Zyxel's kit is good value, but you can get a pair of similarly-performing adaptors with built-in power socket pass-through for almost exactly the same price.
Zyxel’s PLA-401 v3 Twin Pack is very cheap, at just £64 for two HomePlug AV adaptors. Like many of Zyxel’s products, the emphasis here is on no-frills value and functionality. There are no extras like multi-port adaptors or power sockets here.
Despite the low price of the adaptors – just £32 each – we were pleased with their throughput of 47.6Mbit/s. It’s a long way from being the fastest powerline transfer speed we’ve seen, but is quick enough for HD video streaming and fast enough to outpace its budget rivals.
The kit comes with a Zyxel-branded version of the usual HomePlug AV controller software, which allows you to make firmware updates and apply QoS to prioritise different types of traffic across your Powerline network, as well as providing one method of creating a 128-bit AES encrypted connection between your adaptors. However, you can create the same encrypted connection more simply by pressing a button on each adaptor.
We were please to find that the PLA-401 v3 Twin Pack has a three year warranty, which is an improvement on the one year warranties we’re used to seeing from most powerline manufacturers. This kit is certainly a better deal than some similar no-frills budget devices, but for speed we prefer Solwise’s NET-PL-200AV-PIGGY adaptor. You can get two of these for a similar price to this kit. In addition to being quite a bit quicker, these adaptors also have power socket pass-through so you don’t lose a plug socket by using it. These are a better choice.
|Powerline networking standard||HomePlug AV|
|Homeplug stated speed||200Mbit/s|
|Warranty||three years RTB|