There's no Ethernet on most Ultrabooks as epitomised by the Macbook Air. So what do you do if you want to connect to a SAN at high speeds?
Until recently most upmarket laptops sported a 1GB Ethernet port. If you were to follow the historical timeline for the development of portable PCs you might be tempted to think that the next step up from the 1GB networking standard might be 10GB Ethernet. But it isn't: it's no Ethernet at all - at least if you've got a MacBook Air.
These Manilla Envelope-sized laptops are simply too small to incorporate a full-sized RJ45-type network socket. This, together with the fact that most people would use the built-in Wifi most of the time, and having cables - especially inflexible network ones - is pretty inelegant with these stylish computers.
But as Macbook Airs get more powerful and come with more storage, they're appealing to Media professionals, who, on balance, would rather not have to lug a leviathan of a workstation around with them. Airs are getting seriously fast.
Until now, if you've had to plug a network cable into your MacBook Air you'll have had to use the Apple USB to Ethernet adaptor, which works very well - at only 100 Mbit/s. There was simply no way to use 1Gbit/s Ethernet with the thin computer, which pretty much ruled out working across a network with most types of production-quality video.
But now, we're starting to see the first Ethernet to USB 3.0 adaptors. These will allow content creators to hook up their computers to external SANs for collaborative editing and post production. See an example from Presto on the next page.
Sonnet Releases USB 3.0-to-Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
Presto™ Gigabit USB 3.0 Provides 1000/100/10BaseT Ethernet Interface for Computers With USB 3.0 Ports
IRVINE, Calif. — July 24, 2013 — Sonnet today introduced the compact Presto™ Gigabit USB 3.0, a USB 3.0-to-Gigabit Ethernet adapter. The Presto adapter provides users with a simple way to add Gigabit Ethernet-wired networking connectivity to Mac® and Windows® computers with USB 3.0 ports, exploiting the 5 Gb/sec SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface to deliver full Gigabit speed performance with suitably equipped computers. This Sonnet adapter is also backward-compatible with USB 2.0.
With the introduction of thinner and lighter computers, manufacturers continue to remove ports that were once standard. One of the first to go was the bulky RJ-45 connector for Ethernet, the wired networking interface standard. The connector is no longer present on popular computers such as the MacBook Air®, MacBook Pro®, and many Ultrabook™ devices. Sonnet's Presto Gigabit USB 3.0 adapter instantly bridges the gap left by the missing onboard RJ-45 port, enabling wired file access and sharing at up to 1 Gb/sec.
The Presto Gigabit USB 3.0 adapter supports 1000/100/10BaseT auto negotiation and full/half duplex communication, enabling it to connect easily with most networks. It also supports jumbo packet transfers (compared to 1,500-byte standard packets) to provide higher performance and reduced overhead when transferring large files.
The port-powered Presto Gigabit USB 3.0 is energy-efficient while in use, and consumes even less power when no data is being transmitted. This adapter includes a short USB 3.0 cable to keep the device close to the computer and allow the user to see its power, link, and activity LED indicators.
"The Presto Gigabit USB 3.0 adapter is a handy, affordable accessory for anyone whose computer lacks an Ethernet port," said Greg LaPorte, vice president of sales and marketing for Sonnet Technologies. "Its small size, detachable USB 3.0 cable, and bus-powered operation make it an ideal companion for the latest notebook computers. On older computers, this Sonnet adapter also delivers better performance when connected to a 480 MB/sec USB 2.0 port than an onboard 100 MB/sec Ethernet port, making it a great way to upgrade."
The Presto Gigabit USB 3.0 adapter (part number USB3-GE) is now available at a suggested retail price of $39. More information on this product is available at www.sonnettech.com/product/prestogigusb3.html.
More information on Sonnet and its other products is available at www.sonnettech.com.