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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  • GreenReaper - Thursday, March 21, 2019 - link

    Notably it is no just "USB Type-A" but "USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A" (by which they presumably mean "USB 3.2 Gen 1×1" aka "USB 3.1 Gen 1" aka "USB 3.0"), since that allows 5Gbps nominal, 4Gbps theoretical data (given the 8/10 encoding for error correction), or ~3.2Gbps realistic transfer in both directions - enough for 2.5Gbps but not 5Gbps Ethernet. Reply
  • valinor89 - Thursday, March 21, 2019 - link

    Usb naming scheme keeps getting "better and better"... if you define "better" as more confusing. This might be a tradition that began with the Full speed vs High speed fiasco in the olden days when windows would nag at you that the USB device might not run fast enought because it was connected to a Full speed port. Reply
  • Valantar - Thursday, March 21, 2019 - link

    Hm. Reasonably interested in this, if they're cheap enough. Ought to be, given that 10GbE cards are $90. Now if there only were >1GbE switches in existence with more than two ports and sensible prices... Reply
  • jeremyshaw - Thursday, March 21, 2019 - link

    Now you have made me wonder if any common router/switches can use USB ethernet dongles. Reply
  • eek2121 - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    The router situation is pretty dire, I would construct my own if you could get a Cable modem with faster than gigabit speeds. Right now I have a 10G NIC thanks to flaky onboard that would downgrade to 100 mbit randomly, and that costed $100. I looked around for routers or switches to start converting my network over, but none could be found for a reasonable price. Looks like we are still looking at $50-100 per port, despite the downgrade in speeds. Reply
  • PixyMisa - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    MicroTik have an 8 port 10GbE switch for $270. But it's SFP+.

    They've announced new 10Gbase-T switches but no pricing yet that I've seen.
    Reply
  • Valantar - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    Yeah, SFP+ means ridiculously expensive cabling that can't be terminated with consumer tools and isn't easily available. NICs are more expensive too. Not an option. Reply
  • oRAirwolf - Saturday, March 23, 2019 - link

    I just bought this switch and it was delivered today. I got 8 new Avago SFP+ fiber transceivers for $5 each on eBay, three 2 meter armored OM4 LC OFNP multimode fiber cables from fs.com for $7.61 each, and a 15 meter cable of the same specs for $26.98 from fs.com. Are they more expensive than Cat6A from Monoprice? Yes. Are they ridiculously expensive? Not even a little bit.

    I also got three Mellanox ConnectX-3 EN dual-port 10GbE SFP+ PCIe 3.0 NICs for $26 each. You can buy 4 of those for the same price as one Aquantia AQC107 10Gbe NIC. I have no idea where you but your parts from, but you are 100% incorrect about the cost of running an SFP+ 10Gbe LAN. It is a hell of a lot cheaper than a 10GBASET RJ-45 LAN.
    Reply
  • abufrejoval - Saturday, March 23, 2019 - link

    I concur, when you look closely (and now what to look for), you can get slightly outdated gear for rather good prices, because datacenters have long since moved on to much higher capacities.

    Also you may be able to make do without transreceivers if you just want to string a couple of machines together, that are standing next to each other using direct connect copper cables that are much cheaper (and use less power).

    I am doing that with ConnectX-5 VPI NICs at 100Gbit/s using host chaining instead of a switch with three machines so far.
    Reply
  • Vatharian - Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - link

    For the third of a cost of single CX-5 I've built 8-port "switch" with off the shelf PC and 4 dual port CX-2s, simple bridge did the rest.

    The problem is 'knowing what to look for'. Infiniband is relatively easy on copper side, but going fiber is confusing as hell. I can't imagine Joe Average researching that, and I've seen effects of wrong choices (guy bough CX-3 and QSFP DACs, another ended up with QLogic SAS expander and 100m of QSFP 40 -> 4x10 breakout cables).
    Reply

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