Plugable’s new Gigabit USB 3.0 Network adapter

Focusing on performance, power efficiency, and cross-platform support, Plugable is pleased to announce the availability of our USB3-E1000 Gigabit Ethernet adapter!

A must have for any frequent traveler with a Apple MacBook or a Windows based UltraBook lacking a built-in Ethernet port, the USB3-E1000 is designed to fit easily in a travel case with no removable cable to lose. Having a wired network adapter can be a life-saver in conference rooms and hotels with marginal WiFi coverage. Being able to use a wired connection instead of a weak wireless connection in these scenarios can drastically improve speeds. The USB3-E1000 is also a great way to add a 2nd network connection to your Windows PC for sharing an internet connection to another device.


We tested the USB3-E1000 using the open source network testing tool iperf running on a Mac Mini 6,1 connected directly to a MacBook Air 5,1. If you’d like to duplicate our tests, and avoid the command line, there’s a nice pre-compiled GUI version available here: JPerf-2.0.2.dmg. In order to isolate the adapters as completely as possible, we connected directly between two Ethernet ports, set the IP addresses manually, and ran iperf as both server and client in each direction.

To maximize speeds, your entire network (including any routers or switches, and all cabling in-between) needs to be gigabit capable.

The results:

Adapters used for this test Client/Server speed
USB3-E1000 on Mac Air to USB3-E1000 on Mac Mini
USB3-E1000 on Mac Air to onboard gigabit Ethernet on Mac Mini

These are low-level performance numbers (raw TCP/IP throughput). Real world throughput like copying a file over the network will be substantially lower due to transport overhead and any bottlenecks on the network or on either side of the transfer.

Using a tool like iperf and isolating the Ethernet adapters to a direct connection establishes a base line for data speeds. To further identify potential networking bottlenecks, introduce one network component at a time and rerun your tests to determine the delays and effect each layer of complexity has on your network.

Power Efficiency

Mobile users and power conscious consumers can rest assured they’re using minimal power thanks to the ASIX 88179’s energy saving feature set: auto cable length detection helps adjust power to accommodate for longer or shorter cable runs, IEEE 802.3az (Energy Efficient Ethernet) with lpi (low-power-idle) temporarily turns off the chip to conserve power, and IPv4/IPv6 packet Checksum Offload Engine (COE) support helps to reduce CPU load on the PC.

Cross-Platform Support

With backwards compatibility for older USB 2.0 and even USB 1.1 systems, this ASIX 88179 based adapter offers blistering performance on the latest USB 3.0 capable systems balanced with good cross platform support and backwards compatibility for older systems.

While Linux driver source code is available for Linux kernel versions 2.6 and later, compilation is required for all kernel versions before 3.3. This is a moderately complex operation not suitable for novice users.

This new USB 3.0 adapter will only work with Windows, Mac, and Linux for now. For other platforms like Android, Google’s Chrome OS, and for other devices like Tivo, Wii, etc., take a look at our Plugable USB 2.0 10/100 Adapter (ASIX AX88772 chipset), which supports many of these non-PC platforms with existing drivers already built-in to those platforms.


9 comments on “Plugable’s new Gigabit USB 3.0 Network adapter”

  1. disi Reply

    Hmm, you could get a maximum of 125MB/s (theoretical) and with USB II you get 60MB/s, on USB III that’s 625MB/s.
    Now I wonder, where do you get the data from? The internet with 10mb/s?!? Or some NAS drive with 20MB/s disc array?!?

    Don’t get me wrong, this is great but I don’t see much use yet for common people 🙂

  2. Jeff Everett Reply

    Hi Jeff-

    Thanks for posting with your comments.

    Our tests speeds are indeed in Megabits per second (Mb/s), just as ISP bandwidth is typically measured.

    While we do not claim that these are real-world internet access speeds, we are able to consistently reproduce these higher speeds by eliminating factors like additional network devices or disks. Basic, local-only TCP/IP traffic can run much closer to the USB 3.0 speed maximums, blowing away what was once possible on USB 2 connections and much faster than what is typically achievable from even the fastest SSD’s.

    I hope this helps to clarify!

    Jeff Everett
    Plugable Technologies

  3. jonny Reply

    Every single SSD is faster than GbE no matter if the GbE-If is connected via USB 3, PCIe or whatever.

  4. Jeffrey Plum Reply

    I suggest you test your internet adapters with the open source router, Pfsense. It is a BSD based software router, which can turn PCs into high performance/ highly manageable routers. Your products may give new life to systems with poor or tired onboard NICs. They may turn an Intel NUC, an ASUS BRIX or similar low power system into a very good router.

    GbE adapters either USB 2 or 3 offer more bandwidth and energy efficiency than prior standards. It is more a case of running as fast as possible on the local LAN, rather than full Official GbE speed. Your DSL, Cable, or Wifi connection may never need all the headroom GbE allows. It just means the local network can handle additional demands as they arise.

    • Joshua Henry Reply

      We are familiar with pfSense. We actually use it in our office. We found that the driver support for the ASIX chipsets used in our Ethernet adapters use was not entirely stable and we cannot recommend it at this time.

  5. hemsleyk Reply

    So if I had a mini-ITX NAS / Hyper-V server with a ton of USB 3.0 ports … I could NIC team these in lieu of spending hundreds on a 4-port gigE card?

    • Bernie Thompson Reply

      Hi Hemselyk – Yes, (if I understand correctly) and if the 4 USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapters are mapped to the Hyper-V host, and the host is the one with software capable of teaming them. Note Hyper-V can’t virtualize USB 3.0, so it wouldn’t work to map each adapter to its own Hyper-V VM (at least not in USB 3.0 mode). And note the adapter has no special software for this scenario (other than a Windows NDIS driver) .. so all the fancy Hyper-V network interface teaming stuff would have to be things baked into Windows. If you do try it and all’s well, please let us know by replying here, as we don’t test this kind of scenario! Thanks for asking!

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