USB-C is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s tech world. You will find USB-C on many phones and even major gaming platforms like the Nintendo Switch. The USB-C is a much more refined USB compared to mini and micro USB options. The USB-C is more versatile and user friendly, due to the fact you can plug it in either way and it works! That is why Trendnet has taken to their new Ethernet Adapter and made it USB-C compatible. It is still rather early to adopt the USB-C format and Trendnet seems to be eager to hop into the market with its USB-C 3.1 to 5GBASE-T Ethernet Adapter. The ethernet adapter will work with anything you would typically use a USB-C cable for. Namely, the things listed above. If you use Android phones then you will likely have a USB-C port if it is new enough.
IEEE 802.3bz 2.5/5GBASE-T compliant
USB-C 3.1 connection interface
5GBASE-T supports up to 5Gbps connection speeds
2.5GBASE-T supports up to 2.5Gbps connection speeds
Compatible with existing Cat5e or better cabling
Compact design is ideal for on-the-go professionals
Supports 802.1p (CoS) and 802.1Q (VLAN)
So right out of the package, I was wondering what the main use for a USB-C ethernet adapter would be. As stated before many companies have not yet adapted to the new format and there are very few options on the market that could be compatible with the ethernet cable. The three major platforms I noticed that could be used with the adapter was my Samsung Galaxy S9, the Nintendo Switch, and a USB-C compatible laptop/PC.
*Note: I don’t own a USB-C compatible laptop/PC so I was unable to do tests with this option.
The Nintendo Switch isn’t a very powerful console but that doesn’t stop it from getting large games on the platform. That means you would want to have high download speeds and maybe even connect an ethernet cable to it to get the fastest possible results. However, Nintendo has implemented a way that the only way to get ethernet results is to buy their dedicated Ethernet cable made specifically from them. Unlike other gaming consoles, Nintendo decided to pull an Apple and make it impossible to use any other peripherals on their console except for what they produce. Therefore, the test on the switch was a bust. The Switch barely even recognized that there was something plugged into the system. The results didn’t change at all and I was still getting download speeds as if I were connected to Wifi.
Samsung Galaxy S9
After being a long time user of Apple products including their phones I decided to move to Android in want of more versatility and customization. Who knew this would put me with a USB-C charging cable that I don’t have to fiddle with too much at night to charge my phone. The newer models of Samsung and other Android phones have adopted the USB-C format and are one of the first to do it. Right now this is the only main use case I could find for the USB-C ethernet cable. This doesn’t sound great as you would be buying it for one thing but the results of my test may sway you otherwise.
The first test I did with just a wifi connection and my results were:
The second test I did was with the Trendnet 5G USB-C ethernet cable and these were my results:
While it did take a dip in the Upload speed the download speed was increased enough to warrant using this thing.
The overall design of the USB-C Ethernet cable leaves little to be desired. There isn’t much to the design but there doesn’t have to be. The main components are the big brick in which you plug your ethernet cable into and the USB-C cable which stretches only a couple inches. This thing is compact enough to take anywhere. However, when you are using it the thing can be a bit bulky especially if you are using it with your phone. I noticed the ethernet connector was heavier than my phone itself. The best-case scenario would be to use this when you are downloading something large and leave your phone there while it downloads. This isn’t a huge issue as even if the Ethernet connector wasn’t bulky you would still be limited in where you can take your phone while it’s connected.
My final thoughts on the USB-C 3.1 to 5GBASE-T Ethernet Adapter are that there is a use for this thing albeit a very small use case. If you are someone who owns a computer with a USB-C connector this is a no brainer. If you are also someone who uses their phone a bunch and isn’t getting the necessary download speeds you expect I would highly recommend this product. However, if you are buying for any other reason you may want to reconsider. That isn’t to say that this product doesn’t have a future. It has a very bright future. With the release of new gaming consoles and other tech, we will likely see an increase in the use of the USB-C cable.