There are some occasions when WiFi isn’t practical and you need to use Ethernet . I needed an Ethernet device to help with the streaming of our podcast and looked for a low cost USB Ethernet adapter, it turns out it’s a bit of a minefield and a lot of devices on the market and not all of them will work with Windows 8.1.
The first one I tried was a cheap no brand model that is based ASIX AX88772A chipset and while it said it would work with Windows 8 it didn’t, I tried various drivers including the supplied disks without any luck.
So I tried a more expensive model (well £17) based on the ASIX AX88178 Chipset which is a Gigabit LAN adapter. It claims to work with Chromebooks, Macbook Air, selected Android tablets and Windows. I tested it on a few Windows 8.1 devices including a Toshiba Encore 8 tablet, Lenovo notebook and Acer Iconia W700 and it worked fine. I also tested on my Macbook Air which worked fine one I installed the drivers which are on the supplied CD as well as being available to download. Transfer speeds where about 10 MB/s which was slightly faster than the on board network port on my test PC. It supports suspend mode, wake on lan and Jumbo packets when running under Windows. It doesn’t support Windows RT, I tried it on my Surface 2 and the device installed but the adapter didn’t work.
Here are the full set of features:
- USB 2.0 male A to RJ45 female adapter supporting 10/100/1000 Ethernet at USB 2.0 speeds (480Mbs)
- Driverless operation with all Chromebooks, some Android Tablets (including ASUS Transformer Prime / Infinity tablets), and Linux 3.3+
- Drivers for Mac OS X 10.6+, Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP. Not Wii compatible
- For adding a wired network interface to a wireless-only system, replace a bad port, for higher performance, or for peer-peer use
- ASIX AX88178 Controller and Realtek RTL8211CL PHY – Jumbo packets up to 9KB on Windows. Suspend mode and remote wakeup
So it works, network speeds are acceptable and it’s reasonably prices at £17 on Amazon.