Plugable became the latest peripheral manufacturer this week to begin manufacturing 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet dongles with the release of its adapter. Designed to add support for higher network speeds to PCs with USB 3.0 Type-A and Type-C ports, Plugable is pushing hard on the “cheap” aspect of the network adapter, launching it for just $ 30.
Like most other 2.5GbE adapters we’ve seen to date, the 2.5G Plugable USB Ethernet adapter (USBC-E2500) is based on Realtek’s RTL8156 controller, which supports 2.5 GBASE-T and earlier versions, all on standard Cat5e cables. The Realtek chip supports features like the Jumbo 9k frame frame, automatic MDI-X (crossover detection and correction) and IEEE 802.1Q VLAN. Since some of these features require operating system support, the dongle comes with drivers for Apple MacOS (10.12 and later), Microsoft Windows 7/8/10 and Linux (kernel 3.2).
Meanwhile, recognizing that the whole industry is in the middle of a transition from USB Type A to USB Type C, the USB-C native USB 2.5G Plugable Ethernet adapter comes with a USB-C to USB-A adapter that it is conveniently tied to the dongle cable. For USB dongles that even care about taking both types of ports into account, we normally see vaguely packaged adapters, so this is an interesting choice that should make the adapter much more difficult to lose. Otherwise, the device is made of plastic and looks quite small, so it should be light and very easy to carry.
The USB 2.5G Plugable Ethernet adapter is now available directly from the company and major retailers. The official sale price of the device is $ 39.99, but for a limited period the product will be available for $ 29.99 from Amazon under the code 25ETHERNET. The adapter has been released in the United States, the United Kingdom, the EU, Australia, Canada and Japan.
With the COVID-19 outbreak and work from domestic initiatives applied around the world, this may not be the best time to introduce 2.5G Ethernet dongles intended primarily for offices. Nonetheless, we are happy to see the continued proliferation of faster Ethernet controllers and dongles – and we hope the cheaper network switches will catch up soon.