1,116 of 1,130 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2012
I recently installed these in a older 2,500sq ft home. Here's why...
In the 3 years I have lived in this home, I have tried 3 different (latest technology, $100+) Wifi routers. I have NEVER been able to get a good enough signal throughout my house to stream videos over Netflix to my various TV's. I've tried 2 different Roku players, an apple TV, and even a couple laptops. The Wifi signal is just too weak to watch a movie without constant video lock ups or stutters.
After a year of pondering (and not wanting to waste any more money), I convinced myself to just try these with the faith that Amazon would take them back if they didn't. I decided on this brand/model because of the reviews.
How I made them finally work:
The first thing you need to do when you get these is pair them together. Long story short, I could not get mine to see each other until I plugged them into the same outlet (via a 3 outlet extension cord).
Here's how I setup mine:
1) IMPORTANT! The first thing you need to know is these powerline products cannot be plugged into a surge protector or extension cord if you want a strong signal.
2) Plug 1 unit into the wifi router via its network cable. Plug the unit directly into your wall outlet.
3) Plug the second unit into the same wall outlet. No network cable needed in this one yet. Wait for the connection light to go green.
4) Move the second unit into any other outlet in your home (different room perhaps?). Make sure you get a connection light. Plug a laptop or game console into the second unit via its network cable. Test your internet connection.
My first connection speed test:
I took my laptop upstairs (wifi router downstairs). Over wifi I get 12mbps download speed. Plugged into one of these, I get 33mbps download speed. No hiccups. No problems; a perfect full speed internet connection at the farthest distance away from my router in my home. SWEET!
How I am using them now:
I have one unit plugged in near my router (the 1 port unit), the other plugged into the outlet in my TV room. I have my game consoles, roku box, and apple TV connected directly to the second unit with network cables. Everything connects to the internet instantly, and netflix movies now stream super fast in full HD.
What I didn't like:
These units would be WAY easier to use (and more people would adopt them) if there was an app to go with them. An iPhone/Android app that showed you the different modules in your home, the names, and the connection speed to each one. This would help you verify they are working, and help you locate the best outlets with the best signals. Without some kind of user friendly app, its hard to troubleshoot any connection problems; and most novices will give up on the technology.
Powerline adapters are great. You can buy more (the pair or single units) and just plug them in anywhere in your home and BAM! You have high speed internet. I can't wait to get more.
To date, I have not had a single one of these units fail on me. If they ever do, I will update this review, with details.
I am (so far) extremely satisfied with this purchase and the price I paid. If you are looking for an easy way to get reliable, fast internet connectivity throughout your home, I HIGHLY recommend these.
I'm a very pleased and very satisfied customer.
Thanks ZyXEL. We appreciate quality products at fair prices. Please keep it up! In the future, I hope you make the interface for these a little easier to use. As an example of good consumer interface, install a Apple Extreme Wifi Router in your home. That's how we consumers like things to work. Simple, Easy, Brainless. It can be done! If you want some more feedback, contact me in the comments.
I hope this review gives you some insight and help with your choice, and a little knowledge from an unbiased owner. If so, please click on "YES" below this review to vote it as helpful. Thanks!
(Thanks for the questions, comments and votes fellow Amazon shoppers... keep them coming too!)
225 of 229 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2011
OVERVIEW: I bought these in hopes that I could stream my Blu-ray collection (uncompressed) to my WDTV Live Plus from a NAS drive (more details at end of review). A lot of information out there on the Interwebs said this was nearly impossible, but I was tired of having to compress all of my Blu-rays with Handbrake in order to stream them over wireless (and I still had stuttering). I saw them for a good price on another site, so I decided to give them a try anyway. To my surprise, they actually worked!
