When discussing networking controllers, often we deal with single chips that convert PCIe to Ethernet. With Thunderbolt, an additional TB controller is needed at either end, increasing cost and power. However now with mobile devices losing dedicated Ethernet ports, and the rise in professional docking stations, converting from USB to a Wired Ethernet solution is usually a common choice for users that work out of hotels or those that want to add simple Ethernet capability to a device without any. Rather than use a USB-to-PCIe controller, Aquantia is pushing forward with its new generation of USB-to-Ethernet chips designed to run at 5G and 2.5G speeds.

The new chips, the AQtion AQC111U and the AQtion AQC112U, are designed to simply the USB-to-Ethernet scenario while supporting multi-gigabit Ethernet speeds. Dubbed as ‘the easiest way to implement multi-gig’, the new chips are set to be used in dongles and docking stations from the main ODMs and OEMs in this space: Bizlink, Edimax, Goodway, and Sunrich. Hardware will be available in Q4 2018.

For users looking to install point-to-point wired Ethernet speeds beyond 1 Gbps / 133 MBps, this looks like it is going to be the best option without a switch and without buying the bulky and power hungry TB3-to-10G adaptors that currently exist on the market.

Pricing will be announced by the vendors later this year, although to be commercially successful we hope that they will be in the $25-40 range. Equivalent 1G USB connectors currently cost sub-$10, for reference.

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  • CaedenV - Monday, June 4, 2018 - link

    And yet we still cannot get 5-10gbps ports on $100+ motherboards because it is 'too expensive'
    I thought the move to 1gbps ports was slow.... the move to 5+ is just dragging on and on.

    Very happy to see this though. This may oddly be a better solution for my home server and desktop than a traditional add-in card... which is a really odd thought.
  • DanNeely - Monday, June 4, 2018 - link

    The cost is still the issue. Years ago as a $5-10 BOM cost port firewire struggled to make it past high end mobos. 2.5/5/10g ethernet controllers are still several times that, and only show up on the highest end boards because the marketing people involved in working out what combinations of parts will sell best think that more USB3 ports, a bank of frag harder disco lights, a fancier audio controller, another bank of frag harder disco lights, a 2nd 1gb network controller, another bank of frag harder disco lights, wifi, or another bank of frag harder disco lights on the board will all get more people to buy a more expensive model.

    Until high end routers start having >1gb ethernet ports, or stand alone switches drop below $100, and stand alone nics below $50; I suspect they're probably right about >1gb ethernet not actually selling a lot of upgrades. Just because the total cost of connecting 2 PCs over 2.5/5/10g ethernet is on par with a flagship mobo, not just a component upgrade on one.

    And as the near total lack of boards with more than 1 USB-C port indicate they clearly don't believe consumers put any real amount of consideration into what we'll be doing with the system 3-6 years from now, so the hope that enabling the high speed network port in a year or two for a lot less than today won't have any weight on their thinking either.
  • chx1975 - Saturday, August 4, 2018 - link

    The Sonnet Solo is slimmer than the linked 10gbps to TB3 but no doubt it's bulkier than these USB dongles. It's also below 200 USD which is quite a feat. Still, these USB 3 dongles are going to be great.

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