Category Archives: Networking

Plugable Launches Dual Display USB 3.0 to HDMI/DVI and Ethernet Adapter for Windows (USB3-3900DHE)

With just a couple of display cables and an Ethernet cable, Plugable’s new USB3-3900DHE lets you turn your Windows tablet or laptop into a traveling productivity powerhouse.

Featuring a minimalist design that maximizes the functionality of the DisplayLink DL-3900 chip, the USB3-3900DHE is a perfect companion for any business traveler with a Windows laptop or tablet. It turns a Windows 8.1 tablet without Ethernet and video ports into a mobile multi-monitor machine. Or combine with a powered USB 3.0 hub to build a customized single-cable USB 3.0 docking solution.

Its dual-video outputs (HDMI plus DVI with a DVI to VGA adapter) and a gigabit Ethernet port are connected back to your Windows PC and powered with a single USB 3.0 cable. The DVI and HDMI outputs are completely independent — able to drive two additional monitors of any resolution up to 2048×1152 with arbitrary positioning and an extended Windows desktop across them both. The USB3-3900HE packs the single-cable docking experience you enjoy at your desk, into a compact package to take on the road and into the conference room.

DisplayLink’s drivers have been updated to take full advantage of Windows 8.1 on this adapter. New features in Windows 8.1 provide users a more traditional Windows experience, while making the most of the Modern UI Metro applications introduced in Windows 8. You can boot straight to the desktop and display your Metro applications on one screen and your desktop on another. You can even mix and match your Metro application configurations.

Improvements to the Windows taskbar and enhanced Start screen options drastically improve the Windows 8.1 experience on multiple-monitor systems. Simply adding your desktop background to the Start screen can go a long way towards alleviating the disjointed experience of Windows 8. The ability to automatically show apps on the Start screen and prioritize desktop apps can provide a much more familiar experience to users who prefer the traditional Windows Start menu.

USB graphics is “virtual” in that it uses the CPU and GPU to do all rendering. So it’s not recommended for 3D gaming or full-length movies (youtube quality is fine), and it requires a PC with 2 cores 2Ghz or better for low-latency use.

Mac users — be warned that OS X support for display over USB is currently very limited, especially for dual-head products like the USB3-3900DHE. The DisplayLink drivers are beta-grade for 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion) and alpha-grade for 10.9 (Mavericks). Due to multiple issues and limitations with dual-head displays, OS X 10.9 should be considered to support single-head display only, until DisplayLink and Apple are able to put out point releases on 10.9 in coming months.

If you have any questions at all about the product, feel free to post below or email support@plugable.com. Thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

Plugable USB 3.0 Dual-Head Graphics (DVI / VGA plus HDMI) and Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (DL3900 chipset) for Windows ... Product Details
$64.00
usb2-e1000_128

Supporting PXE over USB Deployment Scenarios for tablets and ultrabooks

Many enterprise IT admins are facing a new challenge: how to deploy and manage systems with only WiFi for networking and USB for IO ports.  As a result, we’re often asked whether our USB network adapters support PXE boot.  In short, this is the wrong question- Mu.

When designing a deployment environment where USB is your fastest or only I/O option, it is likely that using bootable USB storage devices to abstract away from the limitations of the motherboard UEFI/BIOS will be your best option for two reasons:

1. Support for booting USB mass storage class devices is class-based and ubiquitous.  Almost all modern motherboard BIOS/UEFI builds support USB mass storage class device boot. A number of minimal OS with support for accessing a network share and installing the OS via this pre-installation environment. One valid option would be to use an CD ISO to USB bootable converter program like LiLi to create a USB Bootable iPXE environment, and add the open-source 88179 driver here if you need wired and can’t boot from built-in wireless. Another would be to use Windows PE with Bootcamp drivers for Windows as discussed here on Technet forums. In either case, the key is to build support for the network driver into a USB bootable pre-installation environment.

2. Support for USB network devices is not class driver based- individual chips have notable functional differences, and as such there is no class driver for USB networking- thus, support is left to motherboard OEM’s to build support for individual networking devices into their devices- a challenging task.

For this to be possible, the BIOS/UEFI on the motherboard has to natively support the chip used in the USB network adapter- so this answer will always depend on the motherboard, and require research into both the chipset of the USB network device and then whether the UEFI/BIOS a given motherboard runs supports this chip.

