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.