The RPLC-500 is a small, white box about the size of the standard AC adapter from the ‘90s. It has on its front three LEDs: power, Ethernet, and data. The data indicator shows the strength of the signal between the other connected adapters in the system.
The bottom bears the recessed reset button, a security/synchronization button, and the gigabit Ethernet port. The rear has the certification label and, of course, the requisite three-prong electrical connector. The sides just have some venting.
The RPLC-500 is very lightweight and doesn’t at all have an unwelcome appearance.
Getting the system up and running is really quick and easy. Just plug the adapters into the wall and connect the Ethernet cables. You’ll generally connect one adapter to a switch or router and the other to a desired device, such as a PC or another switch. At a high level, the adapter system simply moves the switch port from the switch or router to the remote Powerline adapter.
I used the system for a few hours to get a feel for it. I used it in a couple of places within my house. It behaves no different than simple a slower Ethernet connection.
When installing it, you’ll get a feel for what circuits on which it will work best. Be just as prepared for it to yield insufficient bandwidth as to meet your expectations. This is just the nature of Powerline networking. DSL and older cable system users are likely to be satisfied if the goal is just to get Internet to a remote location in the house that WiFi can’t, even with a WiFi extender. For someone such as myself who has 150 Mbps fiber Internet, this iteration of Powerline leaves me wanting in practical applications.
Colin Dean has been a writer for ThinkComputers since 2006.