Homeplug networking over the mains is very convenient when cables or Wi-Fi are not an option, but if you have more than one device at the remote end of a connection you will also need to add a switch. Solwise’s latest Homeplug 500AV adapter, the PL-500AV-4PE, solves this problem by incorporating a four-port Gigabit switch into the adapter itself. The 500AV standard has been available for a while now, and the PL-500AV-4PE is based on the same Qualcomm Atheros AR7400 chip that Solwise uses in its other Homeplug 500AV products
Mains plug and play
No installation is needed, although obviously you will need at least one other Homeplug 500AV or 200AV device connected to your network (it can co-exist with Homeplug 1.0 adapters, but it won’t communicate with them. We successfully tried it with a Devolo Homeplug 200AV adapter and a Solwise Gigabit adapter). The connection status light is green when the connection speed is over 100Mbps, or orange or red when lower than this , and there are also activity lights for each of the four Gigabit LAN ports. The optional Power Packet Utility software shows the signal quality and connection speed for all adapters on the network. You can also change the network name and adapter passwords, as an alternative to using the security button on the device itself.
We struggled to get a full 500Mbit/s connection (using a Solwise PL-500AV-PIGGY adapter) except when plugging two units into a single gang adapter, but we had no trouble getting 200-300Mbit/s link speeds on our noisy domestic mains. At this speed, we obtained transfer speeds of around 50-60Mbit/s using Passmark Performance Test. But the main benefit of the switch is that all connected devices get the full available bandwidth, making it a very handy device for those who need to rely on mains networking. One minor niggle is that it is very wide, and so can cover the power switch on a double wall socket.
Contact: Solwise on 0845 458 4558
- Convenience; monitoring software.
- Wide body; not particularly cheap.
Although not particularly cheap compared to the cost of adding a conventional Gigabit switch to a Homeplug network, the PL-500AV-4PE is much more convenient and it works very well.