The vast majority of “legacy” systems will NOT have the ability to PXE boot a USB attached adapter. On more modern systems, this functionality will vary from model to model and is NOT something we can answer with certainty, as it is effectively a question of whether the motherboard’s software has support for the chip used in the adapter.

This is much less likely to work on newer USB 3.0 networking devices than on  USB 2.0 devices, since those are based on chips that have been around longer, thus giving motherboard OEMs and the open source community time to integrate support for these USB devices into BIOS/UEFI and the alternate pre-installation environments. 

Our most widely compatible adapter, capable of 10/100 operation rather than gigabit speeds, is the AX88772 based Plugable USB 2.0 to 10/100 Fast Ethernet LAN Wired Network Adapter for Macbook, Chromebook, Windows 8 and Earlier, Surface Pro, Wii, Wii U, Linux, and Specific Android Tablets (ASIX AX88772 chipset)

For Gigabit connection speeds (although potentially lower performance than the USB3-E1000), check for support for the ASIX 88178 chip used in our, consider the Plugable USB 2.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Wired Network Adapter for Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Linux, and Specific Android Tablets (ASIX AX88178 Chipset)

While it is theoretically possible to select only hardware that has native support for booting form USB network adapters, unless you need to PXE boot regularly or are trying to integrate ultra books with SCCM or some other enterprise management system, in most deployment only scenarios it should be easier to use USB media to deploy from since it is relatively easy to setup a USB bootable pre-installation environment, and build support for the driver into the PE instead of having to investigate BIOS/UEFI support for USB network device chips before making every device purchase. Information about what chips are supported this way is virtually impossible to find outside of hands on testing.

Plugable USB 2.0 to 10/100 Fast Ethernet LAN Wired Network Adapter for Macbook, Chromebook, Windows 8.1 and Earlier,... Product Details
$12.95

Plugable USB 2.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Wired Network Adapter for Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Linux, and ... Product Details
$25.00

Wired Ethernet Connectivity for the Microsoft Surface

UPDATE 5/12/2014: The information below is out of date. Beyond Microsoft asking us to remove the driver download, this process will no longer work on Windows 8.1 due to the driver not being signed for use on Windows 8.1.

When you first plug in a USB Ethernet adapter (and network cable), the Surface will not automatically install a driver.

Microsoft has sent confusing or negative messages about supporting driver installs on Windows RT and the Microsoft Surface. It’s possible they’ll disable things in the future. But today, it turns out to be possible to get wired Ethernet connectivity on the Microsoft Surface (which is otherwise Wifi only by default) with the right hardware and a driver install.

Here’s how with the Plugable USB 2.0 10/100 Ethernet Adapter.

First, download the driver for the Plugable USB2-E100. (Filename: AX88772B_772A_772_WinRT_Driver_v3.16.0.1807.zip)[update 12/23/2012 - Microsoft has asked that this driver no longer be distributed by ASIX or adapter makers like us].

See this post for details. The rest of the instructions which follow will work on the Microsoft Surface (and perhaps other Windows RT ARM devices), if a search of the driver name above finds any available sources.

Then use the Windows Shell to uncompress the .zip file into its own folder. Later we’ll be pointing Windows at this directory from Device Manager.

You must start Windows Device Manager manually. The quickest way is by hitting the Windows-R hotkey, and run “hdwwiz.cpl” to open Windows Device Manager.

You’ll see the new Plugable USB Ethernet device marked with a yellow triangle because it has no driver installed.

Now right click on that device and select “Update Driver Software”

Searching won’t find the driver. Browse to the specific location we unzipped the driver previously.

Windows will look for the .inf file of the driver in the directory chosen. Assuming it’s there, click next to install the driver.

The driver is now installed. With the Plugable USB Ethernet adapter and cable connected, your wired network connection will come up.

Some networks (especially corporate ones) may be limited to certain MAC addresses or have other configuration issues, that are usually solvable.

Any problems? Let us know – we’ll work to help. Comment here or just email our support team at support@plugable.com (We’re in Seattle, WA / Pacific Timezone). Thanks!

Where to Buy

Plugable USB 2.0 to 10/100 Fast Ethernet LAN Wired Network Adapter for Macbook, Chromebook, Windows 8.1 and Earlier,... Product Details
$12.95