Dumb question...what type of cable do I need for ethernet?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Tallgrl230, May 23, 2019.

  1. Tallgrl230 macrumors newbie

    Tallgrl230

    Joined:
    May 16, 2019
    #1
    I'd like to connect directly to the modem/router with an ethernet but a cable for this didn't come with my Macbook Air. It looks like there are several types of adapters I could buy but I want to make sure it works with my MBA (2017 version). I have the little port with the lightning bolt image next to it. Would REALLY appreciate if someone could send me a link to buy a simple adapter without bells and whistles.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Shirasaki macrumors G3

    Shirasaki

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    May 16, 2015
    #2
  3. HDFan macrumors 65816

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    Jun 30, 2007
    #3
    You don't have access to WiFi? Ethernet ports are becoming the exception these days on portables. If you are spending money for an adapter you might want to consider a dock that gives you more options.
     
  4. Bazza1 macrumors member

    Bazza1

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    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #4
    In the Gigabit range of internet (in my case 500 Mbps), I found that that hardwired was significantly faster than by Wi-Fi - so if I'm paying for that speed, I should get it!
    If you're talking about slower (say, 40 - 50 Mbps), then Wi-Fi will probably keep up just fine. And if you're taking about that sort of speed, then Apple's USB Ethernet adapter works just fine for hardwired.
     
  5. HDFan macrumors 65816

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    Jun 30, 2007
    #5
    My comment related to my surprise at finding that ethernet ports on laptops are now the exception. Only 15 out of the 69 laptops I found at Best Buy have ethernet connectors.

    Yeah, if your wireless router is slow then results will be poor. But if you have a fast wireless router:

    IMG_172F22A0FE78-cropped.jpg
     
  6. Shirasaki macrumors G3

    Shirasaki

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    May 16, 2015
    #6
    Both are big if, and I have confidence that more user will have poor wireless routers than good ones. Not many people can be bothered to shell another $200 to get another router when ISP’s router is decent enough. My home’s router can get 13MB/s LAN (wireless) up/down, which is already decent enough.
     
  7. mac_in_tosh macrumors 6502

    mac_in_tosh

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    #7
    I routinely use the Airport Base Station with my laptop, but whenever I've had internet issues my provider wanted me to take that out of the equation and connect directly to their router with ethernet. It may not be as ubiquitous as before, but ethernet is still useful to have on occasion.
     
  8. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

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    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #8
    I have the Apple Thunderbolt --> Gigabit Ethernet adapter and use it regularly at school, as ethernet is the only way to access many of the services at the school such as our faculty shared drive. The Apple one works great. See if you can find it used somewhere though; I got mine on eBay through a refurbisher/recycler called greencitizen for around $15, and it's perfect.
     
  9. dwig macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 4, 2015
    Location:
    Key West FL
    #9
    If you can use a TB3<>ethernet adapter you may be able to get faster transfers than you get with a USB 3.0<>ethernet adapter, but only if your internet speed is higher and your router supports gigabit ethernet connections.

    As an example, on our "gigabit" internet service, my iMac with its built-in gigabit gets ~900-960Mbps download and ~40Mbps upload. My MacMini with an external USB-3.0 Plugable gigabit ethernet+USB hub (the poor old Mini's internal ethernet is dead) only gets ~320-306Mbps download but gets the same ~40Mbps upload. The uploads are the same becasue that's all the faster our Comcast "gigabit internet" service supports. If your internet service is slower than ~350Mbps then a USB-3 adapter will work as well as a TB3 adapter and will likely cost less.
     
  10. Shirasaki macrumors G3

    Shirasaki

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    #10
    His MacBook does not have USB 3.0 port. Plus occupying that rarely used thunderbolt port is not a bad idea.
     
  11. dwig macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    The OP said "MBA (2017)". According to my search of Apple's support pages, the MacBook Air 2017 has 2 USB-3 ports and one Thunderbolt 2 (NOT "Thunderbolt") port. This means:
    • An adapter like the Plugable one I mentioned will work.
    • Finding an old Thunderbolt 2 adapter this day and age is getting difficult and it is mandatory that searching for one be done with the knowledge that the current Thunderbolt 3 devices aren't suitable.
     
