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For the device of a new connection to the network – local or Internet – special devices are used – network adapters. There are a great many of them on the market and they differ in the same set of parameters. Expertology decided to dedicate today’s rating review to a narrow topic – adapters, which are in fact a kind of adapters from conventional wired Ethernet to USB.

How to choose a network adapter

To begin with, let’s briefly figure out how to choose an Ethernet-USB network adapter, because there are still quite a few of them.

connector type

The most obvious parameter, which is difficult to make a mistake, but still, let’s clarify some details. At the input, such an adapter will always have a standard RJ-45 network connector, which is well recognizable, and there are no other options within our topic. On the other side of the adapter there will already be options. The USB standard has several generations and form factors. And if USB 2.0 and 3.0 are compatible at least in form, then USB 2.0 or 3.0 simply won’t fit into USB-C. At the same time, your computer most likely has several or even many USB interfaces of different standards. Therefore, decide in advance in which one it will be most convenient and expedient (port speed) to attach the adapter.

Speed

Less obvious, but no less important parameter. Before buying, you need to know exactly the throughput of the adapter and focus on this. The fact is that if you are a happy owner of a gigabit Internet, then by purchasing an adapter with support for a maximum of 100Mbps, this is exactly the speed you will get. And do not forget that the throughput of the USB 2.0 port is 480 Mbps, so by connecting even a gigabit adapter to such a port, you, again, will get exactly this speed, and then at the maximum.

Form factor and physics

Here the main factors are: the shape of the “flash drive” or the presence of a cable, the length of the cable, the rigidity of the cable, its quality, the presence of light indicators and their brightness, design. All this may seem like trifles, but the number of users who, due to such trifles, were forced to change the adapter, is very significant.

You will most likely not find an adapter in the form of a “flash drive” (commonly referred to as a “whistle”). This does not apply to adapters of other types – 3G, Wi-Fi and others. There, just the form of a flash drive is almost a rule, but we will talk about them another time. So, just in case, an adapter of this form is acceptable for desktop computers, and then if it is plugged into the socket on the back wall. In laptops, this form is highly undesirable, since when carrying or any other interaction with a laptop, the “whistle” is easy to hook and break corny, damaging the port itself.

Do not underestimate the role of the cable and its quality. A rigid cable is not for everyone, since the adapter block will not hang down, sometimes it is convenient. On the other hand, it must be of high quality, otherwise the insulation will break quite quickly and after a while the wires will break. It is impossible to determine all this at the point of sale, so be sure to search the Internet for reviews before buying.

Finally, indicator lights. Everything here is for an amateur. Someone needs them to see the status and dynamics, and indeed “beautifully” (no kidding). But sometimes the LEDs are too bright and when the user works at night, they really interfere with the sleep of other family members. It would seem that in this case it is possible to seal the diodes with electrical tape, but this is already “not comme il faut” and cases of replacing the device for this very reason are far from isolated.

Manufacturing company

Everything is pretty simple here. You should not buy “no-names” that have just appeared on the market, even if the Internet is bursting with positive reviews – their reliability is doubtful, if only because of the too short time of use. On the other hand, often even adapters from famous brands sometimes turn out to be useless. It’s worth reading the reviews here, and it’s not a contradiction, as well-known brands don’t engage in such petty black marketing techniques.

And now let’s go directly to the rating and describe the four models that Expertology experts considered the best in terms of key parameters, including value for money.

Rating of the best network adapters

Nomination

place

Name of product

price

Rating of the best network adapters

one

DELL USB-C to Ethernet adapter (470-ABND)

2 490 ₽

2

HP USB-C to RJ45 Adapter (V8Y76AA)

2 490 ₽

3

Gembird A-CM-LAN-01

1 022 ₽

four

TP-LINK UE300

1 090 ₽

DELL USB-C to Ethernet adapter (470-ABND)

Rating: 4.9

DELL USB-C to Ethernet adapter (470-ABND)

First of all, let’s consider the most expensive adapter in our review, manufactured by the American company DELL. The price is largely due to the increased reliability of the device, which is noted by the users themselves. The adapter lasts a long time, does not crash, does not freeze, gives “honest” speeds in network connections.

