Looking to expand your networking coverage but plain ole Wi-Fi just isn't cutting it? Netgear may have the solution you need with the launch of its Powerline 1200 Adapter Kit (PL1200 (opens in new tab)). The company also plans to launch a second Powerline 1200 kit (PLP1200 (opens in new tab)) next month that includes built-in electrical sockets.
Unlike Wi-Fi and Ethernet cable setups, the PL1200 kit establishes a network by using the existing electrical wiring in a home or office. Users simply plug one adapter into a wall outlet and connect it to a router or modem via an Ethernet cable. The second adapter can be plugged in anywhere on the same electrical system, providing a wired device such as a computer, gaming console or an HDTV access to the Internet without the hassles of long cords and spotty Wi-Fi connections.
The specifications of the PL1200 kit show that the adapters provide speeds of up to 1200 Mbps across the electrical system. The adapters are also HomePlug AV2 compliant, IEEE 802.3 compliant, and compatible with HomePlug AV and HomePlug Green PHY. Users can install up to 16 adapters on one electrical system.
However, the drawback to these adapters is that they don't provide built-in electrical outlets; thus, you'll lose an outlet when the adapters are plugged into the wall. That's where the PLP1200 comes into play.
The adapters in the PLP1200 kit provide a built-in noise-filtered pass-through electrical outlet, allowing users to plug in their PC, game console or other device without the adapter hogging up an electrical outlet. And like the previous kit, the PLP1200 provides speeds of up to 1200 Mbps. There's also a "pick-a-plug" LED that visually indicates the best possible connection to the network.
Unfortunately, these two kits can't serve as wireless access points. Instead, they each have a one gigabit Ethernet port. Netgear indicated that setup can be completed in mere minutes, and there's no software to install. All adapters power down when they're not in use, saving energy.
If you're looking for a Powerline solution that comes packed with Wi-Fi connectivity, check out Netgear’s Powerline 500 + WiFi series instead. These two kits provide 500 Mbps across the electrical line and up to 300 Mbps over the air (Wireless N). These adapters also have the pick-a-plug LED, a push-and-secure button and a gigabit Ethernet port. One kit provides a pass-through electrical socket (XWNB5602 (opens in new tab)), while the other (XWNB5201 (opens in new tab)) does not.
As for pricing of the two kits, the PL1200 will set you back $79.99, whereas the PLP1200 will cost $89.99 when it launches next month. Each kit contains two adapters along with two Ethernet cables.