INSTALLATION: This kit ships with two powerline adapters, two (too short) ethernet cables, a setup CD, and some "light" documentation. There is a utility that installs from the CD that can report the transmit and receive speeds of your adapters, which are dead easy to install--just plug both into a wall outlet, then an ethernet cable into each one and your router/internet-enabled device. They find each other automatically and start talking almost instantly. There is also a button on the side of each adapter labeled "ENCRYPT" that you can use to form a secure connection between them so your neighbors can't get on to your network. (Because this would require them sharing your electrical wiring AND having powerline adapters, the possibility is remote so I didn't fool with it.) When I fired up the utility (installs from the CD), it reported that I was only getting about 50 Mbps throughput. Unfortunately I did not have any spare electrical outlets, so I had to plug the router-end adapter into a wall tap. I moved the other one (connected to the WDTV) to a bare outlet and the utility then reported about 123 TX and 111 RX throughput. Although this is a fraction of the rated speed of 500 Mbps (which you'll never come close to in real life), I fired up some test 1080p MKVs with constant bitrates (the "Birds test files," which you can Google to find) to check the actual throughput. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to stream up to 70 Mbps without issue, and then a couple of m2ts files straight from a Blu-ray folder structure as well. Since the maximum spec'd bitrate of Blu-ray is 54 Mbps, I am in the clear. And considering that I'm not even following the instructions (since I'm not plugging both adapters directly into the wall), that's pretty amazing! As a point of reference, I also have a pair of MoCA adapters (these: NETGEAR MCAB1001 MoCA Coax-Ethernet Adapter Kit (Black) connected to a Boxee Box in the living room, and they provide about the same throughput.
A COUPLE OF CAVEATS: Powerline performance is highly dependent on your home's electric wiring. Apparently if you have each adapter on a different phase (i.e. on switches on opposite sides of your breaker box) then that can significantly reduce throughput. I am lucky, because although my router and WDTV are in separate rooms, they are not only on the same phase, but even the same breaker switch. This means that there is less wiring between the adapters and therefore less attenuation in the signal.
FIRMWARE INFO: I have an old pair of 1st-gen powerline adapters (Netgear 85Mbps Powerline Network Adapter XET1001) that can't get anywhere near to streaming even compressed movies, so obviously powerline has come a long way. These Zyxels ship with firmware v5.2.0, which seems to be newer firmware than the Trendnet 500 Mbps adapters that smallnetbuilder gave mixed reviews to. In fact, I believe it is newer than the Netgear 500 Mbps that got more positive reviews. I'm pretty sure that all the currently available 500 Mbps adapters are based on the same Atheros chipset, which means that the only variable among them would be the firmware version.
Here are a few relevant details about my network setup:
ROUTER: D-Link DIR-655, gigabit (D-Link DIR-655 Extreme N Gigabit Wireless Router)
MEDIA SERVER: WD MyBook Live 3TB NAS (Western Digital My Book Live 3 TB Personal Cloud Storage Drive), connected w/gigabit ethernet to router
MEDIA RECEIVER: WDTV Live Plus (Western Digital WD TV Live Plus 1080p HD Media Player), running aftermarket WDLXTV firmware (v5.0.0)
STREAMING PROTOCOL: NFS (not the more common SMB, also known as Windows Sharing. With SMB I can only get about 30-40 Mbps throughput over these adapters, which is typically not enough to stream Blu-rays). The MyBook has NFS built in, but the WDTV can only stream over NFS with WDLXTV firmware.
STREAMING FILETYPE: 1080p .m2ts (uncompressed Blu-ray) and lossless MKV (created from said Blu-rays)
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2012
Goal: Purchased 3 plugs for our 1979 ~2500sq.ft split level house in hopes of reliably feeding an HTPC machine with 40Mbit/s (5MB/s) and an internet-capable stereo with 8Mbit/s (1MB/s)
Background: Wifi G and N were tried, but provided unreliable performance: drop outs when the microwave was in use, and insufficient bandwidth for high-bitrate movie scenes, causing an unacceptable movie watching experience.
Electrical layout: the server and HTPC machines are on different breakers but on the same "side" of the circuit breaker panel. The Internet stereo is on the other side of the breaker panel.
Installation: one of the easiest yet. Truly plug-and-play, without any software installation or configuration needed. Each Zyxel unit is plugged directly into the wall socket. Each wall socket has two plugs, and the other plug is used by a power bar with lots of stuff hanging off it. I'm also not using the encryption feature.
