Plaster Networks Powerline Adaptors First Look
- Product Name: AV200 and PLN3 Adaptors
- Manufacturer: Plaster Networks
- Review Date: August 17, 2010 05:05
- MSRP: $$129.90 for starter kit
- First Impression: Gotta Have It!
Standards HomePlug AV, IEEE 802.3, IEE 802.3u, TR-069 Ethernet Port Dual RJ45 LEDs Power, Powerline Network, Plaster Networks Service, Ethernet Buttons Reset, Security Security 128-bit AES Encryption Devices per network 2 to 64 Network speed (PHY) Powerline (HomePlug AV): Up to 200 Mbps Dimensions 4.1”L x 3.0” W x 1.3” H (150mm L x 76mm W x 34mm H) Weight 0.5 lbs Power 100-240V AC, 50-60 Hz Certification CE, FCC Class B
Standards HomePlug AV, IEEE 802.3, IEE 802.3u Ethernet Port Single RJ45 LEDs Power, Powerline Network, Ethernet Buttons Reset, Security Security 128-bit AES Encryption Devices per network 2 to 64 Network speed (PHY) Powerline (HomePlug AV): Up to 200 Mbps Dimensions 3.8”L x 2.8” W x 1.3” H (96mm L x 70mm W x 32mm H) Weight 0.25 lbs Power 100-240V AC, 50-60 Hz Certification CE, FCC Class B, HomePlug
I'm sure you've read all this before. Networking - it's the wave of the now. It used to be the wave of the future but if you don't have a dedicated Ethernet run to your home theater, you might as well be gathered around your AM radio listening to some fireside chat while smoking your corncob pipe. Netflix streaming is available on just about everything. VUDU is quickly growing as popular as well. The big selling points of receivers these days is what it can do over your network. People have more and more content on their home computers, networkable drives, and Bluetooth devices. If you can't get that content easily into your home theater, you're stuck experiencing it on the traditionally inferior monitors, speakers, and systems in your office or, God forbid, your handheld device. If you can't get to your network wirelessly, you need a wired connection.
There are a number of different ethernet-over-power line solutions out there so it is hard to get excited by another one. But hold on, there is something different here. Plaster Networks (which at first had me thinking they had found a way to send a signal through drywall which would have been amazing) has a network-over-existing-powerline solution that is a bit more versatile than the others that we've seen. First of all, you can use one of two adapters (both pictured above). Usually you have a receiving unit (near your modem/router) and any number of sending units. Not so with the the Plaster Networks solution. They have two different adapters - the PLN3 and the AV200. In order for the network to work, you'll need a PLN3 near your router but then you can use other PLN3's or AV200s all over your home. The difference (other than price) is that the PLN3s have two Ethernet ports and the AV200s only have one. The PLN3s retail for $89.95 each and the AV200s for $64.95. You can get a starter pack with one of each for $129.90.
But that's not all. You can use any HomePlug AV compatible unit with the Plaster Networks products. So if you have NetGear XAV101, Linksys PLE300 or Belkin Powerline AV adapters (or can find them on the cheap from somewhere) you can use them in your network. There is a handy guide to tell you how integrate them on the Plaster Networks website and it seems fairly straightforward. One of the best parts is that the Plaster Networks solution supports up to 64 devices per network with speeds up to 200 Mbps.
Actually, we misspoke. While other powerline solutions require you to guess at your connection speed or give you some sort of nebulous color-coded light on the receivers/transmitters, Plaster Networks gives you specific information. How? From your browser. If that's not cool, we don't know what is. Just navigate to a specific page as indicated in the instructions and it'll tell you not only what is connected but the speed and will also automatically update the firmware on any of the Plaster Networks devices. While the service is $30 a year (a bit steep we think), the first year is waved with the purchase of a PLN3.
Are powerline network solutions new? Absolutely not. But Plaster Networks has a few things to offer. While their $30 a year monitoring and update system is a bit on the pricey side, if you are anything like us, you'll enjoy the first year free and hope they don't make any major changes after that. We love how the system can integrate any HomePlug AV device and can support up to 64 devices on a single network. We also like how that there aren't dedicated transmitters and receivers so that you can pick and choose exactly what you need for your particular installation. At $130, the price is very competitive as well. If you are looking at acquiring a network over powerline solution for your home, Plaster Networks should be high on your list.
For more information, please visit www.plasternetworks.com.