If I use a USB to Ethernet converter, plugged in to a USB port, will I get the same network speeds as using a regular Ethernet port?

USB3 is 5000mbps, so as long as I run the converter off a USB3 port I should be able to get normal network speeds.

Does this seem correct or am I missing something?

  • Just because USB 3.0 can achieve that bandwidth (under ideal conditions) doesn’t mean the network interface chip can handle it. Especially with smaller Ethernet packets, you will probably find that throughput is slower than expected. – Daniel B Nov 23 '17 at 10:43
  • Technically I think the RJ-45 socket can be used up to 10Gbps Ethernet, which is faster than USB3, but TBH what are the chances you're encountering that? That's typically used to connect a server to a server-class switch in the same server rack. – MSalters Nov 23 '17 at 12:32
  • @MSalters The RJ-45 socket type itself is used for that application, yes, but you will not find a 10Gbps enabled RJ-45 socket on a desktop or laptop computer almost anywhere. A single 10Gbps port costs more than some entire computers. Even SATA-6G isn't that fast. – J... Nov 23 '17 at 13:35

Yes, you should be able to. But to make sure, look for a review of the adapter you plan to buy on the same operating system you plan to use.

  • I've had good luck with AX88179-based products on both Windows and Linux. – user1686 Nov 23 '17 at 11:13
  • @grawity And they're available as cheap as $15. – David Schwartz Nov 23 '17 at 11:27

Bulk throughput could be the same depending on the adapter and should probably be withing say 90%, but in my experience it does has more of an effect of slightly increasing latency, which can in turn influence throughput as well.

If you have a good adapter and a USB3.0 is reasonable as well, it should not make a significant difference for most use cases. Remember though that USB3.0 is known to interfere with 2.4GHz radios, so once again, a quality adapter (and notebook) with good shielding is recommended if you wish to use Bluetooth or wireless dongles.


Another option if your new laptop has a Thunderbolt port would be something like Apple’s Thunderbolt to Ethernet Adapter. This would consumer less resources than the USB equivalent as it’s effectively a PCI bus.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.