Performance: The server-to-HTPC leg (same side on breaker panel) moves 10MB/s via NFS protocol, or roughly 80Mbit/s, and the server-to-stereo leg (different side on breaker panel) moves roughly 2MB/s. For the stereo, the Zyxel shows an "amber" speed indicator colour, indicating a reduced 10-40Mbit/s rate, which is in line with my benchmark results. Unlike wifi, these units provide reliable and steady bandwidth with very little deviation.
Overall these units have met my goal, so 5-stars here! Internet music and movie are now hickup free.
Warning to those expecting 500Mbit/s (or even 200Mbit/s) --- the HomePlug governing body has drastically overstated the real-world speeds for all three of their HomePlug standards [HomePlug(85) HomePlugAV(200) HomePlugAV2(500)]. My best speed of 80Mbit/s using AV2 units now only matches that of the HomePlug's first 85Mbit/s standard. Going by these results, Maybe I can expect 500Mbit/s speeds when the HomePlug alliance releases a 3,000 Mbit/s standard, so minus 1 star here.
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2012
I got these to replace a WiFi connection that could do about 25Mbps sustained and up to 40-50Mbps bursts, but had 1-2 minute drop outs a few times a day. The ZyXEL can do about 35Mbps sustained and doesn't have the 1-2 minute outages. However, when it drops, it doesn't come back, and I have to hard boot (unplug/plug-in) one of the devices. This happens sometimes in quick succession, and I haven't figure out a pattern yet. It seems to happen more frequently when I actually heavily use the connection, e.g. for backups - or while writing this review!
The Wifi at least comes back by itself, but the powerline stays down until user action. Fail. Trying Netgear next.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2015
A good product to stream videos over the ac power-line. It saves you one AC plug, but cost you two grounding type power outlets. The reason for this is that the device's case is too big and will cover the grounding part of a standard NEMA 2 plug receptacle. But, it's still possible to plug-in an ac cord without grounding wire. Wished they would have taken their measurements right before putting this on the market.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Original title: DO NOT GET another router or wireless extender. GET THIS!
So, I had tried three different routers (ranging in price from $50-$200, TP-Link, Belkin, Netgear). While all of them delivered my ISP's promised 50MB/S internet speed when I was within 10 feet of the router, the signal dropped to about 40 MB/S 20 feet away, and to 15MB/S ANYWHERE on the second floor. It was terrible.
I realized this was nothing any router can fix because a techie told me that all routers are limited to a legal maximum output, so it doesn't matter how much I spend on the router or what brand I get, it's all the same.
So, no router is going to solve your signal issue.
Next, if you're thinking of getting a wireless extender, save your money. You gotta realize that these extenders will do nothing but extend a poor signal, that's it. They cannot improve poor signal strength.
If you truly want speeds to equivalent those while standing next to your router, then you need to get an over power etherline adapter like this one.
The only reason I got these ZyXel (my first pair) is because of other reviews and the reasonable price. I don't care if you get this brand or not, just get this type of adapter to save yourself a headache.
All I did was plug one of these into the wall next to my router, hook up the ethernet cable (supplied) from the adapter to the back port of my router, walk upstairs to my room, plug in the other adapter next to my computer, plug in an ethernet cable (supplied) into the back of my computer, and you know what happened? 50MB/S speed upstairs! Full ISP promised speed!!!!
Now, my house is pretty new, so the wiring is excellent. If you have an older home you may not get the same great results, but it will probably still be better than any router or wireless extender you can get.
The setup, price, and awesome results were so great I bought the PLA4225 hub to use in my office where 3 computers need to be simultaneously hooked up.
I'm leaving the downstairs area, where the wireless signal is strongest, as a truly wireless zone; but upstairs is now a truly high speed wired connection. I'm finally getting the internet speed I paid for all without having to put in expensive cable wiring in my house (I only have one place to hook up the modem, so this option is much cheaper than wiring a new more central location to put my modem/router in).
