USB Ethernet Adapter not working after macOS Catalina 10.15 Update? We can help!

Synopsis

The installation of macOS 10.15 Catalina will disable older drivers for some devices and devices which rely on these drivers will no longer function until a compatible driver is reinstalled. Most Plugable products are not affected by this, with the exception of our USB Ethernet adapters that use ASIX Gigabit Ethernet chips (models: USBC-E1000, USB3-E1000, and USB2-E1000).

For instructions on how to restore functionality of your ASIX-based Plugable Ethernet Adapter after updating to macOS 10.15 Catalina, you can jump right to our step-by-step instructions here:
ASIX driver installation guide for macOS Catalina

For those who’d like more detail about the underlying behavior, keep reading!

Background

macOS 10.15 (Catalina), is nearly here, and with it come some new Application and driver requirements. For additional details about the new DriverKit model and the transition to 64-bit application requirements, check out our other Catalina blog posts here and here.

While these are positive changes for the Mac ecosystem, the new driver requirements in Catalina will take time to get used to for some driver developers. In the short term some products will have a less user-friendly installation process as driver developers adapt to these changes. The vast majority of Plugable products that work in previous versions of macOS will continue to do so without incident in Catalina. However, USB Ethernet adapters (from Plugable and others) that use ASIX chips can pose the following challenges:

  1. Drivers that worked for users in macOS 10.14 and earlier will no longer function after updating to macOS 10.15 Catalina until updated, compatible drivers are installed
  2. Attempting to reinstall an older driver version will trigger a message stating: “The installation failed. The installer encountered an error that caused the installation to fail. Contact the software manufacturer for assistance.”
  3. The updated macOS 10.15-compatible beta driver from ASIX has a persistent on-screen dialog box which makes the driver installation more challenging than usual

This message occurs when trying to install drivers incompatible with 10.15

Because of challenges with the beta ASIX driver installation process in 10.15, we will not be officially recommending our ASIX-based Gigabit Ethernet adapters on macOS Catalina until ASIX has developed an updated driver version with a less cumbersome installation process. Note that these challenges all pertain to software; the hardware remains compatible. This includes the following USB to Ethernet adapters models: USB3-E1000, USBC-E1000 and USB2-E1000. Apple is expected to release the final version of macOS Catalina, on or around Friday October 4, 2019.

Installation Instructions

Below are a download link and step-by-step instructions documenting driver installation and the macOS Gatekeeper approval process for our USB3-E1000 and USBC-E1000 adapters, which both use the ASIX AX88179 chipset.

USB3-E1000 & USBC-E1000 AX88179 macOS 10.15 Catalina Drivers v2.15.0 Beta 1 – 10/01/2019

(The process should be the same for the USB2-E1000 based on the AX88178 chip, though this adapter uses a different driver version, found here: USB2-E1000 AX88178 macOS Catalina Drivers v2.3.0)

Step 1: After downloading, open the folder downloaded and run the AX88179_178A_v2.15.0_beta1.pkg file

Step 2: This window will open for the installation process. Please continue through the process as guided by the installer.

Step 3: During this process, you will be asked to input your account password to allow the installation to continue, please do so and click “Install Software” to continue.

Step 4: You’ll be prompted with this message below stating that the extension cannot be loaded. Please note, clicking OK, won’t actually start the driver installation. When you click OK, the message will pop up continually.

Step 5: Click and drag this error dialog box out of the way, while keeping it on your monitor for later access (do not close this dialog box). Now, please go to the Apple Menu (on the toolbar at the top of your screen) > System Preferences. When System Preferences opens, visit Security & Privacy > General tab. Here, we see the extension signature listed but cannot allow it to install yet. Please click on the lock at the bottom as we need to allow the process for Gatekeeper.

Step 6: You’ll be prompted for your password, please enter it to unlock the option to Allow the extension to install

Step 7: After unlocking the options with your password, click the button to “Allow” the installation of the extension

Step 8: Now you have permission to open the package for installation. Please click, OK on the System Extension notification you moved out of the way which will close the window this time, and allow the installation to begin

Step 9: Now, the installation has begun

Step 10: Installation complete. Now that everything is finished, go ahead and click Restart

Step 11: You’ll be asked if you want to move the installer package into the trash. This is up to you, and won’t affect the installation process. Please note, once you pick an option your Mac will restart

Final Step: After installation and restarting you may wish to turn off your WiFi temporarily while you check the connection. Go into System Preferences > Network, and you should see the wired adapter with a green, connected status! (Please note, your network information will show up here)

FAQ

I have this adapter, and it no longer works after the Catalina update. What are my options?
Installing an updated version of the ASIX drivers will restore functionality. Click here for step-by-step instructions

Has Apple disabled support for ASIX-based network adapters?
No, Apple has not disabled support for these products. But the currently-available drivers from ASIX have an installation process which doesn’t meet our requirements for ease of use for our customers.

Are adapters from other brands affected by the Catalina update as well?
Yes, the latest macOS Catalina update will affect any adapters with ASIX chipsets as drivers are not included in macOS and require installation by all customers upgrading to Catalina

Will users who upgrade to Catalina with the older ASIX drivers installed get an error message?
Unfortunately, no, the drivers will silently fail to load and no error messages will be presented to any user of incompatible drivers.

What happens if I try to install older drives on Catalina now that I’ve updated?
The installation process will attempt to go through, but will ultimately fail with the following message: “The installation failed. The installer encountered an error that caused the installation to fail. Contact the software manufacturer for assistance.”

We do apologize for any inconvenience, and are here to help. If you have any additional questions, please let us know in the comments below, or reach out to us directly at: support@plugable.com.

5 comments on “USB Ethernet Adapter not working after macOS Catalina 10.15 Update? We can help!”

  1. Thanute Reply

    I downloaded your link but I can’t install. It will say that the file can’t be verified. Is there anyway to solve this issue? Btw, am using MBP15 2016 model

    • Derek Nuzum Reply

      Thanks for your post! Once you have opened the zip file, please right-click on the .PKG installer file and hold the ALT/Option key down, then left-click the Open option to force the installer to run. If you are still unable to open the file, please send a message to support@plugable.com and we’d be happy to help!

  2. Anna Reply

    Hi

    I did all steps, but after restart there is nothing in my network window, only wifi.

    • Kevin Reply

      Hello Anna,

      Thanks for reaching out to us! I do apologize for any trouble you’ve had, and I am here to help. If you would, please write directly to us at: support@plugable.com so we can help you troubleshoot this. It would be helpful to get a diagnostic of your computer while the adapter is plugged in.

      If you would, please plug the adapter in normally and connect to Ethernet. Then, please run our handy diagnostic tool at the following link: https://plugable.com/support/plugdebug/.

      A zipped folder with the results will be placed on your desktop after running the tool. If you would, please attach the diagnostic results when you email us with subject line: Ticket #284979.

      Thank you, and we hope to hear back from you soon!

      Kevin
      Plugable Support

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