Linksys that tries to fill the void that exists between wireless networking and running cables everywhere. We will be looking at the Powerline AV 1-Port Network Adapter Kit. This kit uses the existing wiring in your building to run networking signals through. Unlike the Trendnet TPL-307E2K kit, the Linksys kit doesn't provide wall receptacles so it will take up a wall plug.
There are a few benefits to Powerline networking that are worth mentioning. First and most obvious, the infrastructure. It's already there. Most buildings have electrical wiring - at least in Canada and even some of our igloos are wired. Second, there is no interference from wireless products. Even though these products have some range issues - some are rated to just under 1000' and this exceeds typical wireless networks and doesn't require line of site. There is no word on the range of the PLEK400 on the Linksys site, but we'll test it side-by-side with the Trendnet kit and see how it stacks up.
Linksys has a couple of Powerline products currently available - this one, and the PLSK400 which is a 4-port version of this unit. The 200Mbps kit that we're looking at today is their entry-level single-port product that is designed to add one device to your network.
As is pretty typical for Linksys products these days, the PLEK400 kit comes boxed up in some professional-looking packaging. Linksys has gone with a blue theme looks good on the shelf and stands out as this is part of their brand identity. The back of the box shows how simple it is to setup and how quickly it should be to get working. Other than a few other specifications and disclaimers, there's not much else to look at here.
As you can see above, they've included everything you need to get plugged in to the wall, your network and your end-point device that you're trying to connect. There are a couple of 5' Cat 5e cables and a quick-install guide on a piece of paper if you can't figure out how to plug these into the wall or your network.
There really isn't a
lot to the device itself. They plug into the wall - something else can
plug into them. They connect to your network by the Ethernet port on
the bottom. You'll notice in the images above that there are three LED
indicators on the front and a single button on the bottom. We'll cover
these a bit more in the testing section.
On the next page, we'll take a look at the features and specifications of the PLEK400 before we fire them up, take a look at the setup and interface then jump into testing.