The TRENDnet TUC-ET5G USB-C 3.1 to 5GBASE-T Ethernet Adapter turns a USB port of your computer into a LAN port. That’s no novelty; there are many network USB adapters on the market.
What makes this one different is the fact it can deliver up to 5Gbps speeds. If you have a faster-than-Gigabit router — such as the Netgear RAX120 — or a multi-gig switch, this adapter will bring the ultra-fast wired connection to your computer’s end. All you need to do is plug it in.
In al, thanks to the ease of use and the ultra-fast performance, the TRENDnet TUC-ET5G has enough to justify its current hefty price of $120. By the way, there’s also a 2.5Gbps version, the TUC-ET2G, that can be had for $55.
TRENDnet TUC-ET5G USB-C 3.1 to 5GBASE-T Ethernet Adapter
TRENDnet TUC-ET5G: Bulky design, embedded software
The TUC-ET5G is about double the physical size of most Gigabit USB adapters. It’s not super huge but big enough to be a bit cumbersome if you want to carry it with a laptop. On a desktop, though, its 5-inch long attached USB cable means it won’t get in the way of other devices. And the adapter has an excellent excuse to be chunky.
Indeed, the TUC-ET5G includes software drivers within itself in the form of an embedded CD ROM that appears the first time you plug the adapter into a Windows computer.
This CD ROM contains the software driver for Windows 7, 8, and 10. (Mac users will need to download the software from TRENDnet’s website). Subsequently, once you have installed the driver, the CD ROM no longer appears or accessible. This type of self-contained software makes the adapter super handy.
What’s not so handy, though, is the TUC-ET5G’s plastic housing. It catches dust and retains fingerprints too easily.
TRENDnet TUC-ET5G: USB 3.0 speed, CAT5e compatible
The TUC-ET5G features USB 3.0 (or 3.1 Gen 1) that caps at 5Gbps. It uses USB-C to connect to a host computer, but you can use an adapter (not included) to use it with any regular USB port. Yes, it works with a USB 2.0 port, too, but, as expected, at much slower speeds. (USB 2.0 caps at just 480Mbps, or less than half the rate of Gigabit.)
The adapter doesn’t require a special network cable. Instead, it works with CAT5e in my testing — quite an interesting fact since it’s a general idea that the CAT5e cabling caps at 1Gbps. As it turned out, I was able to get 5Gbps via CAT5e quite easily, using the adapter. And the TUC-ET5G also works with CAT6 and better cabling.
TRENDnet TUC-ET5G vs. TRENDnet TUC-ET2G: Hardware specifications
The TRENDnet TUC-ET2G USB-C 3.1 to 2.5GBASE-T Ethernet Adapter is a lesser version of the TUC-ET5G. It’s slightly smaller, cost less than half the price and caps at half the speed (2.5Gbps). Other than that, the two are essentially the same.
|Network standards||IEEE 802.1p, IEEE 802.1Q, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE 802.3x, IEEE 802.3ab, IEEE 802.3az, IEEE 802.3bz||Same|
|USB interface||USB-C 3.1 Gen 1|
|Network interface||1 x 5GBase-T port (5Gbps/2.5Gbps/1Gbps/100Mbps)||1 x 2.5GBASE-T port (2.5Gbps/1Gbps/100Mbps)|
|Features||Energy saving technology, Wake on LAN (suspend mode)||Same|
|Dimensions||3.74 x 1.37 x 0.64 in. (91 x 35 x 16.5mm)||3.3 x 1.25 x 0.51 in (84 x 32 x 13mm)|
|Cable length||4.9 in (12.6cm)||4.9 in (12.6cm)|
|Weight||1.7 oz (50g)||1.05 oz. (30g)|
|Compatibility||Windows 10, 8.1, 7 / MacOS 10.13.5, 10.13.6||Same|
Fast speed, runs hot
I tested the TUC-ET5G and the TUC-ET2G using a Netgear RAX120 router and a 10Gbps switch, and they both delivered their cap speeds. Both adapters can also work at 1Gbps when used with regular Gigabit switches and routers.
One thing to note, however, both adapters got pretty hot during my testing. They were not hot enough to cook anything, but I didn’t want to hold them in my hands for longer than a few seconds. Overall, though, I was quite happy with the performances of both adapters.
The TRENDnet TUC-ET5G USB-C 3.1 to 5GBASE-T Ethernet 5Gbps network adapter (as well as the 2.5Gbps TUC-ET2G version) delivers all that TRENDnet says it will do. It’s fast and easy to use.
Considering the move to Wi-Fi 6, 5G, and Gigabit-class Internet, sooner than later, you’d want to be able to have a faster-than-gigabit wired connection. Until your computer comes with a multi-gig network port, the TRENDnet TUC-ET5G, or the TUC-ET2G, is an easy way to add super-fast wired speed to your existing equipment.