Connect Your Laptop without Ethernet Port to the Internet

 November 13, 2023 |  4 minute read time

No Ethernet port on your Windows laptop or MacBook? You’re not alone.

Mark Jagielnik

Laptop computers are trending toward thinner models that do not include an RJ45 Ethernet port. If you rely on Wi-Fi day-to-day, you may not notice the change. But in situations where Wi-Fi is weak or unavailable, you can count on an Ethernet cable adapter to get the connection you need.

Smaller, Lighter Laptops Sacrifice the Ethernet Port

As laptop users run more browser-based applications and store more files in the cloud, they require less local storage space. This, combined with smaller and more efficient processors, means laptops can afford to be thinner and lighter without sacrificing performance.

When laptop manufacturers shrink their products to facilitate more portability, some connectivity features may not “make the cut.” These often include the laptop Ethernet port since it is, quite literally, thicker than the device.

Again, even if you typically use a wireless Internet connection, consider some scenarios where an Ethernet connection might be missed:

  1. Wi-Fi is weak—You are in your customer’s conference room, ready to wrap up your sales presentation with a web-based demo. Unfortunately, your content is trickling down at 5 Mbps over your client’s weak conference room Wi-Fi network.
  2. Security Requirements—Your boss decides Wi-Fi is available for customers or guests only, but employees on the internal network must connect via Ethernet to protect sensitive data.
  3. Signal Range—You and your laptop are all set up at a trade show, but your booth is too far from the nearest Wireless Access Point (WAP) to get a good signal.

How to Connect an Ethernet Cable to a Laptop Without an Ethernet Port

In situations like these, if there is a wired Ethernet network available you can connect to it using the USB-A or USB-C port on your laptop and a USB to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.

Plug the adapter into your laptop’s USB port and use a Cat5e/6 Ethernet patch cable to connect the RJ45 end to the network.

USB to Gigabit Ethernet Adapters for Laptops

  • Provide instant access to Gigabit speeds without an internal Ethernet card. For example, Tripp Lite’s U336-06N-2P5-B Ethernet adapter has a top speed of 2.5 Gbps.
  • USB 3.0, 3.1 or USB-C compatibility allows large data transfers with no compromise in signal quality
  • Plug-and-play operation allows you to set it up and begin using it immediately
  • Small enough to carry in a pocket or purse for fast file transfers anywhere there is an Ethernet connection
  • 3-year limited warranty
How to connect ethernet cable to laptop without ethernet port

Want more info about Tripp Lite’s USB to Gigabit Ethernet Adapters?