Ethernet/Firewire to USB adapters

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Dreamkatcha, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Dreamkatcha macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2003
    Manchester, England

    Has anyone tried expanding the number of USB ports on their Mini using ethernet or Firewire adapters? Did it work and is it advisable in terms of power draw? I was just thinking it would be good to make use of those empty ports rather than using a separate, powered USB hub.

    I read in the specs for one ethernet adapter that you'd need to connect a separate power supply to the USB device which would defeat the purpose, but I don't know if they're all the same.
  2. johnhurley macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    I don't know why anyone would buy a usb ethernet adapter that required a separate power supply.

    You can buy for about 30 bucks at the apple store a usb ethernet adapter or for a little less pick one of a wide variety. Most I think as asix chipsets and most do have mac drivers available of course buying the apple one makes it work out of the box without doing any additional configuration.
  3. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    I think he's looking for the opposite: Ethernet to USB adapter. i.e. not a USB device you plug in to get an ethernet jack, but rather an ethernet device that provides more USB ports. Except I am not sure such a device exists.

    I think the best solution is to just get a USB hub. If you intelligently distribute your devices among the ports/hubs, you can combine all the low-bandwidth devices onto one channel and leave another channel open for high bandwidth devices like HDDs. Or, plug your devices in such that the ones that will get used simultaneously get put on separate channels, etc. Alternatively, if you have a lot of high bandwidth devices like HDDs, consider moving some of them to the FW800 channel.

  4. Detrius macrumors 68000

    Sep 10, 2008
    Asheville, NC
    So far as I'm aware, these don't exist. However, since Thunderbolt is PCIe, you should be able to find Thunderbolt to USB adapters at some point.
  5. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    They exist. I bought one today. They are fraught with problems though. Belkin made one that was temperamental at best and superseded with another USB to ethernet hub with added wireless facility. I have both and they both suck. Printers attach, some usb flash drives work. Scanners sometimes are recognised and you can forget usb hard drives unless they are powered separately. Their main drawback is that the ethernet is only 10/100, so transfer speeds suffer. Both also have a hefty 2A power adapter.

    Iomega also makes a usb to ethernet hub, but I have not tried that. I bought a no-name usb to gigabit hub today, but the power adapter on that is DOA and it needs to go back, so no idea if it is any better.

    The belkin devices are as follows:

    Belkin Home Hub

    Belkin Network USB Hub

    The Iomega device is:

    Iomega iConnect

    What I bought today

    4 USB gigabit ethernet server
  6. Dreamkatcha thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2003
    Manchester, England
    Thanks for all the informative replies everyone. I do already have a powered USB hub connected, but was curious to see if I could manage without it to cut down on some of the clutter.

    All the devices I have plugged in are low powered and only occasionally used e.g. a camera cable and joypad so I doubt they would overload any ports I converted to USB if they would work at all. By the sounds of it I'd be asking for unnecessary headaches so you've made my mind up, thanks.
  7. MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    Some fascinating products there, I'm almost tempted to buy one. :)

    However, these really are servers rather than a simple bridge. Way too much complexity then creates the sort of flakiness you describe. Even the Belkin products drivers are still at the first version released with the device.

    I'm not sure a "simple bridge" is really possible or manufacturers are too interested in adding features (DLNA servers, SAMBA etc) which make them more prone to problems. Either way, a driver is still needed an since there doesn't seem to be a standard protocol to handle it, you're at the mercy of the manufacturer's ability to write decent drivers. :eek:

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