What's the difference between Thunderbolt to gigabit ethernet and USB to Ethernet?

Just curious what the difference is between the two adapters and which one I need to buy for a standard network

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3 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    If you own a Macintosh Computer with a Thunderbolt port, then I recommend the Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter because it has Gigabit speeds and works on a standard network.

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  • USB2 has a theoretical maximum speed of 480Mbs so the USB2 adapter can't support gigabit ethernet while the thunderbolt one can. If you're happy with 10/100 base-T networking go for the USB, otherwise you'll need the thunderbolt or a 3rd party USB3 - gigabit adapter (assuming your machine has USB3)

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  • ThunderBolt to Gigabit Ethernet has the ability to run at Gigabit speeds. This can improve computer-to-computer transfer speeds, including computer to Network-Attached-Storage (NAS) devices. But unless your Internet connection speed is faster than 100Base-T, you will not be able to take advantage of that extra speed on the Internet right away. It may be useful in the future if your Internet connection speed increases.

    USB2 to Ethernet adapters are limited (by USB2 speeds) to 100Base-T as their top speed. This is not a limiting factor for most Internet connections today, but may slow computer-to-computer or computer-to-NAS traffic. It is NOT a limiting factor for most Network Printers and Scanners.

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