on April 28, 2012
My house was prewired with CAT5 throughout however the Ethernet outlet in the office was across the room from the router and I did not want to string wire under the carpet to reach it. I had seen these network power line adapters before but was hesitant to buy them as some customers had expressed difficulties going across circuit breakers and electrical subpanels. I talked to Cisco/Linksys prior to purchase and they told me that they do not guarantee the PLEs across circuit breakers and their success ratio with these units is about 90% overall.
My PLEK400 units arrived a few days ago and they are working very well. The adapters could not be easier to install and in less than 5 minutes I had Ethernet throughout my power lines. These units are basically plug-and-play although I recommend downloading the "PLE400 Utility" from the Cisco site as it installs a PC based User Interface to easily setup additional security, name each adapter, check status, update firmware, etc. One of the two adapters (they are both identical) plugs to an electrical outlet near the router and is connected to the router by the provided Ethernet cable (this becomes the base unit). At this point you have Ethernet throughout your electrical lines. The second adapter plugs to a different electrical outlet providing a network connection to whatever you hook up into that adapter.
In my own application, the office, I plugged the 2 adapters into electrical outlets which are under the same circuit breaker. The second adapter (the downstream unit) is connected to the Ethernet outlet by that wall and connects to my prewired CAT5 system throughout the house. To test this setup, I went to the furthest room from the router, the master bedroom, and I was able to stream Netflix at high quality without difficulty. This is an easy application - one adapter transmits the signal to the other adapter through perhaps 25 feet of power line, all in the same room, and my hardwired CAT5 system takes over from that point forward.
As I mentioned, the setup above places the two PLEs under the same circuit breaker. In order to further test the units, I took one (the downstream adapter) to the master bedroom and plugged it to an electrical outlet there and then to a Sony BD player. I could again stream Netflix without difficulty. In this setup I am under the same electrical panel but on two different circuit breakers (arc fault interrupters, no less, which can be finicky) and Ethernet is traveling through 200-300 feet of power line (from the office to the electrical panel and from the panel to the master bedroom). I then took the adapter to the upstairs media room. The electrical outlets in this room are fed from an electrical subpanel, a panel that cascades downstream form the main one, and to my surprise, the adapters worked there also (same solid Netflix streaming). As far as speeds/throughput I am not able to provide much information other than video streaming at high quality is stable (my ISP bandwidth is 12.5 Mbps). I do not use these units for file transfers so speeds above my ISP bandwidth are not an issue to me. The "PLE Utility" reports high bandwidth rates but I do not necessarily believe this information as real.
In my own application these adapters work very well across different circuit breakers, across subpanels and at long distances from my router and I recommend them as an alternative to hardwired Ethernet (Ethernet over Coax would be another option). The fact that my house has good wiring undoubtedly helps. I suggest trying them to determine if they work in your own installation and if not, returning them.
Update of 1/1/2014
My original review was written in April 2012 and the PLEs worked well until November 2013. In December 2013 the bandwidth through them fell way down to just 3 to 4 Mbps. As I described above I use these units for an A/V network and before December I could obtain my full ISP bandwidth (12.5 Mbps) through them allowing Netflix/Amazon video at high quality. With just 3-4 Mbps the video stream started freezing and reloading repeatedly making them impractical to use. As some of you may be aware Cisco sold the Linksys Division to Belkin earlier this year so I contacted Belkin Support. I provided a detailed written explanation of my problem but regardless their response was a very brief and useless "one liner" that made no technical sense; they simply said to "use Wireless N on my router and let them know what happened". Gee whiz, I was on Wireless N already but this is irrelevant to the PLE units as they are not wireless; they are "wired only" and are connected to the router/gateway by Ethernet. My wireless settings have nothing to do with them.
Since Belkin Support had been of no help, I spent the better part of 2 days testing my system and the problem was exclusively with the PLEs. I then unplugged the PLEs for two hours to allow for a complete reboot, I reset both of them to factory default, and then reinstalled the latest FW (even though they had the latest already). Something in this process worked and at the moment they are performing as before with full ISP bandwidth (Netflix/Amazon video now ok). Was this a FW glitch or is one of the PLEs failing? We will see...
