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Netgear Powerline 1200 review: Top power line speed at a low cost

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The Good The Netgear Powerline 1200 kit is affordable and delivers the connection speed many times that of a regular Ethernet connection. The adapter has an indicator light that helps you find the best wall socket to plug it in.

The Bad The adapter is bulky and there's no way it can deliver the mythical advertised speed of 1,200Mbps.

The Bottom Line The Netgear Powerline 1200 kit is the affordable answer to those needing a reliable, fast and convenient solution to extend their wired home network.

8.3 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9

The Netgear Powerline 1200 kit (model PL1200-100PAS) won't deliver the on-paper (and honestly, quite mythical) top speed of 1,200Mbps advertised by Netgear. It won't even get close to that. However, that doesn't mean it's not fast. In my testing, it edged out the Comtrend PG-9172 G.hn to be the fastest power line kit to date. And at just $80 for a set of two adapters, it's also one of the cheapest.

Similar to most power line adapters, the 1200 is easy to set up and is a convenient and reliable way to extend your wired network without the need to run network cables through your house. And apart from the relatively bulky design (a trait many power line adapters share), there's not much else to complain about.

The Powerline 1200 kit is an excellent buy for anyone looking to extend their network, but it's not the only option. To make sure you get the best deal for your needs, don't forget to also check out this list of top power line adapters.

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The Netger Powerline 1200 kit includes two identical adapters.

Josh Miller/CNET

Design and setup

The Powerline 1200 Adapter Kit includes two identical adapters (model PL1200S). The adapters have a snap-in design, looking like a three-prong power adapter for a small electronic device. This is a popular design for power line since it's very convenient to use; all you have to do is plug the adapter into the wall socket.

There's one caveat, however. The adapter is quite big, potentially blocking the adjacent wall sockets when in use. To make matters worse, the PL1200S doesn't feature a pass-through socket. Since power line adapters need to be plugged directly into a wall socket -- and not through a power strip or surge protector -- to work well, the PL1200S is not useful in places where there's only one power outlet.

(Note that Netgear also offers another version of the Powerline 1200 kit, model PLP1200-100PAS, that costs $10 more and includes two PLP1200S adapters. The PLP1200S adapter is about double the physical size of the PL1200S adapter, but includes a pass-through outlet. Other than that, the two adapters are essentially the same.)

The PL1200S has a Gigabit network port on one of its sides. Next to this port is a Security Button and a Reset button. The former is to create a secure connection between multiple adapters and the latter is to reset the adapter to the default factory setting.

The Powerline 1200 Adapter Kit includes a well-illustrated Quick Start guide but you won't need help setting it up at all. The process is very simple. First you hook up one of the adapters to your existing router (or switch) using a network cable (a short cable included with each adapter). Then connect a second adapter to an Ethernet-ready device, such as a computer, a printer or even a Wi-Fi access point. Then plug each adapter into a power socket and you're done. The adapters now use the electrical wiring in between the two sockets as a network cable.

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