  12. Shirasaki macrumors G3

    Shirasaki

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    May 16, 2015
    #12
    So does the USB-3 port style adapter, since this particular MacBook Air does not have any USB-C style port. I agree that USB version works better for compatibility, but making use of that thunderbolt port is always better for MacBook Air which has only two USB ports.
     
  13. dwig macrumors 6502a

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    Key West FL
    #13
    I agree that making use of the otherwise unused TB2 port is a good idea, but only if an appropriate TB2 adapter can be found at a reasonable price. The Plugable adapter that I'm using is actually a USB-3 hub combo with 3 USB-3 ports and one RJ-45 port for the Ethernet so it actually increases the number of available USB-3 ports instead of reducing them. Here's the Amazon USA link:
    https://www.amazon.com/Plugable-USB...126&s=gateway&sprefix=plugable,aps,211&sr=8-5
     
  14. Tallgrl230 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tallgrl230

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    May 16, 2019
    #14
    Omg, I appreciate all the help, but still don't know what to buy. I'm not tech savvy and some of the answers are over my head.

    Let me explain WHY I want to connect through ethernet. I have wifi signal hogging children in the house. If I'm home alone, my connection is decent through wifi, but once they get out of school my connection is so bogged down that it'll time out or tell me there is no internet access. My bedroom is the farthest from the router and my kids are all upstream from me. I get up and move next to the router sometimes but there are just too many of us using the internet at once.

    My son uses his gaming pc and phone at same time for playing games with other people. My daughter streams Netflix on her Ipad while doing whatever on the internet on her laptop. All I want to do is browse but I have to stomp through the house shouting at kids to get off the wifi continually.

    I read somewhere that I can connect directly to the router and not have to fight for a wifi signal with them. Lol, if you've ever tried to make a teenage boy quit in the middle of a game while all his buddies are playing, too, then you know my dilemma!

    BTW, I'm on AT&T DSL. We've been promised fiber here for years but nothing has been installed. I'm ready to move somewhere that has fiber!
    --- Post Merged, May 30, 2019 ---
    Thanks for the link! Are you pretty confident this will work with my Macbook Air 2017?
    --- Post Merged, May 30, 2019 ---
    Hi there, yes I have access to wifi, but I'm fighting with too many other devices in my house to get a decent connection. We only have DSL in this neighborhood so I thought connecting through ethernet would get me a better, quicker connection.
     
  15. Shirasaki macrumors G3

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #15
    And compete the internet with every single one of your child with superior stability and zero interference. Lol. ;)
    Based on the product image, it might work with your MacBook Air, though one of your USB port is constantly occupied by this hub, and the power output would probably be insufficient if you use more than one USB Hard drive.
     
  16. Tallgrl230 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Tallgrl230

    Joined:
    May 16, 2019
    #16
    I don't have anything connected to any of my ports at this time. I'd be more than happy to use this and take up a port on my MBA as I don't really need them for simple browsing. Yes, I heard I will have better access to the router with the ethernet cable and the kids can continue fighting each other for wifi signal. Like I said, I'm not tech savvy and didn't realize my son's gaming pc would kill our already overburdened wifi!! Too late to stop him now! Haha
    --- Post Merged, May 30, 2019 ---
    Charging and Expansion
    • Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps)
    • Thunderbolt 2 port (up to 20 Gbps)
    • MagSafe 2 power port
    • SDXC card slot
    • 3.5 mm headphone jack
    Looks like I have a thunderbolt 2. Is that the port I'd use?
     
  17. Shirasaki macrumors G3

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #17
    Yes. That is the port I recommend you to use, given that otherwise it is pretty niche for a lot of people. I have an older 11” MacBook Air and I never made use of that same thunderbolt port for four years, and it will likely continue to be that way in the future. This is pretty sad, so I recommend Apple’s Ethernet adapter for it.
     
  18. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #18
    Yep. Same thing here. My MBP actually included the Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter in the box, and it's literally the only thing I've ever plugged into the port.
     
  19. HDFan macrumors 65816

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    Jun 30, 2007
    #19
    What is the best speedtest result that you get (no one but you on Wifi, close to router)?

    Wiring and other changes aren't going to do anything if you have maxed out your DSL modem bandwidth.
     

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18 May 23, 2019