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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Pass-through electrical outlet
Fast data transfer
Plug and play
Big and bulky
Included Ethernet cables are short
Embedded Linux presents vulnerabilities
The Extollo LANSocket 1500 is one of the most powerful and affordable powerline adapter kits on the market, but you have to be careful about some inherent vulnerabilities in the embedded Linux distro that runs on these devices.
Extollo’s LANSocket 1500 powerline adapter kit includes everything you need to extend your wired network throughout your entire home using the power lines in your walls. This kit delivers top performance, including fast speeds and low latency, and setup requires absolutely no knowledge of networking. It even includes a pass-through electrical outlet.
The LANSocket 1500 looks great on paper, but to make sure we plugged a pair into a home network to see if they really live up to the hype. We checked out things like the difficulty level of the setup process, whether the bulky design gets in the way, and how fast of a connection they really provide.
Extollo won’t win any awards for the basic, blocky design of the LANSocket 1500 adapters. They’re big, plastic, white, and take up a lot of space. That’s somewhat mediated by the inclusion of a pass-through electrical socket, which is a really nice touch.
Due to the size and configuration of these units, they prevent you from plugging certain devices into the free socket in the outlet that the LANSocket 1500 itself is plugged into. For example, you won’t be able to plug some wall-wart power supplies into the open outlet above your LANSocket 1500. You can, however, plug a chunky power supply into the pass-through on the LANSocket 1500 itself.
The LANSocket 1500 runs on an embedded Linux distribution, which plays a big part in how powerful these adapters really are.
If you have a 2 gang outlet configuration with four electrical outlets, you’ll find that the LANSocket 1500 blocks the electrical outlet next to it. For that reason, these are best used with standard 1 gang outlets.
Despite their large size, the LANSocket 1500 adapters are relatively plain in design. They include three indicator lights on the front, an Ethernet jack on the bottom, and a sync button on one side. They also include a lot of vents due to how hot these units tend to run during operation.
Home networking is a complicated subject, but setting up a pair of LANSocket 1500 adapters is about as simple as it gets. The kit includes two adapters and two Ethernet cables, which is really all you need to set up your powerline network.
Home networking is a complicated subject, but setting up a pair of LANSocket 1500 adapters is about as simple as it gets.
The setup process starts by plugging one LANSocket 1500 into your router with one of the included Ethernet cables, and then plugging the second LANSocket 1500 into a device like a computer, game console, or even wireless access point, with the second Ethernet cable. You can then plug each LANSocket 1500 into a handy power outlet.
At that point, you’re done. The LANSocket 1500 adapters will automatically connect, establish your powerline network, and you’re good to go. You can add additional adapters elsewhere in your house, up to a total of 16, to connect more devices to your network.
The Extollo LANSocket 1500 powerline adapters use the HomePlug AV2 specification, which includes support for multi-in, multi-out (MIMO) with beamforming, which increases both speed and the allowable distance between adapters. This is a significant improvement over the HomePlug AV specification, which is slower and requires you to place your adapters more closely together.
These adapters are theoretically capable of providing a Gigabit Ethernet connection, but actual speeds depend on the state of the wiring in your home. You are very unlikely to see Gigabit speeds, and we certainly didn’t, but the LANSocket 1500 adapters are still quite fast.
In our testing, we found that the LANSocket matched a wired Ethernet connection to our 300Mbps cable internet connection stride for stride. Data transfer within the network was even faster, topping out at around 400Mbps. That’s significantly lower than the Gigabit speeds the device is supposedly capable of, but still very fast for a HomePlug AV2 powerline adapter.
In our testing, we found that the LANSocket matched a wired Ethernet connection to our 300Mbps cable internet connection stride for stride.
It’s important to note that your personal experience with the LANSocket 1500, or with any powerline adapter, will be dependent on the age and quality of the wiring in your home. Old wiring, damaged wiring, and situations where ground wires aren’t present will all have a negative impact on speeds. If you experience significantly low speeds, try switching the adapters to different outlets.
The LANSocket 1500 runs on an embedded Linux distribution, which plays a big part in how powerful these adapters really are. This is something you probably won’t ever have to worry about, since these devices are plug and play without a lot of hassle, but the use of Linux does open up some security holes.
In order to avoid problems with security, it’s important to plug your LANSocket 1500 adapter into a router that has a built-in firewall instead of directly into your modem. If you plug it into your modem, providing the device with direct access to the internet, you create a situation where someone could connect to the device over the internet and gain access to your network.
If you plug it into your modem, providing the device with direct access to the internet, you create a situation where someone could connect to the device over the internet and gain access to your network.
There are additional security precautions that are available to advanced users, like blocking each adapter from accessing the internet directly, but putting a firewalled router between them and your modem is a good first step.
You can also use the sync button on each LANSocket 1500 adapter to encrypt the data that passes between them, but that prevents you from using any other HomePlug compatible adapters in your network.
The embedded Linux distro does open up some security concerns, but they can be mostly erased if you connect through a firewalled router. You can find cheaper options, but the bottom line is that you won’t find a cheaper alternative that provides the same high speed, low latency, video buffering, and pass-through socket that you get with the LANSocket 1500.
The Extollo LANSocket 1500 has an MSRP of $90 for a set of two. That places these adapters right in the same general price range as other similar devices. You can find HomePlug AV2 compatible adapters for a little less, but they typically don’t perform quite as well.
Since the LANSocket 1500 adapters are so easy to use, and provide such a high level of performance, it’s our judgment that they’re worth the $10 or so premium you’ll typically pay compared to similar competitors.
The LANSocket 1500 adapters compare very favorably to the competition in terms of transfer speed and latency. They do come with the added concern over security, due to the fact that they run on embedded Linux, but that’s easy enough to deal with if you have a firewalled router.
The Netgear PowerLINE 1200 is one close competitor that has a list price of $85. It also uses the HomePlug AV2 specification, with theoretical transfer speeds of up to 1200Mbps. In real-world testing, it maxes out at slightly below the LANSocket 1500.
Another close competitor that uses the HomePlug AV2 specification, the TP-LINK AV2000, has a theoretical top speed of 2000Mbps despite being limited by a standard Gigabit Ethernet port. While fast, and competitively priced with an MSRP of $90, the TP-Link AV2000 lacks the pass-through electrical outlet you get with the LANSocket 1500.
The D-Link Powerline 2000 adapter is another excellent option, which offers higher theoretical speeds, excellent real-world speeds, and a pass-through electrical outlet. It’s also priced a bit higher, with an MSRP of $120.
Buy this powerline adapter kit, but secure it behind a firewall.
The Extollo LANSocket 1500 checks all the right boxes, with some of the highest speeds on the market, a pass-through electrical socket, and a decent price. The high speeds and low latency make this kit a good choice if you need to connect a game console, and the extra memory allowed by the use of Linux really helps out if you stream a lot of video, just be wary of security considerations.
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