Using the Ableconn USB 3 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter with Linux

July 17, 2014
ue1Ultrabooks are slim and sleek, but they often lack Ethernet ports that allow them to connect to faster gigabit LANs.

There are also times when it would be convenient to set up a “quickie” Gigabit Ethernet port in Linux without having to power down the computer and install a network card.

And yet another scenario involves a limited 10/100 Ethernet-equipped netbook. Is there are way to connect devices to a wired gigabit LAN and enjoy faster transfer rates? Does such a device exist that is Linux-compatible?

Yes, there is, and one such device is the Ableconn Gigabit USB 3 Ethernet Adapter. This is a small adapter that plugs into any USB 2 or USB 3 port which then connects to a wired Ethernet LAN via a network cable. It operates exactly like a network interface card, and it is 100% plug-and-play compatible with Linux.

After playing with this device for a while, I have found it to be an indispensable addition to the networking arsenal.



The device arrives in a small plastic bag with nothing more than a paper quick start guide and a driver CD-ROM for Windows.


What you see is what you get. The driver CD is not needed for Linux. It’s so easy to use in Linux that I had it working and networking with another computer before I read the guide.

This is a small adapter with a silver, aluminum case. The silver metal provides a more attractive appearance. Yes, it appears to be real metal for added durability, not metal-colored plastic. However, the end pieces are plastic.



Linux Compatible

“Does it work with Linux?”

Yes! Just plug it into any USB port and go. Linux automatically takes care of the rest. I used this with Linux Mint 17 and Xubuntu 14.04 on a variety of computers (including a netbook), and all of them detected this adapter. (The installed kernel was 3.14.12.) I did not need to download or install drivers of any kind.


Linux Mint 17 detects the Ableconn USB 3 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter as ASIX Elec. AX88179.

ipconfig lists the adapter as another interface named as eth3, eth4, eth5, and so on depending upon the system. Once connected, simply treat it like any other network interface.

How Fast?

Full Gigabit Ethernet. 1000 Gbps. 90-115 MB/s. However you wish to express it. There is no loss in network speed when connected to a USB 3 port.

I transferred files and performed netcat tests at the full 115 MB/s using this device to connect computers to a gigabit LAN. It even works with a link-aggregated network. All data transfers completed successfully without the interface disappearing or dropping connections.

Of course, the USB port is the limiting factor. Even though this is a USB 3 device, it will transfer at a slower rate if plugged into a USB 2 port.


The Acer Aspire 722 netbook only contains USB 2 ports, but even they are faster than the built-in 10/100 Ethernet port. The built-in port is limited to 11.2 MB/s transfer rates, but the Ableconn gigabit adapter allows up to 28.2 MB/s through USB 2.


USB ports make a difference! Performance shines when connected to a USB 3 port. With USB 3, the Ableconn adapter is just as fast as a gigabit network interface card at 115 MB/s maximum throughput.


iftop measuring the transfer rate of a netcat test implementing the USB3-Gigabit adapter. Speeds maintain a constant 115 MB/s just like an internal network card. Actual file transfers might not reach this level due to limiting hardware, such as hard drive read/write speeds. This only tests the maximum throughput possible.

Acer Aspire AO722 Netbook Performance

This works wonders to improve the wired network speed of the Acer Aspire One 722 netbook, which has one wired 10/100 Fast Ethernet port. When the netbook connects directly to the LAN using its own Ethernet port, the maximum transfer rate is limited to 11.2 MB/s.


Acer Aspire 722 Netbook with a cat 6 cable plugged into its built-in 10.100 Ethernet port…which is limited to 11.2 MB/s.


When connected via the adapter, speeds reach 28.2 MB/s. Note that the adapter is connected to the netbook’s USB 2 port because the 722 does not have any USB 3 ports. However, the network performance is more than doubled even with USB 2.

With the netbook, I transferred a number of files and performed network speed tests, and all completed in less than half the time.

Will This Work with a Wii U?

And now, for the bonus round! Why not check if this adapter will connect other devices to a wired LAN?

“Can I connect a Wii U to a wired LAN using this adapter?”

This is a reasonable question. After all, the Wii U advertises wired connections possible with a USB-Ethernet adapter (sold separately, of course). But the answer is no. This adapter does not work with a Wii U. In fact, the Wii U never detects it.


The Wii U leads you to believe that this might–just might–work.


But this prompt is as far as you will get.

However, the purpose is to provide plug-and-play networking that is compatible with Linux, and this adapter functions perfectly for that.


USB-Ethernet adapters abound, but which ones are compatible with Linux without the need to compile drivers? Which ones offer top-speed performance when connected to a USB 3 port and a Gigabit Ethernet LAN? Which ones offer reliable transfers?

This USB3-Ethernet adapter solves these questions well. Linux compatibility. Reliable data transfers. Speeds equaling internal network cards. It’s great! I was expecting something cheap, but this adapter has proved its worth.

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