ZyXEL Claims World's First With New Gigabit Powerline Adapter

Up until now, we've seen powerline-based networks reach 500 Mbps speeds. This type of setup typically includes one adapter plugged into a network's router and an electrical outlet, with "receiver" adapters plugged into other electrical outlets throughout the home or office.

However, networking device supplier ZyXEL Communications announced on Tuesday that it's the first company to release a gigabit-speed powerline adapter, the PLA5206, which will be sold in pairs for $160. The company also plans to release a 1.2 Gbps MIMO powerline adapter, the PLA5405, at a later date.

So what's the difference? The PLA5206 works when each adapter is on the same power line. However, the PLA5405 adapter includes Line-Natural / Line-Ground MIMO smart-antenna technology, meaning the adapter can send networking data over different wires at the same time. According to the company, this method provides extended coverage and better throughput.

The adapters are based on the HomePlug AV2 standard, which supports gigabit powerline speeds. They also provide backwards compatibility to devices based on HomePlug AV and IEEE 1901.

As for the specs, the PLA5405 product page isn't online as of the writing of this article. However, the PLA5406 specs show a gigabit Ethernet port that can be used for connecting the router on one plug and wired devices on the other plugs such as a game console, HDTV, Blu-ray player and so on. Other features include 128-bit AES encryption, a power saving mode, a maximum range of 984 feet and more.

"ZyXEL continues to push the envelope, launching better, faster and simpler home networking solutions," said Steven Joe, executive vice president for channel business for Americas at ZyXEL. "Our new powerline adapters will offer consumers more choices in plug-n-play, gigabit home networking technology."

The PLA5206 is expected to hit authorized virtual and retail store shelves on September 1. The PL5205 won't arrive until sometime in October.

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  • slapshot136
  • yay
    I know this is misleading, but actually no. The belkin has a gigabit network port but only manages 500mbps maximum transfer speeds.

    There are even offerings with 100mbps network ports on devices capable of 4 or 500 Mbps. They still get to say it will do 500mbps, but you will never actually reach that speed even in a perfect world.
  • christinebcw
    This will be an interesting test-product for us. ZyXel has been an interesting thorn-in-the-side for bigger brands for a few decades. I remember their first 14.4 modems being superior to Hayes, and then everyone jumped on the clone-modem market. 19.2 was short-lived, and next was ?? 24.4 then 28.8? Was that the steps? The ZyXel 28.8s were pretty solid - a lot of BBSs were humming with 8 of those to a COM port card.

    I'll definitely be looking forward to the first WORKING gigabyte powerline.