If you are like me, and find it frustrating that you can only connect two Thunderbolt devices (unless they are daisy-chained) to your Macbook Pro, even on a 15″ one, you have two external screens, but you want gigabit ethernet, so you either have to sacrifice a Thunderbolt port and second display, or fork out for an expensive display that can be daisy-chained. Or alternatively, find a HDMI capable external display to use the HDMI port, or a Thunderbolt dock that has built in gigabit ethernet. All viable options, but none is really cost effective while maintaining dual external displays.
I personally think it is crazy that Apple have not made their USB ethernet adapter USB 3.0 and gigabit ethernet capable. I do understand that when there is a Thunderbolt one it may not be necessary for everyone, but for me. It’s nuts. I either have one screen, or I have 100mbit ethernet. Neither of these is ideal either.
Coming at the same price or cheaper than Apple’s USB2.0 and Thunderbolt adapters, the D-Link is a viable option. It is listed as compatible with both Windows and OS X so should not be a problem to use.
Opening the box, it is a marginally larger device than Apple’s version, but not by much, and definitely not by enough to make any real significant difference to usability.
It does feel lighter though, and where the USB end enters the device it has some movement making it feel and sound loose. Or at least this was the case on the one I purchased.
I hooked it up, plugged everything in, and nothing happened. The Apple USB/ethernet adapter is plug and play on a Mac. It turns out though that the D-Link Dub-1312 is not, drivers are required. At the time of writing you can download the latest version of the drivers from the D-Link website here. Be aware that a reboot is required after installation.
That said, I ran the install with the D-Link Dub-1312 hooked up and it started working as soon as it got to the screen asking me to reboot. It’s now been running for two days without rebooting it, though the dialogue window is still asking me to do so.
It came with most of the usual suspects in the box, warranty card, quick install guide, a GPL code statement, and a driver CD. I thought the CD quite ironic since I would say that most people purchasing one of these USB to gigabit ethernet adapters probably don’t have an optical disc drive, but I guess their bases are covered just in case.
After a couple of days of use I’ve been finding the speeds to be comparable to Apple’s Thunderbolt to gigabit ethernet adapter. Stability seems to be fine and I have not noticed any dropouts or problems.
All in all, it seems like a good product that provides a good speed ethernet connection via USB without taking away from the limited Thunderbolt real estate. It does feel a little bit cheap, but that doesn’t seem to impact it’s ability to do the job well.
So if you are chasing something that does the job well without adding much weight to your laptop bag, you can pick one of these up from Amazon using my referral link earlier in the article, or most decent computer stores.