Club 3D has introduced its 2.5 GbE dongles featuring a USB Type-A or a USB Type-C interface. The adapters are designed to add 2.5 Gbps wired Ethernet to PCs without internal GbE controllers. For laptops, this is becoming increasingly more widespread.

Club 3D’s CAC-1420 (USB Type-A to 2.5 GbE) and CAC-1520 (USB Type-C to 2.5 GbE) are extremely simplist devices: they feature an RJ-45 connector on one side, and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) interface on another. The dongles are USB-powered and therefore do not need any external power adapters. As for compatibility, they can work with PCs running Apple’s MacOS X 10.6 ~ 10.14 as well as Microsoft’s Windows 8/10.

The manufacturer does not disclose which 2.5 GbE controller it uses, but it is highly likely that the dongles use Realtek’s RTL8156 controller specifically designed for such applications. The only other option is from Aquantia, who only offers a joint 2.5/5 GbE controller.

Apart from notebooks without a GbE port that have to work in corporate environments with wired networks (including those that use 2.5, 5, and 10 GbE networks), Club 3D’s new adapters can be used to upgrade older desktop PCs that need a faster Ethernet connectivity.

Club 3D has not announced pricing of the 2.5 GbE CAC-1420 and CAC-1520 adapters.

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Source: Club 3D (via Hermitage Akihabara)

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  • azazel1024 - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    Netgear and a few others have a couple of offerings that have mixed port setups. I forget all of the options out there, but IIRC Netgear has a switch that has two 5GbE ports, 4 2.5GbE ports and 4 GbE ports. IMHO that would be my minimum as a core switch.

    It would allow me to do 5GbE between my desktop and my server. It would then allow me to connect up my router and an access point at 2.5GbE and leave me with a pair of 2.5GbE for other stuff. Like connecting to a secondary switch or something where most of the other stuff is hooked up in my house.

    I am moving shortly, but my current house is running GbE only stuff. But I have roughly 23 ports throughout my house. Some of that is because I have dual drops for LAG/SMB multichannel in a couple of rooms. 2.5/5GbE would allow me to not need LAG/SMB multichannel. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't still put in a couple of drops in some locations in my next house just for a bit of future proofing.

    Anyway, it looks like stuff is FINALLY starting to move to 2.5/5GbE. A couple of wireless routers finally have support for 2.5GbE. And it'll be needed for best case scenarios with the new 802.11ax gear. Not much in the way of clients running 3:3 802.11ac. However, I've tested newer Intel 2:2 chipsets and under fairly optimal conditions I can push ~80MB/sec same room performance. Theoretical limit with encoding is around 85MB/sec for 80MHz 802.11ac 2:2.

    With 802.11ax increasing encoding rate and more likely to actually find gear that can do 160MHz, you are looking at more like a theoretical maximum of about 200MB/sec for 160MHz 802.11ax 2:2.

    I am sure it'll be a long time before anyone sees that. However, in MU:MIMO networks and clients it isn't unreasonable, even with 802.11ac 80MHz that you might see some edge cases where clients are demanding +/- 120MB/sec, which is right at the limit of 1GbE.

    I doubt I'll actually NEED 2.5GbE on an AP/wifi router any day soon. But it would be nice to have the ability and as 802.11ax routers/APs and clients started rolling out in earnest there will be a lot more use cases where the wired backbone is going to be the limitation if it is only 1GbE.
    Reply
  • abufrejoval - Saturday, March 23, 2019 - link

    Teaming doesn't increase point-to-point bandwidth unless you have the software to set up and sustain multiple connections as well as the proper NIC, switch and driver support.

    I've tried and learned the hard way. Should have simply thought it through, but there you go...

    Now there may be switch-to-switch trunking protocols which actually spread packets across lines, but that's switch software stuff that is likely proprietary.

    I've given up on digging deeper now that actually reaching 10Gbit on the connected machines is the bigger challenge, at least in the home lab.

    In the datacenter I have much less trouble filling 100Gbit pipes.
    Reply
  • sorten - Thursday, March 21, 2019 - link

    @npz : Yes, I was serious.

