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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  • Vatharian - Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - link

    I think the main thing about fiber is that it's too confusing for normal consumer.

    You clearly know what you've been searching for, knew about (in point: cheapest place to get DACs and fiber), and most of all - you're probably going to just throw the fibers over the floor.

    From average Joe's perspective if you search for fiber cables you're being presented with offers in hundreds of dollars for few meters cables. Mr Joe Average won't know the difference between QSFP, SFP, SFP+ and external SFF8087, and is likely to end up with a stack of unusable hardware and regret of his venture (actually I met two such Joes). I get it that some people think that dropping Cat 6A cable in place of Cat5 into 1G network will magically upgrade it to 10G, but without proper research it's basically impossible to shoot for adapting SFP+ at home. On a side note, Mellanox is unknown to average consumer, so another thing to 'just know'.

    Valantar has a point: it's impossible to actually cut and terminate fiber at home. You can trim BaseT wherever you want, and put it in the wall. You simply cannot snap pair of pigtails to off-the-roll fiber with $4 Walmart cable crimping tool. I'm remodeling my apartment now and I WILL drop fiber in the wall, but I have a friend who can borrow proper equipment from his work - local telco.
  • cpwrunner - Thursday, March 28, 2019 - link

    I just did a home renovation, and yes terminating fiber is expensive, but I had my contractors run terminated fiber along with the unterminated stuff as well as cat5e. I believe it was OM3 Multimode LC terminated fiber. Available from or even from amazon. Spools of unterminated fiber can be obtained in less than 3 days, though I do not actually know how well it works because fortunately I have not had to use it yet. The terminated fiber got scratched up a bit, but guess what, it totally worked and the terminated fiber is highly available and cheap. I am sure that in 5 years time some mouse in the wall will chew threw it or something, but at least with three cables in the walls per outlet I should be fine for 20 years at least. I have one of the netgear nbase-t switches with 1 sfp+ port and 10 RJ45s. For the first few months the networking actually stunk, but that was because there was an extra switch in the setup which was causing a loop, but once I removed the extra piece of networking equipment, the setup became rock solid. My wife can have a remote desktop citrix session into her office open for days at a time without a disconnection. Before removing the redundant piece of equipment she could not last more than an hour.
  • Vatharian - Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - link

    10G is mainly reserved for enterprise hardware, and nothing's gonna change anytime soon, until there is actual incentive for businesses to upgrade FROM 10G. 400G introduction and 25/40G getting cheaper might push it, but just barely.
    I've built 10G 'switch' by dropping four $15 Mellanox dual port SFP+ cards into cheapo motherboard with Core i3 I got off eBay. Total cost: $160. I won't claim it performs on par with actual switch (hence quotes), because it doesn't but it's totally cheaper, and enough for home networking and homelabbing to some degree.

    Honestly premium over 1GbE is ridiculous in comparison to 100 Mbps/1Gbps transition.

    On top of that we are being fed artificial 2/2.5/5Gbps standard which is exactly as expensive as full 10G (or more), has zero support in Enterprise world, and honestly has same relevance to real world as if mobile equipment manufacturers introduced update for EDGE standard today to make it twice as fast.
  • abufrejoval - Saturday, March 23, 2019 - link

    Buffalo sells NBase-T 8 and 12 port switches that use Aquantia chipsets inside (3x4 or 2x4). I've been using a 12 port for about a year now as my home-lab backbone. At less than $100/port they are slightly cheaper than the corresponding Aquantia 10Gbit NICs, which I consider rather reasonable.

    I had to do a bit of hacking to make it as quiet as the workstations: Unfortunately 10GBase-T can use significant PHY power and at 12 ports that sums up to around 40 Watts peak they need to design for, even if Green Ethernet is enabled all around for much lower average consumption.