I had originally rated these units 5 Stars but as a result of my recent experience I dropped the rating to 4. These units are still good as long as you don't need support. If you surf through the Amazon reviews you will notice that Belkin tends to comment on nearly all of the negative reviews with what seems to be a very good message - "sorry for your difficulties, email us at BelkinCares and we will help you, etc., etc." but the follow through appears to be minimal. There have been substantial technology improvements in "Ethernet over Power Lines" and at this point I would be inclined to try the TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT AV500 Nano 500Mbps units which are selling for $39.99 on Amazon as I write this and are highly rated.
BTW, on a separate issue, I also have a PLW400 wireless unit connected to my system as a range extender (i.e., a second wireless access point at the far end of the house away from the main router) and I offer the following tips to avoid conflicts. If you use the "Utility" software that comes with the PLEs while the PLW is plugged in, please be aware that this "Utility" will reset the IP address of the PLW making it difficult to find or access the PLW in your network. If you try to use the "Utility" that comes with the PLW it will be incompatible with the PLEs. The solution I found is as follows. One does not need a "Utility" at all for the PLW - just go to the IP address of the PLW and access all of the settings directly, just like accessing the settings on any router. One does need the "Utility" with the PLEs in order to perform advanced settings with these units (not required but desirable), and to do so without resetting the PLW simply unplug the PLW first, use the PLE Utility, and then plug the PLW back in after you are through. While I am at it, if you use a second wireless access point in your system, be it a PLW400 or another unit, I recommend setting both the main router and the second access point to the same identical settings (SSIDs, Network Keys, Bands, etc.) as this makes transitioning through them rather seamless. I originally tried two different SSIDs so I could see which access point I was connected to, but this created lags and sometimes misconnections when roaming with laptops or iPhones. Hope this helps...
on July 14, 2012
I bought this for my home theater so that I could hook up all the internet-enabled components. I used to think that when a product was Ethernet-enabled that meant that you had to run 100 feet of Ethernet cable from your router, through the walls, and to your components. That sounded messy to me so I always looked for WiFi-enabled products. I initially thought about buying a bridge instead but my understanding is that the Powerline adapters were faster since they are a wired connection. I can't verify that but that is what I was told so double check.
I was also told that for the Powerline adapter kit to work, both outlets must be on the same circuit. I don't know about you but I am not an electrician and I really do not know what this means. So I just crossed my fingers, bought this product, and hoped for the best.
The product contains two adapters; one that you plug into an outlet by your router and another that plugs into an outlet wherever your other equipment is located. You also get two Cat5e cables which I find to be a little on the shorter side so you may want to buy a six foot or longer cable. There is no instruction manual included just a small diagram. Honestly, you don't need an instruction manual because the four-step diagram really sums up the installation process.
Here is what you do:
1. Plug the single port end into an outlet by your router
2. Connect it to a port on your router
3. Plug the other port near the other equipment
4. Connect this port to the port on the equipment
That's it, no settings to change and you will be online (assuming both outlets are on the same circuit.) All I had to do was go into the TV menu and perform the "connect to internet" setup and the TV recognized the signal right away.
I highly recommend you spend the extra few bucks and get the four port version because you never know when you will need the extra ports.
Regarding the circuit breaker issue. My understanding is that the kitchen and the bathroom are on different circuits from the bedroom and living room. Apparently my bedroom and the living room are on the same circuit so perhaps that might be the same for a lot of other people.
I'm glad I found out about this product instead of just buying an overpriced WiFi adapter for my TV or buying a more expensive Blu-Ray player with built in WiFi. A wired connection is best so try that first before wireless.
This is such a cool product and I think you will agree. I highly recommend it.
EDIT: 6-month update 1/9/13: I have never had an issue with this unit since I hooked it up. The signal and performance have remained strong!