    @flyingpants : I see. I wondered if a file / media server would be the home use case. I guess that assumes you've got the right cables in your walls. I've never needed to transfer games or movies around my home network, so I guess I'm good :)
    Reply
  • azazel1024 - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    Yup. If all you are doing is connecting up your desktop or laptop wirelessly to your router and out to the internet, no need for it. 90% of home users have no need for it. Most of the people who have wired networks at home, probably do have use cases for this. Most of my friends just have a handful of computers all wirelessly connected to their home router. I have a couple of family and friends though who have wired networks and every one that does has some kind of NAS or home server (lite, usually). And all of them would probably see some benefit to at least having 2.5GbE. Even if it wouldn't be much benefit.

    Me personally, there are times I am transferring 50+ GB of files from my desktop to my server or back, doing back-ups, re-transcode of a bunch of videos, etc. My HDD can't really support 5GbE, but since it is a RAID 0 array (mirrored on my server and an offline backup) in both machines, dual 1GbE is a limitation on my transfer performance. By a fair amount. I could probably even saturate a 2.5GbE link (though barely with my current setup).

    Not often, but about once a year I manage to find someway to completely bork my server or my desktop and I have to pull everything back over from one machine to the other. When you are transferring 3.5TB of files, the difference between ~230MB/sec and ~300MB/sec is a pretty big difference (about 45 minutes of time savings in fact).

    In a couple of years if SSDs keep coming down in price, I'll possibly invest in those for bulk storage (because my storage needs aren't tiny, but they aren't massive. Right now only about 3.5TB of needs. 5-6TB of disk space would be fine). Then I could seriously leverage a 5GbE link and I'd be down to around 40% of the transfer times I have to live with today.
    Reply
  • Bp_968 - Sunday, May 26, 2019 - link

    I know this is an older comment but i just wanted to point out that the intel 660p 2TB is down to 180$ now. You could get 6TB of NVMe level storage for 540$ now. How crazy is that?! Even with the slower QLC based nand you would still need at least 20Gb infiniband or ethernet to not be limited by the network link!

    A bottom of the barrel 6TB drive is roughly 100$ right now and a good reliable one 150-175$. I honestly didn't expect SSDs to reach this level this quick. For 90% of uses cases at this point i think SSDs the best choice. I'd only consider HDDs for bulk storage thats mostly offline (photos, file storage, backups, etc) or for write heavy applications (I keep a spare 1TB hdd in my gaming machine for nvidia Shadowplay since it writes constantly to enable instant replay recordings. It will burn up writes on a SSD pretty quick if you do something silly like leave a game running for a few days by accident).
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    Our facility is still running at 100 mbps and it belongs to a Fortune 500 information technology and telecommunications corporation. In my home network, I have yet to use a local router that even has 1GbE ports. Everything is 100mbit so far which is not a concern for me since I also have no reason to shuffle large files around my internal network. Backups go from my laptops to a 1TB external hard drive over USB 2.0 or I use said laptop as an intermediate device between my phone and said external hard drive for occasional backups. Reply
  • eek2121 - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    Seriously? I've been running Gigabit for over a decade. It's pretty common in most home networks these days. Reply
  • fred666 - Thursday, March 21, 2019 - link

    Probably not worth the effort, the pain of using dongles, and the cost to upgrade cheap gigabit hardware to this for only 2.5x the speed. 10 Gbps would make more sense. Even if the USB isn't fast enough. Just like they made USB2.0 gigE dongles. Reply
  • mjz_5 - Thursday, March 21, 2019 - link

    2.5 faster is a lot. What if a cpu is 2.5 faster? Reply
  • CharonPDX - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    But why? 2.5 GbE, 5 GbE, and 10 GbE all run over the same cabling, and modern switches don't slow down other devices on the network if there's one "slow one." (Yes, you can plug a 10 *Megabit* Ethernet in to your modern switch, and it won't slow things down.)

    For systems that either don't have available PCIe slots, this is a great solution. Especially for wired Ethernet missing laptops. It's not a "pain", it's plugging in one cable. It just happens to be a USB rather than an Ethernet. (With the Ethernet connected further down the chain.)

    Sure, 10 GbE would be a "better" upgrade, but this will undoubtedly be cheaper.
    Reply

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