Saturday, December 20, 2014

Product review: TRENDnet TU2-ET100 USB to 10/100Mbps adapter

Most new PCs (be it laptop or desktop) come with an Ethernet or RJ-45 network port built in. However, Ethernet ports sometimes go bad, and when they do, it's much cheaper to get an external network adapter than to replace the whole motherboard (or the whole computer). One good network adapter that you can plug into your computer through the USB port is the TRENDnet USB to 10/100Mbps adapter (model #TU2-ET100).

The TRENDnet adapter is a simple device that plugs into any USB port on your computer. The adapter can run at USB 2.0 speeds, but it's also backwards compatible with USB 1.1 or 1.0. Installing it is easy - just pop the CD in and run the auto installer, and then the first time you connect the adapter the driver will be installed. The adapter is Plug & Play compliant, and is compatible with current 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows (7, Vista, XP, 2000, ME, and 98SE) as well as Mac OS X 10.1 to 10.6. It can also be used with the Nintendo Wii game system.

The adapter works as a fully-functional Ethernet port, and can connect your computer to a 10Mbps (Ethernet) or 100Mbps (Fast Ethernet) network. It will work in either full-duplex or half-duplex mode, and it has two LEDs that show at what speed the current network is running as well as when data is being transferred. The adapter draws power through its USB cable from the device it's connected to, so no external power supply is needed.

Inside the box, in addition to the adapter itself, you'll find an installation CD that includes the device driver and the user guide, and a paper copy of the quick installation guide. The adapter is not very heavy and it can easily be packed inside most laptop bags or cases.  It consists of the actual adapter box (a small blue rectangular device) and a short USB cable. You can wrap the USB cable around the box with a rubber band for storage. The adapter is a bit bulky for use with a laptop, especially when not used on a flat surface, but if you need an Ethernet port, its functionality will outweigh its awkwardness.

The TRENDnet USB to 10/100 Mbps Adapter can be purchased online from for $13.00, which is less than many comparable adapters. It comes with a three-year limited warranty as well as 24/7 tech support from TRENDnet.

(Originally published on, January 2014)

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