The Comtrend PG-9172PoE — like all other Powerline adapters — is an alternative to running network cables. But there’s more: It can also be an alternative to a power outlet. Unfortunately, due to its slow network port that caps at just 100Mbps, the adapter is only suitable for low-bandwidth applications.
That said, if you want to install a security IP camera at a place far from a wall socket, at around $50, this little piece of hardware can save you a lot of time.
Design and features
The PG-9172PoE derives from the PG-9172 that Comtrend released a few years ago. It’s a bit bulkier and also doesn’t have a pass-through power socket, prohibiting you from plugging another device to the same outlet it occupies.
Like its older cousin, the PG-9172PoE is G.hn-certified and therefore sports Powerline speeds up to 1200Mbps. Don’t get too excited about that number, however, since this adapter is not about high throughput performance.
Instead, the PG-9172PoE is Comtrend’s first attempt at combining Powerline and power-over-Ethernet (PoE). In other words, this Powerline adapter has a built-in PoE injector.
When used with a PoE-compatible device, such as an IP camera, the PG-9172PoE can deliver both network signals and power to the end-device, via a network cable. As a result, you can place that device up to 300 feet (100m) away from a power outlet, without having to run a long power cord.
No Gigabit support
The PG-9172PoE uses a regular Fast Ethernet port, which is ten times slower than a Gigabit port found in most other adapters. As a result, despite its internal 1200Mbps Powerline speed, it can only offer a network connection of 100Mbps at best.
For this reason, you should use this adapter only in low-bandwidth applications. That, plus the PoE capability, makes it an ideal choice for IP cameras, which are often mounted far away from power outlets. IP cameras also don’t require a fast network connection to deliver HD surveillance video recordings.
Technically, you can also use the PG-9172PoE with other PoE-ready devices, like a Wi-Fi access point. In this case, though, the adapter’s 100Mbps bottleneck network port will keep it from delivering satisfying connections.
Setting up the PG-9172POE is the same as setting up any Powerline adapters. (Read more about that here.) You need to first connect another Powerline adapter — preferably a Comtrend PG-9172 unit — to your router (or switch) before you can use the PG-9172PoE. Press on the Config button on each Comtrend adapter, and you’ll create a secure connection between the two.
If you use the PG-9172PoE with a Powerline adapter from another vendor, however, the Config button doesn’t help. Instead, you need to use its web interface to change its settings manually. It’s rather hard to reach the adapter’s web interface, and the interface itself is not easy to understand for non-savvy users. Generally, when it comes to Powerline networking, you’re better off using adapters of the same vendor.
The PG-9172PoE has a few small LED lights that show its condition. The indicator you should pay attention to is the Coverage light on top, which uses color to reveal the quality of the Powerline connection. Red means the link is at 20Mbps or slower, orange means it’s between 20Mbps and 40Mbps, and green means 40Mbps or faster.
The PG-9172PoE performed well in my testing. I tried two adapters (together with one PG-9172 unit) over a week with a couple of Reolink cameras, and the connections were stable. I could record Full HD videos with no problem.
As for copy speeds, compared with other powerline adapters on the market, the PG-9172PoE, as expected, was slow. But this wasn’t a fair comparison since the PG-9272PoE was the only one on the charts below that has a Fast Ethernet port instead of a Gigabit port.
That said, in my tests, in ideal conditions, it had a sustained speed of 91Mbps, which was close to the top speed of its network port.
The mix of a 100Mbps network port and Powerline speeds of up to 1200Mbps affords the PG-9172PoE a lot of wiggle room. Even in less-than-ideal conditions for Powerline, after interferences and overheads, it can still deliver close to its top speed most of the time.
Though the Comtrend PG-9172PoE can work as a generic Powerline adapter, you should use it as one explicitly designed for IP cameras or a similarly low-bandwidth application. And for this purpose, it works well and will save you a lot of time.
If you’re looking to extend your home network for other uses, however, the PG-9172PoE’s lack of Gigabit support is a deal-breaker. In this case, you should opt for the PG-9172 or another adapter that has a Gigabit port instead, and get a separate PoE injector if need be.