The PLWK400 kit from Linksys includes Wi-Fi so you can extend an existing Wi-Fi network into areas that your router might not normally be able to reach. However, there are some aspects of its design that are rather unwieldy. See all Wi-Fi and networking reviews.

Most HomePlug devices point downwards from the mains power socket so that the Ethernet cables trail straight down onto the floor and can be tucked out of sight. Visit Devolo dLAN 200 AV Wireless N review.

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Linksys has placed the single Ethernet port right on the top of its adaptors, which means that the Ethernet cables protrude upwards for several inches in a rather unsightly fashion. However, this could be an advantage if your mains sockets are close to the floor. See also D-Link W307AV PowerLine Homeplug AV Wireless N Starter Kit review.

Of course, design doesn’t affect performance (or shouldn't anyhow), and the PLWK400 was able to back up our 1GB test file at 60.2Mbps. That’s not the best we've seen by any means, but it’s respectable for a HomePlug AV kit.

There’s a ‘Simple Connect’ button that allows you to automatically create a secure link between the two adaptors, and to quickly add further adaptors as well. There’s a similar security button for the built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi too, but as we've said in other reviews, the WPS system can easily be compromised so don't choose a kit because it has push-button security.

The manual and the configuration software provided with the kit aren’t very clear about how to set up Wi-Fi, so less technical people could easily get lost here. The manual also fails to explain other options, such as the QoS (quality of service) feature that allows you to prioritise certain types of network traffic.

Linksys PLWK400: Specs

  • Product Name: Powerline AV Wireless Network Extender Kit
  • Part Code: PLWK400
  • Standard: HomePlug AV
  • Speed: 200Mbps
  • Number of adaptors: 2
  • Number of Ethernet Ports: 1/1
  • Push Button Security: Y
  • Mains Pass-through: N
  • Wi-Fi extender: Y (802.11n)
  • Dimensions (mm): 100 x 70 x 40mm / 115 x 75 x 45mm
  • Product Name: Powerline AV Wireless Network Extender Kit
  • Part Code: PLWK400
  • Standard: HomePlug AV
  • Speed: 200Mbps
  • Number of adaptors: 2
  • Number of Ethernet Ports: 1/1
  • Push Button Security: Y
  • Mains Pass-through: N
  • Wi-Fi extender: Y (802.11n)
  • Dimensions (mm): 100 x 70 x 40mm / 115 x 75 x 45mm

OUR VERDICT

From a technical point of view the PLWK400 kit works perfectly well, and its Wi-Fi option will be useful for many people. However, the unhelpful manual and configuration software mean that you’ll need a fair bit of network know-how in order to get the most out of it.

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