Easily add speedy Ethernet to your Mac with this inexpensive adapter [Review]

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Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter review
Enjoy the reliability of Ethernet with this simple USB-C adapter for your Mac or iPad Pro.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Adding Ethernet to your MacBook or iPad Pro is as simple as attaching the Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter. This cuts your dependence on WiFi, instead bringing the security, reliability and speed of a wired connection.

I tested this very affordable and portable accessory, and bring you the results in this hands-on review.

Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter review

WiFi is oh so convenient… until it’s not. Buildings can have dead zones with no access. And even under the best conditions, wireless connections slow down as you get farther from the hotspot. Plus, WiFi can never be as secure as a wired connection.

That’s where Ethernet comes in. You can add up to 1 Gbps of reliable wired connectivity to your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iPad Pro with the Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter.

Even if your computer already has an Ethernet port, you can add a second one and have your Mac combine them into a single virtual port. This is known as link aggregation. The combined ports appear as a single IP address to your computer and apps.

Hardware

The design of this accessory couldn’t be simpler. It’s a small box containing an RJ45 port attached to a USB-C connector by a 1.5-inch flexible cable. The whole package weighs about half an ounce.

The Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter is very pocketable, or it goes easily into a gear bag. You could even leave it attached to your Ethernet cable, ready to plug in at any time.

It’s all black plastic but the build quality is high.

Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter performance

No additional software is required to this accessory. It’s “plug and play.” It worked with my iPad Pro without a hitch. Of course, it supports macOS too. Plus Windows and ChromeOS, but not Android.

The Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter uses a Realtek RTL8153 chipset making it capable of 10/100/1000 Mbps. To convert the units, that means it tops out at 1Gbps.

That’s a lot faster than most consumer-grade internet services can provide. Mine, for example. Still, I tested Plugable’s adapter with my network router. It performed flawlessly, providing my iPad Pro with 100% of the speed available from my provider.

Just plug the Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter into a USB-C port on your MacBook or iPad and you’re go to go.
Plugable’s adapter works with macOS, iPadOS, Windows and ChromeOS. The computer needs a USB-C port, of course.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter final thoughts

The days when MacBooks came with a wide array of ports are long gone. Today, even a top-of-the line 16-inch MacBook Pro includes only Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports and a headset jack. But you can cheaply and easily add wired networking to your Mac with the Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter.

Or you might be able to speed up the net connection for your desktop Mac by adding a second Ethernet port.

This accessory does what it promises in an easily-portable package.

Pricing

Plugable charges just $14.95 for its USB-C to Ethernet adapter. Amazon sells it for that price too.

Buy from: Amazon

That’s a very competitive price, and some rival options are much more expensive.

Comparable products

If you’re looking for an alternative, consider the Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter. It offers the same feature set for $29.00.

Anyone who wants much more options should look into multi-port adapters. Take the HyperDrive Power 9-in-1 USB-C Hub — it has Ethernet and loads of other ports too. Or the Aukey CB-C78 has a whopping 12 ports.

Plugable provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.