The 7 Best USB Over Ethernet Extenders
This wiki has been updated 13 times since it was first published in January of 2019. USB is an immensely popular connection format, but it doesn't always work well at long distances. If your home, office, or classroom setup requires remote audio, video, or control signals, it's worth looking into an extender that transmits over an Ethernet cable. The models we've picked utilize Cat5e cable or better to provide a range of connectivity, often including audio and video passthroughs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 23, 2020:
I figured that some people who are searching for extenders might in fact be searching for adapters, which is why I’ve included the Bauihr Atolla, as we don’t yet have a separate list for adapters. All the other options on this list from the previous update have remained unchanged. Unlike adapters, extenders on the market today typically only support up to USB 2.0 cables, which means they have data transfer limits of up to 60 MB/s (480 Mbps), even though the ethernet side of the extender (Cat 5e and 6 cables) will facilitate rates of up to 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps). Models which offer USB-3.0 compatibility offer significantly faster rates, even though they’re very hard to come by on the market; I have included a special honors for the Legrand AV Vaddio Extender, though there seems to be very little demand for these models. This is understandable, seeing as extenders are made to transfer data, not ethernet, and something demanding like 4K streaming will only run at most around 115 Mbps.
March 27, 2019:
Reliably sending signals across a room can be more difficult than it seems, especially using a spotty wireless connection. A USB-over-Ethernet extender uses a computer's USB port and a small external power source to eliminate much of this hassle, by translating the signals to travel over untwisted shielded pair cable to a receiver, where they're decoded and routed to the appropriate connectors. As is often the case with such slightly obscure hardware, StarTech's range of models comes recommended as the most versatile and reliable selection for most uses. Gefen is a bit better known, and their long range extender comes highly regarded as well. As far as functionality goes, AV Access offers an all-in-one keyboard, video, and mouse adapter, which lets you control an entire system from across the room, or from another room entirely. If you're looking for something compact and don't need video or audio transmission, IOGear and WeMe each offer great solutions. These are good for more straightforward purposes such as connecting users to office printers without fussing with Wi-Fi networks, because printers and their Wi-Fi controllers are notoriously unreliable. And if you have a legacy display such as a projector that takes a VGA input, TESmart makes the perfect device, and it doesn't cost a whole lot, either.
Legrand AV Vaddio USB 3 Extender Supporting Category 7 ethernet cables as well as the USB 3.0 protocol, this model facilitates speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second, and is ideal for more demanding data transfer and networking applications. In case your wireless signal is weak on the receiver side, it has an additional RJ45 port for an optional ethernet pass-through connection. legrandav.com