How to Connect Ethernet Cable to Laptop Without Ethernet Port

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If you use a modern laptop, then chances are high that your device lacks a built-in Ethernet port due to a design trend that leans towards a sleeker – and by extension, smaller – framework and overall aesthetic. This can be both frustrating and challenging if you make use of a wired connection for all of your networking needs. Without an adapter for your Ethernet cable, how are you meant to connect to the Internet?

There’s always the option for wireless connectivity, though this is a rather extravagant solution to a fundamentally simple problem. For those of you who aren’t yet willing to make the jump from a wired connection to a wireless one, there is an alternative solution for you to consider, one which is decidedly more cost-effective.

If you’re keen to find out how to connect Ethernet cable to laptop without Ethernet port, we have covered everything you need to know below. So just keep reading to find out more.

Why You Don’t Have an Ethernet Port

If your laptop didn’t come equipped with its own built-in Ethernet port, the solution is actually rather simple – you need an external Ethernet port that plugs into your laptop.

The reasons for your laptop’s lack of its own Ethernet port are potentially numerous. Most laptop users tend to run more browser-based applications, which require less storage and memory to run, generally speaking. Faster, more efficient processors also take up less physical space.

Both of these contribute to the thinner, more compact designs that many modern laptops adhere to. This often means that they need to sacrifice additional hardware elements. In this case, that element is an Ethernet port, which is usually even thicker than the laptop itself.

Don’t worry, though, because finding an external Ethernet port isn’t a challenge at all. Plus, it’s a good idea to invest in one, even if you usually make use of a wireless connection. You never know when it may fail, and making use of a hardwired connection is a great backup plan.

The Extensive Use Of The Common USB Port

Although most modern laptops will sacrifice plenty to ensure that the end product is sleek and attractive, there’s one feature that we don’t see going away anytime soon – the humble USB port.

Although these are mostly used to connect external storage devices like hard drives and USB sticks, their potential uses are versatile and varied. You can use them to charge your phone, to connect a wired mouse or keyboard, and – you guessed it – to connect an external Ethernet port.

When you get your hands on one of these, you’ll quickly become acquainted with your laptop’s USB ports, and you will thank your lucky stars that they’re small enough to accommodate modern laptop designs.

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Finding The Right External Ethernet Adapter

Since the lack of a built-in Ethernet port is a common problem, there are plenty of external Ethernet ports on the market, and finding the right one can take a lot of work if you don’t know what to look for.

While we won’t recommend any particular brands, we do have a list of specifications that are worth looking at to compare any devices you find.

  • Instant access even without an internal Ethernet card – this is a very important specification to consider with newer laptop models
  • Plug-and-play compatibility (you don’t want to be faffing about with drivers all day long)
  • USB 3.0, 3.1, or USB-C compatibility, which will allow for effortless, large data transfers without sacrificing the integrity of your signal
  • Small size – something that can fit snugly in your pocket or laptop bag
  • A warranty of some kind – preferably for at least 12 months, just in case you have any issues

Setting Up Your External Ethernet Port

If you’ve opted for the plug-and-play option, the drivers should start installing for you immediately once you’ve hooked the port up. If they don’t, or if the port you’ve purchased doesn’t support plug-and-play, you will need to navigate to the manufacturer’s website and find the right driver for your device before you can begin using it.

After that, the rest should take care of itself. You should have no problems plugging in your Ethernet cable and making use of it immediately. However, you may want to change a few settings on your Windows device to ensure that it prioritizes your wired connection over your wireless one.

To do this, navigate to the Network and Sharing Center (easily found in your Settings menu) and then select Advanced Settings. Now, look for the Adapters and Bindings tab, then select your desired connection type and you should be home free.

Final Thoughts

That’s just about all it takes to connect a laptop to the Internet without a built-in Ethernet port. Keep our recommended specifications in mind when you search for your own external Ethernet port, and we guarantee you that your laptop will be hardwired to the Internet in no time.

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