HomePlug Buyer’s Guide (Part 2) - Devolo 1721 AVTriple+ 3-Port HomePlug Starter Kit & Solwise PLA-PIGGY6

5/8/2012 9:26:53 AM

Devolo 1721 AVTriple+ 3-Port HomePlug Starter Kit


Price: $195 RRP

Adaptors included: 2

Protocol: HomePlug AV / dLan 500

If you’re not keen on (for capable of supporting) a wireless connection, but find 200Mbps too slow for your needs, then the Devolo 1721 kit is a strong contender. Its three-plug design means that you can have three Ethernet devices attached to each secondary adaptor you add (although note that only one of the two adaptors included is a triple-plug model; the other has only one.)

Description: dLAN 500 AVtriple+

dLAN 500 AVtriple+

The Devolo 1721 also uses a non-standard communication technology to boost transfer rates up to 500Mbps, although it’s still compatible with traditional HomePlug AV kits (only at 200Mbps, though). If you have several computers requiring high transfer speeds (or perhaps multiple HD video devices to stream), this will give you a substantial boost over a standard HomePlug AV kit.

That said, there are down-sides to using this proprietary system, which means you’ll be restricted to buying compatible adaptors if you want to use the full speed, and as you may have noticed, they aren’t cheap. The high cost isn’t just for speed, though. Three Ethernet sockets is well above the usual standard, and the inclusion of pass-through technology means you won’t lose a plug socket to the networking.

As usual, you only get two network cables in the bargain, which is slightly more of a slap in the face than in the case of Devolo’s wireless kit, since there’s no other way to connect more than one device. If you’re shelling out for an extra-fast three-socket device, it’s probable that you want to use all three sockets immediately, so don’t forget to buy the extra cables. At least they won’t be too expensive, compared to the hefty amount you’ll already be spending on the hardware.

Still, the extra speed, multi-device support and inclusion of pass-through hardware does make this a feature-packed product, and one that’s largely worth the money. Do be carefully, though: this device doesn’t appear to be HomePlug AV2 compatible, despite offering similar speeds, so if you’re hoping to set up a long-term speed-based network, you might want to look elsewhere for compatibility’s sake.

Features: 8

Cost: 5

Overall: 6


A decent feature set, but highly priced and the proprietary system may deter buyers.


Solwise PLA-PIGGY6



Description: Solwise PLA-PIGGY6

Solwise PLA-PIGGY6

Rather than being a traditional 2-piece HomePlug networking solution, the SolwisePLA-PIGGY6 adaptor is stand-alone accessory. A mains power strip that supports HomePlug AV, it means that you can run multiple devices, including HomePlug adaptors, through this one multi-way.

With three Ethernet ports and six filtered power ports, the PLA-PIGGY6 makes it possible to run multiple devices from one socket along with four HomePlug networking, which makes it perfect for those of us with more devices than sockets. This is enough of a problem in a normal computing setup, let alone one that requires a free wall socket purely for networking, so it’s no exactly a long shot that there will be demand.

The device itself is fully HomePlug AV compatible, offering speeds of 200Mbps, and can act as a switch between several computers or connect to a router to allow internet access. The power sockets are surge-protected, which means both it and devices plugged into it are protected from damage due to electrical mishaps. Although the hub is well-designed and supports a fair number of devices, note that to network between rooms you will need at least two. There are also concerns about compatibility; the literature makes it clear that firmware upgrades may be needed for certain HomePlug devices to work in tandem with the PLA-PIGGY6. Its hexagonal shape also makes it rather awkward to place in domestic situations. In that respect, it’s aimed more at offices than homes, because there’s no chance you’ll be sliding this discreetly under the sofa.

Still, if you’re looking for a power strip that can fully support HomePlug, there’s no doubt that this will do the job, and surge protection is an added bonus. However, it’s strictly and upgrade, rather than a first-time solution, and that means you could end up paying far over the odds if you try to start with it. If socket space truly is limited, you might have a genuine need for it, but don’t be seduced its apparent practicality.


Price: $90 RRP

Adaptorsincluded: 1

Protocol: HomePlug AV


Features: 7

Cost: 6

Overall: 6


It looks like a good idea, but is it really? Perhaps in an office, but there are cheaper, more practical alternatives at home

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