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Basically I want to be able to attach USB 3.0 external portable hard drives to my network and maintain at least gigabit speeds.

I can think of four ways to do this, two of which I know exist:

1) NAS - get an NAS which features USB 3.0 and gigabit

2) Gigabit router with a USB 3.0 port

and I want to know if these two exist:

3) gigabit switch (multiple gigabit ports) with at least one USB 3.0 port

4) USB 3.0 to gigabit adapter

The gigabit adapter would be similar to this: http://www.addonics.com/products/nas30u2.php except that that is only USB 2.0 so it is not true gigabit, as gigabit is 125MBps but USB 2.0 is only 60MBps, so that adapter only has a maximum transfer speed of 60MBps and the "gigabit" is practically useless.

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That "gigabit adapter" you link as an example of #4 is a NAS. It's even called 'NAS 3.0'. :) Why do you need #3 or #4 anyway? What's wrong with 1 and 2? What problem are you actually facing, and why aren't those first two viable solutions? –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jun 9 '12 at 1:46
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2 Answers 2

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You can't directly adapt USB to Ethernet. It's not just a matter of electrical signaling; the protocols are completely different. You need something like a NAS, which runs software that knows how to talk on a network and knows how to talk to USB storage devices.

The gigabit Ethernet support on that NAS you linked to isn't entirely useless, btw. It may not get you the full speed that gigabit Ethernet is capable of, but it's much faster than 100mbit Ethernet would be.

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you're right, it is almost 5x faster than 100mbps ethernet, allowing up to 60MBps of USB 2.0 vs the only 12.5MBps of 100mbps ethernet. –  techaddict Jun 9 '12 at 1:55
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Products such as these convert two USB 2.0 connectors to Gigabit

I noticed that Asix just released a USB 3 to Gigabit chip, so a matter of time before this is taken up in an adapter.

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