Is it time to replace the ethernet port?

gangolfus

Gawd
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
923
So I was reading the announcement today that new Macbooks will not have ethernet ports and it got me wondering if its time to replace the decades old ethernet port with something newer and smaller. I don't know the reasons why Apple is doing away with it; my guesses are either physical size, or its just that few people are using them any more in favor of wireless. All indications are that the next iPhone will have a microUSB port to replace the much larger standard Apple connector.

So my question is; is wired networking dead for non-server environments, or is it just time for an update to the the trusty rj-45 port?

Discuss.
 

robvas

Gawd
Joined
Jun 30, 2011
Messages
631
Wireless has gotten better but it's really hard to beat the speed, security, and reliability of a good ol ethernet port. Apple sells USB and Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapters for the machines that don't have port.
 

Jesse B

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
1,631
I guess most people don't plug Ethernet into their laptops and primarily use wireless.

I think it's a good time to start thinking about a low-profile alternative. It would have to be compatible for most to approve of it, but with the number of thin laptops and ultrabooks on the market it definitely makes me want an alternative.
 

NetJunkie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 16, 2001
Messages
9,682
I'd like to see a low profile alternative. I carry a USB to Gb Ethernet in my bag with my MacBook Air. I just ordered a Retina MBP and ordered the TB Gb adapter so now I can actually get a Gb. But yeah..I'd like a low profile option. Then I'd just have to carry a RJ45 to whatever-new-option cable. :)
 

Jesse B

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
1,631
Could you imagine an Ethernet port the size of mini-DP or mini-HDMI? It'd entirely doable, and would be fantastic!
 

dave99

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
2,129
kind of surprising they got rid of it. Consider macs are used a lot in graphic intensive work, trying to open a 500mb or 1gb video/indesign/illustrator image over wifi instead of GB ethernet is really going to slow people down.
 

dashpuppy

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 5, 2010
Messages
6,163
kind of surprising they got rid of it. Consider macs are used a lot in graphic intensive work, trying to open a 500mb or 1gb video/indesign/illustrator image over wifi instead of GB ethernet is really going to slow people down.

I know a SHIT LOAD of it guys that have teh 13" mb pro's that use them for it work and server work in the lab, a few of them have been converting to the air's and using usb to Ethernet...

People want thin and fast now a days...
 

Brak710

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2008
Messages
1,424
It would be a lot cheaper and easier to use a port that will already be on the device. A special small form factor Ethernet port is too specific to waste space on. A cheap USB 3.0 or TB to Gigabit Ethernet NIC/adapter would be the best option.
 

McTurkey

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 8, 2011
Messages
244
The problem with replacing it is that you then have to carry around an RJ-45 to <whatever> adapter. USB cables with various connectors are commonplace because of the sheer number of devices that use them. But desktops and business/workstation laptops aren't going to be switching away from RJ-45 anytime soon (unless the new jack is somehow cheaper, which is highly unlikely), so unless you carry around an adapter, you can't be assured of being able to connect wherever you go.
 

Jesse B

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
1,631
The problem with replacing it is that you then have to carry around an RJ-45 to <whatever> adapter. USB cables with various connectors are commonplace because of the sheer number of devices that use them. But desktops and business/workstation laptops aren't going to be switching away from RJ-45 anytime soon (unless the new jack is somehow cheaper, which is highly unlikely), so unless you carry around an adapter, you can't be assured of being able to connect wherever you go.

I don't see how carrying a mini-Ethernet to Ethernet is any different than carrying a Thunderbolt to Ethernet or USB to Ethernet. You would still be able to have an ultrabook (or other thin laptop), while having an ethernet port, and still having to carry around an adapter if you want ethernet.
 

Stone Cold

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 23, 2010
Messages
1,146
Apple would be doing away with the RJ-45 port because Apple has a history of doing things for style, over practical concerns. This is why I would never own an Apple product. An RJ-45 port isn't sexy, but I need one.

RJ-45 is too deeply entrenched, and works very well, to even think about doing away for years to come. USB doesn't work over distances needed to wire a building.
 

