In terms of getting a network connection from one point to another in a way that most folk consider neat and orderly, some ways are easier than others. Running Ethernet or coaxial cable can be messy for existing structures, and sometimes there’s a reason not to use WiFi. When those two standard options are out, the next one to consider is Powerline networking. Powerline is oft-forgotten, because most folk reach for a better WiFi router when they need it.
The 500 Mbps RPLC-500 Kit from Rosewill is a new contender in this space. It offers a smaller wall wart adapter than some of its competitors’ offerings and great power saving features. Its plug-and-play operation lets users get up and running in no time.
Note that, similarly to other networking equipment, Powerline never hits its theoretical maximum throughput in real-world conditions. Where WiFi can get reasonably close some times, Powerline is regularly half to a quarter of its specification. Its throughput is limited by the quality of the wiring system on which it is being used. Old houses and overtaxed electrical systems are not good candidates for Powerline: your throughput may vary!
Special thanks to Rosewill for providing us with the RPLC-500 500 Mbps Powerline Networking Kit to review.
Features and Specifications
Chipset: Qualcomm-Atheros AR7400+AR1500
Access Methods: CSMA/CA channel-access schemes
Range: Up to 300 meters over power line
– <4.0W Operation
- 2.78W Idle
- 0.97W Standby (effective after 30 mins without data transmit detection)
Maximum PLC support:
– Capable of extending up to total of 16 Powerline adapters in one environment
Fixed Quality of Service (QoS) enhances media streaming quality:
– ToS, Support up to 4-level type QoS, Support up to 8-level VLAN priority field
– IGMP snooping for multicast to multiple unicast mapping
– QoS Priority:
– 1st: Network Management Frames and Voice
– 2nd: Video and Music Streaming
– 3rd: Data Streaming
– Reset: Restore the factory default settings
– Security: Set the network password automatically
For a full list of specifications check out the product page.
The RPLC-500 Kit comes in a blue and black box that depicts the pair of RPLC-500 adapters inside. It clearly states that it’s a 500 Mbps Powerline kit with gigabit Ethernet for wired connectivity. It has up to 300 meter (100 feet) range and consumes less than one watt of electricity while in standby mode (which it enters after 30 minutes with no data from the Ethernet side). The rear of the box displays the aforementioned specifications and shows an example networking diagram of how to use the Powerline system effectively.
The adapters, two Ethernet cables, and some documentation on a CD are well-packed in the small box.
For a full unboxing of the kit be sure to take a look at our unboxing video below.
Colin Dean has been a writer for ThinkComputers since 2006.