Setup And Administration
Like all powerline network adapters, the PLA-400's come set so that they will just plug and play. If you want to change the default password to keep your powerline network all to yourself, you'll need access to a computer running Windows XP (only) and that has Microsoft .NET 1.1 installed. Don't worry, if your machine doesn't have .NET already installed, the Zyxel CD has a copy that it will install for you.
Figure 4: PLA-400 Configuration Utility Configuration Screen
Figure 4 shows the Configuration screen where you can change the Network Password from its default of "HomePlug", which is not shown. You can change the password on the adapter that the computer running the utility is connected directly to. But, as a security measure, you need to enter the DAK (Device Access Key) found printed on the label on the bottom of each PLA-400 if you want to change other adapters on the network.
The Firmware screen (not shown) is used to upload firmware updates, but doesn't show the current firmware revision. You need to click the little page icon in the upper right-hand corner to bring up that information (Figure 5). Note that the PLA-400's firmware isn't the latest, which according to Intellon is 1.4.5.
Figure 5: PLA-400 Configuration Utility Info screen
The last screen is the Network Information screen (Figure 6). It provides only a look at the transmit and receive rate, which are the physical layer (PHY) rates, of course.
Figure 6: PLA-400 Configuration Utility Configuration Screen
The utility doesn't provide any signal level or "quality" information like the Netgear XE104's utility, nor does it provide VLAN or QoS controls or a web admin interface like those on the Corinex AV200. So the lack of features, plus the .NET requirement add up to the Zyxel utility not being one of my favorites.