USB 3 Ethernet Adapter

Usbgigbit

A USB 2.0 Ethernet adapter is a pitiful thing, an ugly workaround only really useful when you find yourself in a Wi-Fi-free hotel room with only your MacBook Air for company.

A USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapter, on the other hand, is every bit as good as having a real 10/1000 network connector hole in the side of your machine.

Better still, as this uses a USB 3.0 port, it won’t clog up your Thunderbolt port, leaving it free for all those cheap and plentiful accessories that have flooded the market (note, that was sarcasm). And yes, a passthrough Thunderbolt/Ethernet adapter would surely be a wonderful thing, but it probably wouldn’t cost just $55.

If you need such a dongle, then you probably already bought StarTech’s little box as soon as you saw this post. In fact, the only downside seems to be that it looks just like one of those phone-line filters that come with ADSL internet packs. Try not to get them mixed up, or it’ll be a sad, porn-free hotel stay for you.

  • mister_rabbit

    According to the technical specifications on the product page, linked below, “The Apple Mac OS operating systems currently do not support USB 3.0, so this device will function in USB 2.0 mode only.”

    I’m not sure how old this product is but I’d be willing to guess that it has been available longer than Macs have had USB 3. Assuming the note is still true, and that these will only operate at USB 2 speeds, then you’re wasting time with this as it’s quite a bit more expensive than the Apple USB to Ethernet adapter. Either way I would want to confirm compatibility before dishing out $50+ for it.

    http://www.startech.com/Networking-IO/Adapter-Cards/USB-3-to-Gigabit-Ethernet-NIC-Network-Adapter~USB31000S

  • ulyssesric

    If you only want to access internet, grab a ~$50 portable Wifi access point instead. There’re models that powered by batteries.

  • Juan Nunez-Iglesias

    “And yes, a passthrough Thunderbolt/Ethernet adapter would surely be a wonderful thing, but it probably wouldn’t cost just $55.”

    Um, Charlie? Apple makes just such a product and sells it for $29.

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD463ZM/A/thunderbolt-to-gigabit-ethernet-adapter

  • extra808

    Um, Charlie? Apple makes just such a product and sells it for $29.

    Juan, that adapter doesn’t include passthrough Thunderbolt, it’s just an Ethernet adapter. That means if you have a single Thunderbolt port you have to choose between using the Ethernet adapter and any other Thunderbolt device (unless that device can passthrough Thunderbolt in which case you can put the Ethernet adapter at the end of the chain).

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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