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Powerline adapters are a relatively new way of extending your existing network, whether at home or the office. What they do is plug into your household electrical wiring and basically transmit data using your electrical cabling rather than wireless. The PL-X52P consists of two adapters in one box, and  uses a European-standard power outlet design.

Looking good in REALLY tough shrink wrap!

Closer look at the box

Major features highlighted

So how does it work? Simple. Plug one of the adapters to a power outlet. Connect it using an Ethernet cable (two provided in the box) to your modem or router. Take the other adapter and plug it into any other power outlet. So long as the two power outlets are on the same circuit (which should be the default setup in most cases), your network now flows from your modem or router to the first adapter, and then via the wall wiring to the second adapter. You then can then connect devices to the second adapter.

Each adapter comes with four LAN ports, including a VIP port which uses dedicated bandwidth management to minimise latency. I would recommend plugging any devices you do online gaming, HD streaming, or considerable content downloading on to the VIP port. In total, the two adapters can connect to seven devices, as one port needs to be reserved for your modem or router.

Quick explanation of the setup

The two adapters in the box

Adapters and Ethernet cables

Each one weighs just 285g, and measures 140mm x 75mm x 42.4mm. The adapters utilise a nifty passthrough design, so you can still connect other appliances to one of the PL adapters and it’ll get power from the wall outlet. That way, the outlets are not taken up or otherwise obstructed.

Here's what the two adapters look like side by side. Note the passthrough outlet design.

Inside the hardware there’s also a noise filter, which compensates for power fluctuations and other electric grid factors to make sure connections stay as clean and stable as possible. The adapters support up to 500Mbps in bandwidth. The maximum distance between them is a rather impressive 300 metres, though connection quality at that range may vary widely based on the condition of electrical wiring.

Side view of the adapter

Close up of the connector itself

At any rate, this is an excellent way to bring a network to areas unreachable by your Wi-Fi. It’s perfect for bigger locations, and even more so for multi-floor arrangements. Setup is easy, and only requires installing one utility on your parent device (desktop or laptop PC, presumably). The utility is mostly to ensure proper VIP port operation and also 128-bit encrypted adapter pairing.

Four Ethernet ports per adapter. Note the VIP port on the left

So, if you find your Wi-Fi lacking and need coverage in those hard to reach areas, what could be simpler than using existing electrical wiring to bring more parts of your environment online? Simple and efficient. Plus, while I’m not saying Wi-Fi is detrimental to your health in any way, the PL-X52P does cut down on emissions because signals go through walls, rather than air.

This is a really interesting concept, and one I like. It’s a good step in the right direction towards a future where internet and electricity will be equally ubiquitous and effortless to get and turn on.

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