Plugable 2.5Gbps Ethernet adapter doubles Mac network speeds at a reasonable price [Update]

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Get much faster Mac Ethernet with Plugable’s latest adapter.
The Plugable 2.5Gbps USB Ethernet Adapter promises faster Mac networking.
Photo: Plugable

Plugable Technologies announced Tuesday the availability of its 2.5Gbps USB Ethernet Adapter, bring a significant boost in speed over other ubiquitous devices at 1Gbps.

This affordable plug-in accessory is compatible with Mac and works over Cat 5e and Cat 6 Ethernet cables.

Take Mac Ethernet from 1Gbps to 2.5Gbps

Options for Mac like Apple’s own Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter have a maximum data transfer speed of 1Gbps. This new 2.5GBASE-T adapter is for people ready to move beyond that.

The Plugable 2.5Gbps USB Ethernet Adapter plugs into USB-C ports, but also comes with a USB-A 3.0 adapter.

Its maximum data-transfer speed is available over standard Cat 5e Ethernet cables, as long as these are less than 100 meters in length. And switches on the network will also need to support the faster speeds. For those that don’t, Plugable’s network adapter also supports 100BASE-TX and 1000BASE-TX.

A brand-new Mac isn’t required. This product supports macOS 10.7 and above. It also works with Windows 10, 8.x and 7, as well as Linux kernel 3.2 and above.

The Plugable 2.5Gbps USB Ethernet Adapter has a standard price of $54.99. It’s currently available on Amazon.com for just $39.95, however.

Trying to find ‘sweet spot’ in speed and pricing

For comparison, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter is much faster than the new Plugable product, but costs more than double at $159.75. While there are higher speeds available at 5GB and 10GB, the company decided to find a middle-of-the-road and still offer an affordable price.

“While there are faster speeds, there are some really huge trade-offs and differences between what is required from the technologies and the cabling at each of those speed levels,” Bernie Thompson, founder and president of Plugable Technologies, told Cult of Mac.

“More importantly, most corporate environments and homes are already wired for Cat-5e or Cat 6. As a result, 2.5GB speeds, like is offered in our new product, will be able to offer full performance on this type of wiring, whereas 5Gb or 10GB speeds would require new cabling. It’s kind of the obvious, easy upgrade at a future-proof price.”