A couple of months ago we looked at Zyxel's first 600Mbps powerline adaptors - the PLA5205, and were pleased to report that they finally managed to knock the mighty Devolo 500Mbps adaptors off the top spot. It was only by a few megabytes per second but in the overall scheme of things this amounted to a sizeable boost. Of course, not everyone has dual power sockets all over the house so the non pass-through PLA5205's weren't very useful if your PC sits next to a single power socket.
Thankfully, the company has just released a pass-through version of its dual 600Mbps adaptor kit - the PLA5215 and best of all is that the new kit only retails for a little more than the non pass through variety. At £82, it would have been significantly cheaper than Devolo's offerings but the competition has taken note of the fact that Zyxel's cheaper adaptors were faster and has followed suit with a hefty price reduction; its dual 500Mbps dLAN 500 AVplus kit now costs just £75, hopefully suggesting that Devolo has its own faster kits on the way.
There's nothing particularly amazing to report with the new pass-through adaptors. They're the usual elongated shape, which may well mean low-mounted plug sockets are incompatible. They also have the usual reset and encrypt buttons on the side and base with the Ethernet port also located at the bottom - again fine if your intended plug socket is high enough.
The PLA5215 like the PLA5205 uses the HomePlug AV2 standard and Gigabit Ethernet technology, which was lacking from some of the cheaper 500Mbps kits. Under the hood the the adaptors are likely to be almost identical and both support Zyxel's SmartLink Plus - a new technology that aims to limit the impact of electrical noise. It also allows the adaptors to communicate using simultaneous signals across all three socket pins, which Zyxel claims boosts speeds even when used in a power strip. Sadly as we saw with the PLA5205, using them in a power strip is not recommended if you don't want your speeds to plummet so it's the typical usage scenario we're most interested in here.
Setup is extremely easy indeed - there's no linking adaptors like the good (bad) old days. Just plug each adaptor in and away you go. The software provided is fairly basic, and unlike Devolo's adaptors, there's no automatic firmware checking. Instead you'll need to check Zyxel's website to see if there's anything new by way of tweaks and bug fixes. However, you can prioritise different adaptors for traffic, which could be useful if you have more than one PC using the adaptors in the network.