ZyXEL PLA5206KIT 1000 Mbps Powerline Gigabit Ethernet Adapter Kit

Rating:

The latest generation of powerline adapters that offer Gigabit connections (1000 Mbps) that extend your ethernet through your own electrical system, long gone are the days of having to roll out miles and miles of ethernet throughout your house to extend ethernet throughout your house or dealing with spotty WiFi that doesn’t provide coverage to every nook and cranny of your house.

With the promise of delivering Gigabit speeds that rival that of having a direct ethernet connection your high speed connection or router, without the hassle, the ZyXel looks to be an interesting choice for homeowners who don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to run ethernet cables throughout their house.

Unboxing

ZyXEL PLA5206KIT

The unboxing revealed two PLA5206 units, ethernet cable, and an installation CD. While many won’t bat an eyelash over this, it was a bit surprising to see a CD-ROM distributed with the unboxing as I figure it would be easier to download through a link or a drivers section on the ZyXel website. But I guess that’s just me being picky.

ZyXEL PLA5206KIT 2

Installation

The great thing about the PLA5206 unit is its ease of use. You can literally plug the unit into an electrical outlet nearby your router and connect directly to your router with an ethernet cable and extend anywhere in your home where there’s an electrical outlet.

The beauty about this is that it’s relatively straight forward if you’re familiar with routers, you probably won’t even need to glance at the instruction manual. The instruction manual itself is pretty thin, so even for those who are technologically challenged, you can get a lightning fast, low latency connection in about 5 minutes.

Performance

The end results was no noticeable lag, in fact, it was a bit snappier, presumably through the connection was through ethernet, and not over WiFi. What was interesting was that the peak download time over Ethernet had peaked over 50Mbps for a sustained period of time, whereas over WiFi speeds could not breach 45 Mbps.  Tests were done in trials 5 times over a period of half an hour over the weekend with the middle results taken to represent average Ethernet and WiFi speeds.

speedtest

Ethernet Speed Test

speedtest wifi

WiFi Speed Test

Energy management

When there’s no activity, the adapter has a “sleep” mode that operates on 0.5W instead of 4W to save on energy and presumably product lifespan , which is a nice feature, so you’re not having to cycle through adapters as frequently

Security

With the Zyxel PLA5206, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be encountering security threats as it has 128-bit advanced encryption security (AES) for any traffic that goes through your powerline. However, the only real use for this feature is if you’re in, say, a condo unit that shares the same electrical system as yours, preventing others who use the same or similar powerline adapters from hijacking your internet connection.

Use cases

For areas of your house or property that share the same electrical system to extend your internet with a Gigabit connection. This could be for a Smart TV that requires an internet connection, a next-gen gaming console like the Xbox One or PS4.  If you have spotty wifi coverage, say in the basement for instance, using something like the PLA5206 would be perfect for you.

The Bottom Line

Running at $140 retail, it isn’t a paltry sum, but you’ll be getting plug and play ease of use that affords you a lightning fast and secure connection in 5 minutes by simply connecting ethernet cables. It will cover any shortcomings and coverage of your WiFi or edge cases where your WiFi doesn’t quite cover the entire area of your property. While it doesn’t quite live up to its advertised speeds, it’s still magnitudes faster than your regular ethernet port.  For the ease of use and performance it affords, you won’t be disappointed.

The ZyXEL Powerline Gigabit Network Adapter kit is Perfect for:

  • the gamer who wants the low latency and fastest sustained speeds as if connected directly to their router or modem through Ethernet.
  • The homeowner with spotty WiFi coverage and demands the highest speed internet connection to their smart TV.

Key things to be aware of:

  • $140 price tag is a pretty penny to swallow, but if money isn’t an issue compared to wiring Ethernet cable, this is perfect for you.
  • Use cases are for large homes or buildings.

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
ZyXEL PLA5206KIT Powerline Gigabit Ethernet Adapter Kit
Author Rating
3
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Will obsesses over the latest and greatest in gadgets, startups, does CrossFit and writes about technology, growth marketing, programming and personal development. He curates the Startup Digest in Toronto and is a coffee enthusiast.

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