Plugable this week has become the latest peripheral manufacturer to start producing 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet dongles, with the release of their own adapter. Designed to add support for faster networking speeds to PCs with USB 3.0 Type-A and Type-C ports, Plugable is pushing the "inexpensive" aspect of the network adapter hard, launching it at just $30.

Like most other 2.5GbE adapters we've seen to date, the Plugable 2.5G USB Ethernet Adapter (USBC-E2500) is based on Realtek's RTL8156 controller, which supports 2.5GBASE-T and on down, all over standard Cat5e cabling. The Realtek chip supports such features as  9k Jumbo frame support, auto MDI-X (crossover detection and correction), and IEEE 802.1Q VLAN. Since some of these capabilities require OS support, the dongle comes with drivers for Apple MacOS (10.12 and newer), Microsoft Windows 7/8/10, and Linux (kernel 3.2).

Meanwhile, recognizing that the industry as a whole is in the middle of a transition from USB Type-A to USB Type-C, the USB-C native Plugable 2.5G USB Ethernet Adapter comes with a USB-C to USB-A adapter that's conveniently tethered to the dongle's cable. For USB dongles that even bother to account for both port types, we normally see loosely packed adapters, so this is an interesting choice that should make the adapter a lot harder to lose. Otherwise, the device is made of plastic and looks fairly small, so it should be lightweight and plenty easy to carry around.

The Plugable 2.5G USB Ethernet Adapter is now available directly from the company as well as from leading retailers. The official MSRP of the device is $39.99, but for a limited time the product will be available for $29.99 from Amazon, either via an instant $10 coupon. The adapter is being released in the US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada, and Japan.

With the COVID-19 outbreak and work from home initiatives being enforced around the globe, this might not be the best time to introduce 2.5G Ethernet dongles that are primarily meant for offices. None the less, we're happy to see the continued proliferation of faster Ethernet controllers and dongles – and hope that cheaper network switches will catch up soon.

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Source: Plugable

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  • Tomatotech - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    Yup, like the article said, with everyone working from home, there is almost no use for this. Hence the special offer to get press PR and raise awareness (and it's working!).

    There can't be many laptop-based home offices that require sustained >100MB/s network attached storage ...
  • arglebargle123 - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    Fair warning to anyone considering these: I've had *extremely* poor experiences with this chipset on Linux.

    I had one plugged into one of my Linux boxes for extra bandwidth a couple of months back and after ~4 days it took out the entire networking stack. It didn't just crash itself, it hosed every interface on the machine. Rinse and repeat several days later.

    It might work better on Windows or a Mac, but somehow I doubt it.
  • simon123 - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    Why? What's the point of this? It's totally useless for home, and for the office. For home, obviously. For the office, you'd need multi-G ethernet switches as access switches. They are expensive as hell without any benefit to the regular office client. They're mainly used for server access, but that is mostly 1 or 10G. So that will be another 5-10 years. For the access, it's mostly 1G if the network is not old as hell and running 100M still.
  • shabby - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    Where are the 10gbps routers? What is taking those manufactures so long to come out with them?
  • simon123 - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    There are 10Gbps router already, but why would you want it for home? Are you planning to build a data center in the garage?
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    Well to be fair, some of us kind of are...
  • shabby - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    Doesn't matter what I need it for, it would encourage others to come out with them and bring down inflated prices.
  • dlum - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    There's a full line of MikroTik 10G-enabled routers & switches, cheap like dirt & perfect (not only but surely) for home use. I've been using them already some time, and switched already all operations that made sense to 10 GbE (mostly SFP+), as well at my home as my company office.

    It seems it'll take anyway don't know how many years untill all that whining & grumbling ends, but as for Anandtech readers - guys, just wake up, update yourselves and stop to live in the world of yesterday.
  • Dug - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    10Gb sfp has been common and cheap for a long time. People are looking for 10Gb ethernet.

    Which I think is an issue because 10Gb requires a lot of power and heat. 2.5Gb is perfect for home use.
  • brontes - Friday, March 27, 2020 - link

    Sfp-to-rj45 adapters are $30-$40. It doubles the per-port price of the popular mikrotik switch but it's still cheaper than native 10gb rj45 switches.

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