LevelOne has announced the arrival of a networking product that plays a three-pronged role, being the sort of hybrid that doesn't often get released.
LevelOne has launched a product that can most accurately be described as a merger between an Ethernet switch, a Powerline adapter and a Wi-Fi access point.
For those not very familiar with the term, Powerline adapters are devices that can create a network through the power cabling of a building.
The LevelOne PLI-3411 is one such adapter, but as already mentioned, it also acts as a switch and wireless network hub.
The company seems to have bet on reasonable pricing more than it did on performance. The product page
makes things quite clear on this.
European online stores should have the PL-3411 up for order at about 70 Euro, or $95, which is not that high a sum, all things considered.
After all, this is, in the end, a very versatile product, enabling a wireless network to be extended to more remote areas of the home or office.
In any other situations, it would take extra Ethernet cables to achieve such a feat.
There is also the possibility of linking wired devices into a smaller network without having to send data over the Powerline link.
That said, the Wi-Fi maximum data transfer rate is 300 Mbps (handled by two antennas), while the switch works at 10/100 Mbps and the Powerline at 200 Mbps.
Furthermore, there is a small off-switch for the Wi-Fi, which can shut down the wireless network without interfering in any way with the devices linked to the PL-3411 through physical means.
Finally, the Powerline network should automatically be established as soon as two adapters are plugged into the home's or office's power grid.
This is the case with D-Link's 200Mbps PowerLine Mini
adapters and TRENDnet's compact 200Mbps Powerline TPL-306E
adapter as well, to name a couple.