EDIT#2: 7/21/15: Just want to point out that you should not plug these into a surge protector and perhaps even a power strip. I recently re-did my living room and plugged this into a surge protector and I did not get signal. Initially I thought it was something else and I kept resetting it but it turns out you have to plug these directly into an outlet. Once I did that, problem solved.
on December 17, 2012
Some of the reviewers on this site may be a little confused, as Amazon is selling three different types of Linksys Powerline units; two of them are wired units and one features a wireless extension mode of operation. Note the selection box that allows you to select single port, 4 port and wireless units. Most of the negative reviews seem to be directed at the wireless unit, although there are a few complaints about the units not working unless they are plugged into AC outlets connected to the same circuit breaker. That was not the situation in my large house. I tried the 4port WIRED unit in three different areas of an 8500 square foot house; each area was on its own AC sub-panel, obviously with different circuit breakers and different AC panels in use at each end of the powerline internet circuit.
The Linksys wired units worked perfectly for me in all three areas that I tried. I just plugged them in and was up and operating with a high speed wired internet circuit within about a minute. No configuration was required, as I am only using a pair of the Linksys units. I think the button on the side of the 4 port wired unit is used to configure pairs of these power line units if you are using more than one pair of them in your house. The manual is not too clear on this.
I didn't try the wireless units, but the wired 4 port unit worked great for me and is highly recommended if you have large distances to cover, or if you are experiencing wireless network interference (usually periodic signal dropouts or slow transmission speeds) from your neighbor's wireless routers.
on July 1, 2013
If you want the short version BUT THESE they are awesome !!!
If you want the explanation here it is. My goal was to send large files (1.25 - 2.0 GB) mp4 and mkv to my media server that is upstairs in my house. My PC that is used to create these files is downstairs and cutting up the walls to run Ethernet is not an option. First I tried every form of wireless (N150, N300, N900 & even AC) all the wirelees was great for surfing and sending a few MP3's to the media server. All the wireless SUCKED with movie transfers and copying my itunes folder to the server (40gb)
Finally I tried Powerline. Got a set of 200mbps (different brand and they worked well) a movie would transfer in 6 - 7 minutes but it was slow to web surf while this was occurring. I saw that Linksys released the first AV2 spec powerline and thought let's try them out.
A movie now transfers in 2 - 2.5 min (and no lag while surfing and transferring at the same time). Connecting speed is between 210 mbps to 240 mpbs. Having used both 100 megabit Ethernet and eventually gigabit Ethernet in my previous home I'd place the transfer rate on these as substantial faster than 100 megabits and not as fast as gigabit. Note: these are observations not measured throughput, however I have observed a lot of networks so I am confident is stating that if you are looking for powerline adapter that can move some serious data, these should not disappoint. The PLEK 500 is expensive, but it's also the only AV2 spec kit available - as with automobiles speed doesn't come cheap.
Additionlly, 3 weeks and have not had to unplug/replug or reset the device since the initial setup.
on February 25, 2012
I bought this network adapter kit for my Sony Blue-Ray player, which was running/streaming @ 45% of the router signal/wireless. They were very easy to set up.when I first tested the adapters,the signal dropped down to 38%, but then I realized I did not change the wifi/connection setting to a wired connection and wow what a huge difference.Now I can stream movies 4x faster then before.I would highly recommend the Linksys Powerline AV 1-Port Network Adapter Kit (PLEK400).
on January 3, 2013
I bought this setup for my bedroom which has a weak wireless signal. The Linksys Powerline was very easy to set up, and I was up and running within 10 minutes of plugging the devices into the outlets. However, I experienced 2 issues which were deal breakers and forced me to return the product:
1. The Powerline apparently creates some noise/interference in the electrical system of our home, and devices which are sensitive to irregular ouput can be affected by the Powerline. For example, the touch-sensitive lamp in our bedroom kept turning itself on every few minutes or so and no matter where I moved the Powerline adapter, this continued to happen.
