When WiFi G/N Is Not Enough
Many of today’s laptops ship without an ethernet port. relying only on Wifi to connect to LANs or the Internet. With the advent of WiFi G/N, these new laptops have a wireless speed that rivals the speed Gigabit Ethernet. The downside to the new faster WiFi comes in its range. The new WiFi has a shorter broadcast range when compared to its predecessor. What to do? Access WiFi using the slower protocol, but with greater range? If a wired connection is available, the solution is a USB powered ethernet dongle. Here is where the Monoprice USB 3.0 3 Port Hub with Gigabit Ethernet comes into play.
According to Monoprice: “This USB hub features a 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet adapter and three USB 3.0 ports. It is compatible with Windows XP or later as well as Mac OS X 10.6.x ~ 10.8.x. It includes several “green” Ethernet capabilities, including support for the IEEE 802.3az specification for energy-efficient Ethernet and IPV4/IPV6 pack Checksum Offload Engine to reduce CPU overhead. This Ethernet adapter draws all the power it needs from the connected USB port, however, it can be powered using an optional AC adapter (not included).”
- USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
- Small, compact design for easy portability
- Supports wake-on-LAN function
- Supports Green Ethernet
- Supports IEEE 802.3az (Energy Efficient Ethernet)
- Supports IPV4/IPV6 pack Checksum Offload Engine (COE) to reduce CPU overhead
- Complies with the Full-duplex with flow control and Half-duplex with back pressure operation
- Battery Charging 1.2 compatible
- Works with Windows XP, Windows Vista®, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Mac OS X 10.6.x ~ 10.8.x
- Bus-powered or powered using an optional AC adapter (not included). USB compliance: 3.0 (backwards compatible with USB 2.0/1.1).
The hub comes shrink-wrapped with instructions and install-DVD. Install the drivers from the CD, plug the hub into a USB 3.0 port and you are in business unless you have a newer MacBook Pro. Not only are the new MacBooks devoid of an ethernet port, they are also minus a CD/DVD drive. Not to worry, you can download the drivers here (currently Version 2.9.0):
Using TheMonoprice USB 3.0 3 Port Hub With Gigabit Ethernet
Once the drivers are installed, the hub is plug-in-play. When connected to my laptop’s 3.0 port, there is adequate power for a keyboard, wireless mouse, etc., along with running ethernet. With the powered adapter (5.0 VDC, 2.5A), large files on a thumb-drive should transfer with ease, and charging of devices should also be handled with relative ease; however, I don’t believe the hub can power accessories with more intense power needs, like an external hard drive.
Gigabit Ethernet speeds are reached with ease. Speed tests on my laptop match those of my desktop iMac. I have read reviews where WiFi shuts off when connected to ethernet on Macs. I have not found this to be the case on a MacBook 2015 running Sierra 10.12.6. Built into the RJ-45 port are green and yellow lights indicating Ethernet status.
Finally, the case on the Monoprice USB 3.0 3 Port Hub with Gigabit Ethernet is simple black plastic, with the USB ports on one side, and the Ethernet connection on one end, with the USB connection to the computer on the other. Nothing remarkable here, just efficient.
In my office, I connect my laptop to a 44″ flat screen TV, and use the hub, with USB power only for the mouse, keyboard, and Ethernet. In this setting, the Monoprice hub has worked flawlessly for several months. I have no issues with the Monoprice USB 3.0 3 Port Hub with Gigabit Ethernet, and I highly recommend it, especially at its $21.72 price point.