MINUS ONE STAR: One thing to keep in mind is that this adapter MUST be plugged in directly into a wall outlet (not through some surge protector or cord, or a three way plug adapter). This is a problem in some sense. This unit is VERY big. Big enough to the point that if you have two outlets next to one another, it will prevent you from plugging in a device into the other one no matter how you position it. Therefore, even with this model, with the through way adapter, you will be down to one "outlet" from your original two when you plug this into the wall.
UPDATE: After buying the PLA4225 I'm now even more disappointed in the 4215 (this product review), I'll get to that in a sec. First of all, everything was great with my new addition, I just plugged in the PLA4225 into another room, connected 3 devices into the unit, and it worked instantly. DO NOT install the configuration utility to do this (none of the CD's that came with any product worked anyways and the downloaded version of it is recognized as some useless media file). The instructions say that if you need to plug in 3 or more devices you gotta do it via the configuration utility. I couldn't install the darn thing and tech support told me I could just plug it in the wall and go. And voila! Everything was connected at full speed all over the house! LITERALLY plug and play.
So, my beef with 4125? It's bulky and useless for the pass through feature. I told you before that this thing WILL block off one outlet if you're plugging it into the outlet right next to it. You're down to one outlet in the end (the pass through one on the unit itself). If you get the PLA4205 or PLA4225 kit, yes, there won't be a passthrough outlet as with the PLA4125 (this unit), and you'll be down to only one outlet (the one next to the one you plug in the 4225; it's not bulky enough to block the other outlet like 4215 is). So, the 4225/4205 is not as bulky and more aesthetically pleasing, so just go with the 4225/4205 instead as the 4215 pass through functionality makes it too bulky and doesn't actually save you an outlet unless you only have the one outlet to begin with instead of two side-by-side).
Secondary title: Seemed awesome at first, failed very quickly. See story below.
Update #2: Less than a week after getting/installing the PLA4215's, one of them got really hot one day and emitted some strange smell. Since then, the internet cannot get any faster than my wireless signal (15MB/S tops). Very disappointing. The PLA4225 still gets over 40MB/S. I called customer support who claimed that this was an environmental/wiring issue. That's odd, nothing changed in my home at all during the time period and the 4225 works just fine, I don't think the problem is environmental, and probably has something to do with the units themselves. I took off another 3 stars for the lack of longevity on these units, which at this price should at least have 2 years, not 2 days of issues free service.
Final title: Finally figured out the problems...
Update #3: I figured out the problem I mentioned with update #2 above, no thanks to any tech support from the company. The PLA4215 units are what you need if you ARE going to be plugging ANYTHING into any wall outlet right next to the wall outlet where a Zyxel unit will be plugged in (other than the one next to the router). The PLA4215's prevent signal strength decrease as a result of plugging something into a wall outlet right near the wall outlet where a Zyxel unit is plugged in. Therefore, DO NOT use a PLA4205 for anything other than as the unit connected to the router or else you'll decrease your wired speed by over 3 times. So, to avoid all this confusion, here are my instructions on how I made everything finally worked, wired speeds of 50MB/s all over my house, when set up correctly.
Step 1: Get the PLA4205 unit and plug it into the wall next to your router (this will save you a wall outlet since it's not bulky). Or you ca use a PLA4215 to connect to the router but will lose a wall outlet. In any case, use the supplied ethernet cable to connect the PLA4205 or PLA4215 to the router.
Step 2: For ANY single (not multiple) connection of a computer/device you need connected over the wire in another room ONLY use the PLA4215. Yes, it's bulky and you'll lose an outlet, but it will prevent you from losing internet speed if you plug in another device into the wall outlet next to this one. If you use the PLA4205 in another room and plug ANYTHING into the outlet next to this one, you'll lose internet speed.
Step 3: If you need to connect MULTIPLE devices in another room then use the PLA4225. For some reason, I have no idea why, this unit doesn't suffer from dropped internet speeds over the wire even if something is plugged in next to it (unlike the PLA4205). And it saves you an outlet unlike the bulky PLA4215.