2. I was under the impression that the Powerline wireless adapter would allow me to use the same SSID as my main wireless network and seamlessly extend my wireless network to our bedroom, but unfortunately, it doesn't exactly work that way. The Powerline basically creates a separate access point (even when using the same SSID) so devices that are moved near the Powerline actually must disconnect from the main network and reconnect to the Powerline wireless network. Not a big deal if you don't require a continuous connection, but if you're using a mobile device that happens to be downloading something, moving to the Powerline wireless network will cause the download to disconnect.
If you don't have a problem with the two issues I've described above, then it's likely that the Powerline will work great for you. If you do, however, you'll probably have to find another solution.
on August 27, 2013
Although our Comcast "Performance" Internet service is advertised at 20 mbps download, the Comcast-provided Arris TG862 wireless router modem was actually delivering 25mbps everywhere in our 3500 square foot house except (you guessed it) in MY office (the guy who pays the bills). I was getting around 1-2 mbps (!); a real dead spot. I tried to swap offices with my wife; she told me to buzz off.
I considered a wireless extender, but, since I do webinars from my office, went with the wired approach and the just-released Linksys PLEK500 kit instead. This was my first adventure into powerline networking.
Installation was a piece of cake.
I took the two adapters out of the box, plugged one into the router modem and a power outlet near it, and the other into an outlet and the computer in my office, connected the included CAT5 cables, power-cycled both the network and computer (in that order), and bingo! The three LED's on both adapters were all green, and I now have 24 mbps (download) and 4mbps (upload) of WIRED Internet service in my office, and a hybrid network throughout the house for any future use.
PROS: Installation could not be easier.
The AV2 technology should be future-proof for a while.
CONS: Pricey at $120 for the kit.
At this writing, single additional adapters are not available. I'm sure Cisco will take care of that.
TIPS: Plug the adapters directly into an outlet, not into a power strip. I tried that first, and got only about 8 mbps download.
It's almost certain that the included utility CD will be out of date as soon as you receive the kit. Download an updated version from the Linksys support site. You'll need it for security settings. While you're there, check for updated firmware (mine was current).
UPDATE: 08-02-14. Had my Internet speed upgraded by Comcast to 105 mbps (perhaps because they were running a wi-fi Hotspot on my rented Comcast router/modem). The PLEK500 system was already in place in my basement office.
Couldn't get anywhere near 105 mbps either wireless or wired anywhere in the house, so replaced the rented Comcast router/modem with a Motorola SB6141 modem and ASUS RT-N66W wireless router. Wireless speeds SOARED around the house to 80-120 mbps, depending on location.
However, my basement office wired connection using the PLEK500 Powerline Network system REMAINED at 30 mbps after entering the new network key using the Cisco utility.
Read on a Cisco forum the very good suggestion that I test the PLEK500 system by walking one of the adapters around the house and testing it in various places. The results were revealing. Depending upon which household circuit I was on, speeds varied from 30-113 mbps.
Lessons for me: (1) which circuit you're on matters a lot to the PLEK500 system, and (2) the difference in performance between the Comcast router/modem and my purchased gear was huge! P.S. the 30 mbps PLEK500 in my office still beats the 6mbps wireless speed there now.
UPDATE: 10/25/14 Thanks to the very good Cisco forum, I've realized since my last update that my two PLEK500 adapters are not only on two different CIRCUITS, which will likely slow the signal, but they are on two different electrical PANELS to boot! Apparently when the basement (the location of my office) was finished, and the swimming pool was installed, in the 90's, the electrical service was upgraded to 200 amps, and a second panel was installed for both. Hence the added delay, and the reason why my office was among the slowest locations in the house in my "walk-around test" described above.
Otherwise the system remains 5-star. I think I've had to re-boot it once in 1.5 years, probably due to a power burp. Otherwise it just runs and runs and runs and.....
