13 USB 3.0 gigabit adapters review: lifelines

Fast cabled connections


Test and the test range

As we mentioned before, we tested a total of 13 different gigabit adapters with a USB 3.0 connection and at least one gigabit Ethernet port. The line-up is: D-Link DUB-1312, Edimax EU-4306, Eminent EM1017, Ewent EW1140, Microsoft Surface Ethernet Adapter, Sitecom LN-032, TP-Link UE300 and additionally five Startech.com models - US1GC301AU2R, US1GC30W, USB31000S, USB31000SA and finally, USB31000SPTB.

All but two, have a flat type A USB connection and the two exceptions are US1GC301AU2R and the US1GC30W have a type C connection. The Ewent EW110 has three extra USB ports and the Startech.com USB31000SPTB has one.

Test method

In our test we used the IxChariot by Ixia which we use for measuring of all network speeds. We measure the speeds between two end-points both in one direction and full duplex. The IxChariot is installed on a (Microsoft Hyper-V) virtual machine on our test server.

We run the test on an Intel Core i3 4370 CPU laptop with 16GB of RAM. Next up, we cross-cable connect the adapter directly to the server. The server is based on an AMD Phenom X965-processor with 8 GB of RAM and equipped with an Intel X540-T2 NIC and a PCI-Express 10 gigabit adapter with two ports. These ports are fast enough to get the most out of the gigabit adapter.

We used a good Ethernet cable of CAT6, even though CAT5 would have been enough too. It is normally used for 10 gigabit connections. If you would be looking to install network cables in your own house, this would be a safe and future-proof choice.

We also made an educated decision to use a direct connection and eliminate any performance interference that a switch would give. However fast a switch you may have, it will still leave its mark on the throughput speed.

All measurements are done three times. Firstly, we look at how fast the adapters receive and send information. Secondly, we look at how fast the data gets sent simultaneously as in a real-life network access situation, the so-called Full Duplex. Both the results you can find below.

These adapters get a lot to chew on as we have selected the heaviest profile available within the IxChariot – the TCP High Performance Throughput script. It is clear that you should expect a very consistent performance from the cabled network connection.

Both the Startech.com USB C adapters were also tested with the Windows OS HP Zenbook Studio laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 connection and with a MacBook Pro 13 inch running MacOS X to establish compatibility. With MacOS X we had to get drivers from the Startech.com website to be able to use the adapter, while within Windows it was a case of plug-and-play.

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