Linksys PLEK500 power-line networking review: Pricey for its performance

Linksys PLK500
Credit: Michael Brown
At a Glance
  • Linksys PLEK500 Powerline 500 Wired Network Expansion Kit

    TechHive Rating

    It's unclear why these Linksys adapters need a ground plug, since they don't support MIMO over power-line. And their chunky form factor makes it difficult to make use of the second wall outlet.

The adapters in the Linksys AV2 networking kit were the only ones in their class to be outfitted with three prongs (the Zyxel AV2 MIMO adapters do, too, but they’re MIMO adapters). Avoid these if your home doesn’t have grounded wiring, because you won’t be able to plug them in. What’s more, their chunky form factor (they have a smaller footprint than D-Link's DHP-601AV, but the Linksys are thicker) makes it difficult to use the second outlet in a duplex.

The Linksys’ performance was almost identical to that of D-Link's AV2 adapters, between 65- and 70 Mbps, with good-quality video streaming. And like D-Link's, the Linksys adapters have LEDs to show connections to power, a power-line network, and an Ethernet device, plus passwords and push-button security options.

linksys plek500 Michael Brown

The Linksys PLEK500 HomePlug Ethernet adapters deliver a mediocre price/performance ratio. 

Linksys does provide a pair of five-foot Ethernet cables (D-Link's were much shorter, but other vendors use longer cables) and an installation CD (which many people might not be able to use—my notebooks don't have optical drives).

Linksys must think these extras are precious, or maybe it just has an outsized opinion of its own brand: The kit's $130 MSRP is half again as much as that of the D-Link kit, and it’s higher than any of the HomePlug AV contenders. The price difference narrows on the street, but it’s still tough to justify the premium if longer cables and a CD are the only significant advantages.

homeplug adapter price chart
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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    It's unclear why these Linksys adapters need a ground plug, since they don't support MIMO over power-line. And their chunky form factor makes it difficult to make use of the second wall outlet.

    Pros

    • 5-foot Ethernet cables in the box

    Cons

    • Three-prong plugs, even though these aren't MIMO devices
    • Chunky form factor
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