Highly recommended. Just realize that location, and layout of your electrical system, will very much affect your speed. Like in my case, where I have a hybrid wired/wireless network, your PLEK500 speeds may vary much more than your wireless speeds. This will be less true in smaller homes, like condos and apartments, where there are simply fewer circuits (and panels).
on December 28, 2012
I wanted a wired solution to various points in my house to get the full bandwidth of my cable modem, which can get > 50 Mbps download speed with a direct Ethernet cable connection to my router. The initial reviews I read about these devices sounded fairly good, so I purchased a few of them. My initial tests were ok. I could get 20-30 Mbps download speed, which was not the full bandwidth of my cable modem, but still slightly better than my WiFi connection speed. However, after using these powerline adapters for a period of a few weeks, I would notice that I would regularly (couple of times per hour) lose my Internet connection for 10-15 seconds while using Skype voice calls. I would also sometimes lose my connection while streaming Amazon video to my TV. I knew that these devices were the problem, because this never happened with WiFi.
I called Cisco/Linksys to try to troubleshoot the problem. Their only solution was to propose to send me a new device. But I had already purchased 6 of these and could reproduce the problem with any of them, so getting yet another device from Cisco was not going to solve my problem.
Luckily, I did some more research and found the Actiontec Ethernet to Coax adapters on Amazon. These devices work great. I can get a full 50 Mbps download speed (same as a direct connection to my router), and I never lose my Internet connection. Perhaps the Linksys powerline adapters are as good as it gets for powerline technology, but the Ethernet to Coax adapter is just a better solution (much faster speeds and more reliable connection). I have returned all of the powerline adapters to Amazon and am now very happy with the Actiontec adapters.
on July 29, 2013
This adapter set is currently the only HomePlugAV2 standard product currently out (all the others are HomePlugAV, the older standard). In addition to being HomePlugAV2, what's nice about this product is that the two adapters automatically connect when plugged in. With the older ones you had to manually pair them. Also noteworthy is that the powerline utility for these adapters actually works unlike the other two I've tried (Linksys 200 Mbps and TP-Link 500 Gbps) that would never actually detect the adapter. Another thing I noticed with these adapters is that the plug is grounded. I've never seen that on any other HomePlug device. Also rest assured, the Ethernet interface on these adapters is 1000BASE-T, unlike some of them (i.e. Actiontec 500 Gbps) that pass themselves off as Gigabit yet only have a 100BASE-T Ethernet interface. Finally I've noticed that the speed indicator light on these adapters has consistently been green, whereas the older ones would always fluctuate between green and orange, so these seem to make a better connection than the older HomePlugAV. At $120 a pop these are definitely a little more pricey than the older models but if you want the best that Powerline Networking has to offer these seem to be it. (Note: These can be purchased cheaper for $119.99 plus shipping directly from the Linksys Store)
on January 30, 2013
I am an engineer, eternally skeptical, show me the data kind of person. I read all the reviews on this item and quite frankly I was VERY skeptical it would work for my application...I was preparing myself for a direct bury CAT6. I have a large detached garage about 350 ft from where my DSL router is located in my house. I really wanted WiFi there, I had tried a couple of Wifi Extenders at the closest location possible within the house and well...zero bars of coverage in my new garage/workshop. I got this device last night, followed the simple instructions, changed the security from disable to WAP2 with the little utility they give you from my laptop connected to the Wifi portion of the device, hooked up the inside unit with a Cat5 cable, plugged it in the wall. Walked outside and up to my garage plugged it in the wall and, WOW!!!, it synced in like 10 seconds. I am not very often amazed, not very often at all, I was even preparing in my mind on how I was going to return the device. This device is going thru the wiring in my house, to the breaker panel, thru the main power out to the electric meter, back to the main power at that point back out to my new garage thru another breaker panel and to the wall outlet just below that panel. I now have 5 full bars of Wifi in my garage. Great device!, all I can say. I want to caveat what I'm saying here though. My house is relatively new, all the wiring is up to code, grounds done properly, etc, etc. I really just can't believe this works, but, it does and works well. I live in the boonies, and the best internet I can get is a download speed of about 1.5-2 Mbs, I get the same speed at the router as I do on Wifi at the remote point in the garage...I watched a whole streaming movie just to see if it would loose sync, I logged into my Slingbox and streamed a movie from my Dishnetwork dish. Last thing, I don't work for Linksys, I know it sounds like I'm trying to sell something here, I guess I'm just a bit overwhelmed that something actually does what it says it will.