    Nothing 50 additional bucks for a bigger chassis and a quieter fan couldn't fix, but that market must be even more niche, which is why I hacked Noctua fans into the chassis.
  • a351must2 - Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - link

    heh, "a bit of hacking" ... I have an 8-port Buffalo that I cut a 4.5" hole in the top and mounted a externally powered 120mm fan on it. Fans that came with it drove me nuts in minutes.
  • sorten - Thursday, March 21, 2019 - link

    Not sure where or when I would need such a product. Through (almost) no fault of my own, I have worked for 3 tech companies over the past 18 months and none of them even had 1GbE networks. I guess if you're working as a content creator and need to get massive files across the network this would be useful. For home and average work this is of little use.
  • flyingpants265 - Thursday, March 21, 2019 - link

    Gigabit is essential if you have a home server, or transfer files to and from other computers. Unless you want a single blu-ray or game file transfer to take 34 minutes. No need to transfer over USB sticks like an ape. Also, I used to have mysterious problems getting the 12MB/s out of my 100mbit network, gigabit helps. A gigabit switch is $17. It should have been standard on routers a long time ago.
  • rtho782 - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    The issue with this is that there is no such thing as a 2.5g switch.

    If I'm going to buy a 10G switch I might as well use 10G nics given that it's the switch that is the expensive bit.

    I could achieve 2G with teaming if I could be bothered to run another cable between my main switch and my server switch.
  • azazel1024 - Friday, March 22, 2019 - link

    Netgear and a few others have a couple of offerings that have mixed port setups. I forget all of the options out there, but IIRC Netgear has a switch that has two 5GbE ports, 4 2.5GbE ports and 4 GbE ports. IMHO that would be my minimum as a core switch.

    It would allow me to do 5GbE between my desktop and my server. It would then allow me to connect up my router and an access point at 2.5GbE and leave me with a pair of 2.5GbE for other stuff. Like connecting to a secondary switch or something where most of the other stuff is hooked up in my house.

    I am moving shortly, but my current house is running GbE only stuff. But I have roughly 23 ports throughout my house. Some of that is because I have dual drops for LAG/SMB multichannel in a couple of rooms. 2.5/5GbE would allow me to not need LAG/SMB multichannel. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't still put in a couple of drops in some locations in my next house just for a bit of future proofing.

    Anyway, it looks like stuff is FINALLY starting to move to 2.5/5GbE. A couple of wireless routers finally have support for 2.5GbE. And it'll be needed for best case scenarios with the new 802.11ax gear. Not much in the way of clients running 3:3 802.11ac. However, I've tested newer Intel 2:2 chipsets and under fairly optimal conditions I can push ~80MB/sec same room performance. Theoretical limit with encoding is around 85MB/sec for 80MHz 802.11ac 2:2.

    With 802.11ax increasing encoding rate and more likely to actually find gear that can do 160MHz, you are looking at more like a theoretical maximum of about 200MB/sec for 160MHz 802.11ax 2:2.

    I am sure it'll be a long time before anyone sees that. However, in MU:MIMO networks and clients it isn't unreasonable, even with 802.11ac 80MHz that you might see some edge cases where clients are demanding +/- 120MB/sec, which is right at the limit of 1GbE.

    I doubt I'll actually NEED 2.5GbE on an AP/wifi router any day soon. But it would be nice to have the ability and as 802.11ax routers/APs and clients started rolling out in earnest there will be a lot more use cases where the wired backbone is going to be the limitation if it is only 1GbE.
  • abufrejoval - Saturday, March 23, 2019 - link

    Teaming doesn't increase point-to-point bandwidth unless you have the software to set up and sustain multiple connections as well as the proper NIC, switch and driver support.

    I've tried and learned the hard way. Should have simply thought it through, but there you go...

    Now there may be switch-to-switch trunking protocols which actually spread packets across lines, but that's switch software stuff that is likely proprietary.

    I've given up on digging deeper now that actually reaching 10Gbit on the connected machines is the bigger challenge, at least in the home lab.

    In the datacenter I have much less trouble filling 100Gbit pipes.

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