Router Charts

Router Charts

Router Ranker

Router Ranker

Router Chooser

Router Chooser

NAS Charts

NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

NAS Ranker

More Tools

More Tools

LAN & WAN Reviews

The HomePlug AV 500 products tested

ZyXEL PLA5205 / Linksys PLE500

Introduction

This head-to-head pits Linksys' PLE500 Powerline 1-port Gigabit Ethernet Adapter vs. ZyXEL's PLA5205 600 Mbps Powerline Gigabit Ethernet Adapter. Both products are the first to ship using Qualcomm Atheros' QCA7450 / AR1540 HomePlug AV2 chipset announced in October 2012.

Linksys makes the PLE500 available only as part of the two-adapter PLEK500 kit. ZyXEL sells the PLA5205 individually, but also as part of a PLA5205KIT. Both will cost you around $120 for the two-adapter kit and the PLA5205 alone runs $70.

Both products are physically very similar with a single 10/100/1000 Ethernet port on their bottom edge (not visible in the photo below). You can see that both are sized so that they will not block the other outlet in a standard U.S. duplex outlet.

Linksys PLE500 / ZyXEL PLA5205 plugged in

Linksys PLE500 / ZyXEL PLA5205 plugged in

Both have three-prong outlets on their backside. The ground prong isn't just there for safety—it's actually used for signal transmission. This trick is used more in the MIMO form of AV2, which I'll touch upon shortly. Note that despite the U.S. plug, both products are rated from 100 - 240 VAC.

Linksys PLE500 / ZyXEL PLA5205 plug side

Linksys PLE500 / ZyXEL PLA5205 plug side

ZyXEL has posted only a preliminary manual for its product. But the products are similar enough that the PLE500's diagram from its User Guide is applicable enough for both products.

Linksys PLE500 ports and indicators

Linksys PLE500 ports and indicators

One possible difference is that ZyXEL says that its HomePlug indicator supports the Green / Amber / Red connection quality feature that is standard on "AV 500" devices, as shown in the table taken from its user guide below. Linksys makes no mention of this feature in its documentation.

ZyXEL PLA5205 LEDs

ZyXEL PLA5205 LEDs

I've never paid much attention to this feature, so plugged one adapter into my office, which is behind a throughput-killing AFCI breaker, and walked another around to various outlets. Both adapters showed a green powerline / HomePlug light, even when plugged into an outlet in my detached garage!

More LAN & WAN

Top Performing Routers

AC3200
AC2350
AC1900
AC1750
AC1200

Top Performing NASes

1 drive
2 drives
4 drives
6 drives
8 drives

Over In The Forums

  • OpenVPN and WEBrtc leak
    Anybody effected? Apparently I am not. I think it is for being double NAT'd, but you may want to check out the latest news. ...
  • Drobo help.
    First I know there is better options out there but I like the drobo product. I have a Drobo 5n that works really well for me, I use it mostly to...
  • Can't view forum? wipe browser.
    In the absence of a PSA from THiggins, figured I would leave this notice for those such as myself that were unable to view various forums. As the...
  • New 87U log entries.
    New RT-AC87U just got this up and running and noticed the 5 ghz led blinks instead of being steady any reason for this. Also looks like the 5 Ghz...
  • Connect USB Drive to RT-AC87 Router
    Has anyone connected a hard drive to their router? If so, what kind of hard drive did you use?