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LAN & WAN Reviews

Powerline 1200
At a glanceAV2-MIMO Powerline Performance
July 2015
ProductNETGEAR Powerline 1200 (PL1200)   [Website]
SummaryHomePlug AV2-MIMO adapter based on Qualcomm's QCA7500 chipset. Also available with pass through outlet (PLP1200).
Pros• Good bang for the buck
Cons• Doesn't come with a utility program

Introduction

Update 8/25/15: Product Ties for #1 Rank

Like the ZyXEL PLA5405, and TRENDnet TPL-420E, NETGEAR's PL1200 is advertised as a "1200 Mbps" adapter. This marketing-speak indicates the PL1200 uses Qualcomm's QCA7500, making it the third such product we've reviewed.

The PL1200 is similar in height to other AV2 MIMO adapters, but a bit slimmer. The photo below shows it won't block the adjacent outlet in a standard U.S. duplex. The serial number label specs a 100 - 240 VAC 50/60 Hz operating range.

NETGEAR PL1200 plugged in

NETGEAR PL1200 plugged in

The callout diagram below shows the adapter supports tri-color HomePlug link quality indication. The single Gigabit Ethernet port is on the bottom of the adapter, with the Reset and Encryption buttons sitting to its right.

NETGEAR PL1200 callouts

NETGEAR PL1200 callouts

The User Guide says the adapter goes into power-saving mode after 5 minutes of Ethernet inactivity and powers up again when activity resumes. I verified this by the following procedure, which ran without a hitch.

  1. Plugged in two adapters, let them link up and started a long ping from the HomePlug connected machine to another machine on my Ethernet LAN.
  2. Unplugged the cable connecting one adapter to my LAN switch. Verified that ping showed no response.
  3. Waited until the Ethernet unplugged PL1200 entered power-save.
  4. Plugged Ethernet back in and verified that adapter powered up and ping returns resumed within a few seconds.

Inside

As noted earlier, the PL1200 is the third sighting of Qualcomm's QCA7500 HomePlug AV2 MIMO IC. Check the PLA5405 review if you'd like to see the device block diagram, or download the data sheet.

The inside photo shows the QCA7500 at lower center. That's an AR8035 Gigabit Ethernet PHY to its left. There is no separate analog front end (AFE) device.

NETGEAR PL1200 inside

NETGEAR PL1200 inside

The plastic case has ventilation holes on each side, toward the bottom. The adapter didn't get particularly warm during operation.

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