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Another tech Q

On this subject of a tablet for SWMBO.

For boring reasons we need to use ethernet to connect it. But most tablets don’t have ethernet slot.

One suggestion online is an ethernet to USB adaptor. Eh? You can feed internet in through a USB port? Rilly?

35 thoughts on “Another tech Q”

  1. If you’re going to be permanently tethered to ethernet, then a tablet is probably not the form factor you want. The previous suggestion of a chromebook makes much more sense (and can apparently run Android apps, though I’ve never tried this.)

    On the other hand, if you’re only going to be using the ethernet intermittently and then heading off elsewhere to use the tablet then a USB ethernet adaptor would work. My iPad has a USB-C port, some tablets might have USB in a docking station (you did mention the keyboard requirement IIRC.)

  2. If you have ethernet you can connect a router to it and connect your ipad to the router by WiFi.

    I’d love to know the reason…

  3. Theophrastus (2066)

    You could tether the tablet to your mobile, if you have enough data.

    If the problem is the location of your router, get a WiFi extender.

  4. USB ethernet is not really any different to USB wifi — each intermediate between the device and the network; that one uses a piece of string is merely an implementation detail.

  5. And don’t forget about ether over power solutions. You plug on box into the router and mains and another into the mains in the target location. BINGO wireless everywhere. Often the best solution for older buildings.

  6. Yes, there are Ethernet/USB adapters. Work fine, even though you lose the whole point of having a tablet…
    By the time that’s needed you’re better off with a laptop.

  7. Your boring reason for needing an ethernet connection on your tablet is far from boring. If we understood why we could probably give you a better solution.

    BTW USB to ethernet dongles are not new. I used one on my laptop last century.

  8. We’re in a really big (275 sq m) duplex apartment. The wifi / phone line/ router is at one end of one floor. Doesn’t reach the other end of the floor below. 25 metres of ethernet cable does.

    No, can’t use the power cables. Different circuits and fuse boxes on each floor. Quote to have ethernet put through the cable TV wiring was €1400.

  9. Well, stick a Wi-Fi access point on the end of the 25 metre cable.

    Or don’t even bother with the cable, and stick a Wi-Fi range extender somewhere in the middle that can reach the router and can also reach the dark spots that can’t.

  10. If you have a power socket mid way you can get a WiFi extender. Costs about £30. The one I have works as power through so you don’t lose a socket.

  11. “Quote to have ethernet put through the cable TV wiring was €1400.”

    For less than that, plus food, accommodation and transport, I could bring by GBF masonry drill and route you some fixed wiring. 🙂

    (making good client’s responsibility)

  12. Mesh WiFi for sure…

    I have Google Mesh in my apartment (and the apartment next door) and TP-Link Deco in the house – both excellent! The house is 375 sq m on three floors.

    I can walk around the entire house on a WhatsApp call and not lose connection.

  13. @Andrew C

    Tim used to write thought provoking pieces for TheRegister, so there are plenty of IT practitioners that follow his work.

  14. @ Arthur Teacake
    November 13, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Agree, best solution. Quite likely you could even use an old router as an access point / bridge. Might need to flash with a DD-WRT update

  15. FWIW, mesh WiFi is the obvious solution, there’s plenty of options and pretty reasonably priced. Use this myself in a house with POP in one corner so put a second “slave” wifi meshed unit about 2/3 of the way through the house. Seamless transfer between the two wifi outlets and simple to setup. Just be sure to set a “hard” password and don’t use the default admin one if it has one.

  16. Two further thoughts.

    Are you using your ISP’s router? These tend to be crap. I had coverage problems in my house until I brought a branded router.

    Also download a Wi-Fi scanner app to your phone. Check the signal at the ‘iPad’ end of your flat. It may be that although the channel your router is using is free where it is, at the other end of the apartment that channel has interference from a neighbour.

    OT, for some reason my beer money donation has failed the last two months. Sorry, I’m trying to fix it.

  17. Beer money – I think we stopped the CT one. As we’re not updating that site that seems fair enough. “tcwATtimworstallDOTcom” works as a Paypal instead…..

  18. I agree with the above but will just add: if your WiFi works on both 2.4 and 5 GHz, try using the 5GHz option, it gets a lot less interference that 2.4.

    I’ll also second Raffles’ suggestion of using a WiFi checking app on your phone. Your solution may be as simple as picking a different channel for WiFi to avoid interference from the neighbours.

  19. Bloke in North Korea (Germany province)

    Sounds like SWMBO has banished you to the far end of your enormous dwelling. The one near the router. That being the case, are you sure you want to solve this problem?

  20. You can feed internet in through a USB port? Rilly?

    You can. Depending on your USB port even pretty decent speeds (up to 10gb/s).

    Use a wireless mesh router and get a small switch. You can use multiple mesh routers to extend and shape your wifi network to cover the whole place.

    Simple option though is just put another wireless router at the end of that ethernet cable and connect to it through the tablets wifi – it’ll be a different named network than upstairs but if the tablet has both networks in memory and is told to connect automatically it will switch between them as its moved around.

  21. @Agammamon: “it’ll be a different named network”

    Nope. Give them both the same SSID and password, but put them on different channels. That way they form an ESS and the tablet only needs one setting and will happily switch to whichever base station is louder. (It’s the precursor of mesh networking.)

    Tim, if you need help you can email me. I’ve been dealing with computer networks since before the Internet existed. (Bad karma in a previous life I suspect.)

  22. Agreed on mesh wifi.
    The place in Normandy has impenetrable walls, and unassisted wifi was very very iffy; because the network connection had to be 4g wireless, it had to be upstairs at one side of the house. Kitchen had wifi (floors sufficiently permeable) but not the other side of the house. Linksys Velop.

  23. An additional tip

    Put WiFi transmitter as high as you can and not near other electrical devices

    Ours is in loft and gives strong signal in outbuildings and bottom of garden

    Mesh WiFi? Great if money to burn. Repurposing old routers as extenders works fine and with a DD-WRT flash signal strength can be ramped up hugely

  24. Tim if you just want your wifi extending through the property get a repeater. It occupies a single plug socket, found them pretty reliable and dont cost much.

    But yes you can have ethernet over USB. I have an old bulky thing from (guessing) over 15 years ago that slots into USB for an ethernet cable. On the very odd occasions I still get it out.

  25. As some above have commented, stick a proper WiFi access point on the end of that cable instead of the tablet !
    Also, unless you are really lucky, the ISP supplied router probably has “less than brilliant” WiFi in it. Turn off the WiFi and connect a decent access point – I had irritating WiFi problems (not down to signal strength) until I turned off the router WiFi and plugged in a decent AP.
    Configure both to the same SSID and your client devices will seamlessly switch between them as you walk about.

    Personally I quite like the Ubiquiti stuff. I’ve installed a fair bit of it with a previous work hat on, and it “it just works”. The last units I worked with professionally were the AC Pro units, there’s been new stuff since.
    And like so much stuff these days, no need for a power supply where you put the AP – powered down the ethernet cable.

    You can re-purpose an old router for the task. Key thing is to disable any DHCP service and only use the LAN ports. But see above about (especially ISP supplied) routers often having substandard WiFi.

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