I hope that helps! That's why I put the rating back up to 3 stars. It works great but is a hassle to set up/figure out all the problems.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2013
I've seen a few reviews of this product. My situation is a little different as my install involved getting more than two (i.e. four units) to work together on my Home Network. This requires using the ZyXEL software utility with the ZyXEL unit attached to your computer and giving the unit a Network Name. After confirming the name -- within ten or so seconds -- the unit is supposed to reboot and then be attached to the Network Name you have defined. This needs to be done to each unit. Done properly -- once all units are attached to the Network Name -- they should all be "connected" to each other.
I had issues until I finally figured out that when you are "naming" your Network using the ZyXEL utility -- the first two characters that you type in for the Network name do NOT appear. And yes -- I was and am using the latest revision of the ZyXEL utility. I thought potentially that it was the computer I was using so I repeated the exercise on a different computer and had the same issue. So I "blind" entered the Network name for the first two characters and enter the same Network name defined for all units. Then everything was cool.
The best evidence that everything is good is the fact that my son's XBox 360 is directly attached via one of these units to my Router. He typically is now the HOST for most of his XBox games online where before this never happened with the previous wireless connection to our Home's Router. The advantage of being the HOST for XBox games is that your response time will be faster and in tight gunning situations -- you will typically come out on top.
For those of you upset about not getting the rated 500 Mbps -- my advice is to chill out a little. I typically get around 80 to 120 Mbps on my units which I consider to be BETTER and more RELIABLE than a Wireless network. If you really truly want 500 MBps network speed - then you are going to have to run Ethernet cable in your house.
Good product for the price. Just count on getting 80 to 120 Mbps (10 to 15 MB/sec) with these units.
34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2011
I bought the PLA4205K from [...] a week ago because it was $15 cheaper that Amazon.com. The kit came in last night. I plugged 1 unit in the upstair den where I have my router/Internet connection and plugged the other unit in the downstair kitchen where I have a VoIP phone. I was able to dial out and receive VoIP phone calls with no problem. Then, I unplugged the VoIP device and plugged in my Macbook Pro to test the effective file transfer speed. I was able to get around 6-7 MB/sec, which is much faster than what I can get from wireless connection through my 5GHz 802.11n Airport Extreme. With the Airport Extreme, I can only get about 1.2MB/sec. Consider the fact that the power outlets are not on the same circuit and signals have to go through the main power panel, it is pretty solid performance to get 6-7MB/sec. Most of the other Powerline adapters can only deliver 1-2MB/sec.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2012
I ordered it on July 10, 2012 for my parents. The units arrived their home a week later. They worked well Aug-17, 2012. Then they failed (Just outside the amazon return window). I tried to troubleshoot them over the phone with my parents on Aug-17 evening, no luck. I could only see one of them on the configuration utility software from ZyXEL.
My parents called me on Aug-17 late night and told me one of them was pretty hot and had some funny smell. I told them to unplug the smelly one immediately. (I am glad that they weren't in bed. I don't want to imagine what would happen if they didn't discover that before bed time.)
I tried to use their online "Support Feedback Form" on Aug-18. It didn't work. I received an error when I tried to submit the question. I wasted half hour on that "Support Feedback Form". I e-mailed ZyXEL on Aug-18. I do not expect ZyXEL can make any respond within 1 business day, but I do want to make a note here to concur the other reviewer's opinion "Works ok when it works, but when it fails, it fails hard" and warn the potential buyer.
I am pretty sure ZyXEL passed all UL safety tests and I believe this is one of those rare incident for ZyXEL's products. It is because I own two ZyXEL's routers (one is located at my parents' home and the other one is located at my apartment.) for 3+ years. Both routers are very reliable. That's why I didn't hesitate to order them.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2013
I'm having intermittent issues where the transmit rate goes from 65Mbps down to 5Mbps (sitting right next to the thing). Disconnecting/reconnecting devices seems to kick-start it back up to the higher transmit rate, but within a few minutes it will go back down to 5 Mbps again. Considering sending it back if I can't figure this out by this weekend.