The Linksys Powerline AV Bridge Kit PLK300 is the most well-thought-out powerline adapter kit we've seen so far. It's also the first that can handle up to four network devices. In our testing, it offers excellent performance and proved to be very easy to set up.
On the downside, the adapters are rather bulky, especially the one that's designed to connect to a router. Like all powerline adapter we've seen, the PLK300 kit doesn't work well with surge protectors or power strips, either.
With street prices between $125 and $170, the PLK300 kit is the best deal when it comes to getting your multiple devices connected via your home's electrical wiring.
Design, setup, and features
The PLK300 kit comes with two similar-looking powerline adapters designed to work specifically with each other in a particular setup. The first (model number PLE300) has only one Ethernet port and is intended to be connected to the existing network via the router, or hub. The second unit (model number PLS300) has four Ethernet ports and is to be used at the far end of the powerline connection.
This combination makes sense as if both of them had the same number of ports; any extra ports on the first unit (PLE300) would be wasted. This also means that if you want to expand your powerline network to different corners of the house, you need only purchase additional PLS300 units--which cost $95 each--or another HomePlug AV-compatible adapter.
Though it includes only one port, the PLE300 has the same shape and size as the four-port PLS300. Both are fairly bulky, about the size of a small four-port hub. To make up for the large physical size, neither uses the popular snap-in design to connect to the power receptacle, where the adapter would cover the wall socket it's connected to and even adjacent ones. Instead, they come with a thin, detachable power cable that not only helps keep the wall socket area clear, but also enables you to put the adapters at a convenient location, like on your desk.
Like all HomePlug AV adapters, the PLK300 kit is finicky with power strips and surge protectors and needs to be plugged into the wall directly. Cisco says the adapters have built-in mechanism to protect themselves from a power surge.
The adapters have rubber feet on the bottom and can lay flat on any surface. They also, however, come with a detachable base for vertical positioning. On top of each is an array of LED lights that show the activities of the ports, the power, and the security status.