Plugable Launches Low-Cost 2.5 GbE USB Dongle: $30 for a Limited Timeby Anton Shilov on March 26, 2020 6:00 PM EST
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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