Affordable USB 2.0 & USB 3.0 NICs That Work With Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 16 December 2014 at 11:11 AM EST. Add A Comment
For anyone that may be in need of some USB wired network adapters, Plugable offers a few different options that are low-cost and work well with Linux -- in fact, Linux is mentioned on the product packaging.

A few of the systems in the new 32 system Linux benchmarking test farm have issues with their integrated NICs and handling Wake-On-LAN under Linux -- even after adjusting the BIOS/UEFI power management settings, prodding them with ethtool, etc. For easily debugging the situation on some of the systems rather than going through the cable jungle and install a PCI/PCI-E network adapter, I picked up two USB wired network adapters for trying out those connections and waking up the systems when needed via USB.

The two USB wired network adapters I picked up for exclusive use under Linux were the Plugable USB 2.0 to 10/100 Fast Ethernet LAN adapter and Plugable USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Network Adapter. While Plugable isn't an incredibly well known company, I went with these adapters since they were low-cost on Amazon, they advertised Linux support, and I know the folks over at Plugable. In fact, met up with Plugable's CEO Bernie Thompson and visited their office on an earlier trip to Valve's headquarters. Plugable makes a range of USB network adapters, USB DisplayLink-based docking stations, various USB hubs, etc. Plugable's products -- of which most are Linux compatible -- can be found via this listing.

The Plugable 10/100 USB 2.0 network adapter sells for just $12 USD and is powered by the ASIX AX88772 chipset. The product is advertised as compatible with the Linux 2.6.12 kernel and newer from the Amazon product description while the actual product packaging advertises support built into the Linux 2.6.35 kernel. Anyhow, with any modern Linux distribution using the 3.x kernel, support basically is there as long as you're not running anything too ancient. The USB 2.0 network adapter is working just fine on one of the test systems in the benchmarking farm. With the network communication between the systems and the Phoromatic Server being small as most test files are cached locally on the systems, the 10/100 throughput was fine.

The USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter from Plugable also worked without any issues when trying it out on modern Linux distributions. This USB 3.0 Gigabit network adapter is compatible with the Linux 3.9 kernel and newer. This USB 3.0 Gigabit network adapter sells for $18.

Both USB network adapters have been running well now for about one week without any issues under Linux. One of the test systems is running Ubuntu 14.10 while the other is running Fedora Rawhide. Overall I'm happy with them and were able to workaround and debug the onboard NIC issue for two of the 32 systems that weren't auto-starting when they had outstanding benchmarks to be executed. Find Pluable's Linux-friendly USB products at and using our Amazon shopping link when making your online purchases will go to support Phoronix.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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