The device is designed to create a new or additional Ethernet port with an RJ-45 connector in those devices that do not contain such a port (faulty, already occupied), but have a free USB 3.1 Type-C interface. The adapter provides a reliable and stable connection at speeds of 10, 100 or 1000 Mbps.

The adapter does not require even minimal effort or a separate installation of drivers. The “native” driver is already contained in it. When connecting for the first time, you only need to agree to install it when a service message appears.

A notable feature of the adapter is its support for PXE technology (special software for booting a computer over a network without using internal storage drives).

PXE is an environment for booting a computer using a network card without using local storage media.

The network adapter is made in a miniature black case, there is a flat data transfer cable between the functional module case and the USB 3.1 Type-C plug. The entire surface of all parts of the device has a soft-touch surface that is pleasant to the touch.

Advantages

  • exceptional reliability and continuity;

  • “honest” speed;

  • quality materials;

  • pleasant to the touch soft-touch;

  • PXE support.

Flaws

  • flat cord limits flexibility.

Also Read: 18 Best Network Filters

HP USB-C to RJ45 Adapter (V8Y76AA)

Rating: 4.8

HP USB-C to RJ45 Adapter (V8Y76AA)

Now let’s turn our attention to the adapter used for a similar purpose, only manufactured by Hewlett-Packard.

The power adapter is supplied in a package measuring 245x110x35 mm and weighing 120 g. Full dimensions with cord: width – 4.33 inches, height – 1.38 inches. Net weight of the device – 71.4 g. Made in dark gray. The functional block is made in the form of a regular “square” shape and rounded edges.

It is exactly the same as the previous model, equipped with the same RJ-45 connector and USB 3.1 Type-C plug and operates at the same speed – up to 1 Gbps. On the side of the RJ-45 connector, there are two green and yellow LED indicators that signal the connection speed (green – maximum).

This model is covered by Hewlett-Packard’s standard one-year limited warranty so that in the event of a problem, the adapter can be replaced at any authorized service center.

Advantages

  • reliability;

  • quality materials;

  • flexible but strong wire;

  • light indicators.

Flaws

  • not marked.

Gembird A-CM-LAN-01

Rating: 4.7

Gembird A-CM-LAN-01

The third number in the rating is the adapter manufactured by the international company Gembird, which has Dutch roots, and the production of such adapters is carried out in China. Actually, the two models described above are also produced in China.

The purpose of the device, incoming and outgoing interfaces and throughput are exactly the same as those of the first two models, so we will not repeat ourselves, we will only describe the features.

The network adapter is powered by a high-performance RTL8153 chip. Supports IEEE 802.3x Flow Control, 802.1P, 802.1Q, 802.3az-2010 standards. Provides a reliable and stable connection without failures and freezes. The form factor is the same as previous models, only the functional unit has a small design refinement. Cable length – 15 cm.

The adapter is supplied in an individual package with dimensions of 25x150x150 mm. Net weight – 22 g.

Advantages

  • affordable price;

  • supports many communication standards;

  • easy to use.

Flaws

  • not detected.

TP-LINK UE300

Rating: 4.6

TP-LINK UE300

The adapter of one of the most famous brands of network equipment TP-LINK completes our rating. This time the configuration will be slightly different than the previous models, but the tasks are the same.

In this case, the output is a plug to a regular USB 3.0 interface, and not a miniature USB 3.1 Type-C, as in the previous three models. The bandwidth is the same – 10, 100 and 1000 GB. The network adapter works on the RTL8153 chip.

The device is installed at the first connection in Plug and Play mode on operating systems of the Windows, Linux and Mac OS X 10.9/10.10 families. For Mac OS X (10.5-10.8) systems, manual driver installation is required.

This model is characterized by a pleasant appearance – a snow-white case, pleasant shapes. Also, a successful design idea is implemented here – the USB plug is conveniently retracted into the case. Device dimensions – 71x26x16.2 mm.

TP-LINK provides a 24-month warranty for this model.

Advantages

  • nice design;

  • the plug is retracted into the case;

  • wide support for many operating systems.

Flaws

  • a flat cord is not always convenient.