-Dragon-

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
2,316
Or the ethernet to ethernet you'd have to carry with you anyway if you wanted to plug a regular ethernet into a jack somewhere.
 

adam30k

Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
710
USB wouldn't be the medium, obviously, it's simple an adapter. It's interesting to think about a different jack form factor since the cable isn't that large. I think instead of changing ports, we should just keep on using ethernet, adapters and WiFi. Standards are a pain.
 

gangolfus

Gawd
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
923
It would be a lot cheaper and easier to use a port that will already be on the device. A special small form factor Ethernet port is too specific to waste space on. A cheap USB 3.0 or TB to Gigabit Ethernet NIC/adapter would be the best option.

This is a valid point, but wouldn't it be better yet to build a network directly around a standard universal interface? Laptops from a decade ago had parallel ports, serial ports, usb ports, modem ports, ethernet ports, and vga ports. Today that's down to USB, ethernet, and something for video. TB will even handle the video so theoretically you could just get away with ethernet and a half dozen TB. Eventually networks are going to have to be re-cabled due to bandwidth limitations of current cables, so why not re-cable them to something like Thunberbolt, which is already capable of replacing every other port you would want? I realize a conversion like this is likely to take a decade or longer, but how many coax networks are still around?

I'm not trying to advocate specifically for Thunberbolt, my point is just that peripherals have all changed to the latest and greatest interface, why should networking be any different?
 

dashpuppy

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 5, 2010
Messages
6,163
I'm not trying to advocate specifically for Thunberbolt, my point is just that peripherals have all changed to the latest and greatest interface, why should networking be any different?

exactly,

look at notebooks now the cd drive is a thing of the past..

usb all the way..
 

/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
6,160
USB would introduce more latency. Granted, it would probably not even be noticeable, but I doubt that you would get rock-solid NICs like a good old Intel in USB form. RJ45 jacks are perfectly fine IMO.
 

robvas

Gawd
Joined
Jun 30, 2011
Messages
631
3Com had these 20 years ago - I'm sure they'd license it.

fRbZA.jpg
 

RocketTech

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 7, 2009
Messages
2,359
Carrying adaptors is a good way to run out of ports. Serial adaptor, 34mm Card Express Adaptor, Cardbus/PCMCIA Adaptor, CF Adaptor, Display adaptor, ethernet adaptor, SATA/FireWire/IDE adaptor, PhoneCharger, Ethernet Adaptor, External Drive, the list goes on and on and on.
In a multi-user environment, replacing those adaptors gets expensive fast.
I'm a tech and have a bag stuffed with adaptors, but it's mostly for arcane stuff (USB-SCSI, 34mm GbE card in addition to built-in GbE, FireWire 4-pin to whatever, etc)
Outfit the laptop for daily use and leave the (often) crappy adaptors for temporary solutions.
 

Pepiz

n00b
Joined
May 23, 2006
Messages
45
I think many people here are not considering one of the most important qualities of the RJ-45 connector: the ability to crimp the jack at the end with ease.

This is very important for wiring, cables can be made to size very easily not comparable to what would be required to do the same with a far smaller jack.
 

goodcooper

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Messages
9,768
i've seen a lot of these ultrabooks with fold down RJ45 ports...

i dunno why they can't put these in the macs... i'd probably get a 13" mbp retina (once they come out) if it had one... it's my only gripe with it...
 

m1abram

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
3,175
I liked them but my users would just yank them out of the PC card and ruin them.

That is why I hated them, users are stupid. Putting this in there hands is just asking too much :). I had one person ask me why our offices did not terminate all the jacks with the right cable. Apparently in their office they just left the dongles on all the patch cords.
 

trav04

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
160
That is why I hated them, users are stupid. Putting this in there hands is just asking too much :). I had one person ask me why our offices did not terminate all the jacks with the right cable. Apparently in their office they just left the dongles on all the patch cords.

Made my day :)
 

tangoseal

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
9,382
Now if you ask me the whole industry needs to convert from huge 8 pin Ethernet to a minidp style Ethernet.

I understand that you cant pipe that high of bandwidth over tiny super thin copper for long distances due to voltage capacity being very low but we can use traditional cabling for the long haul stuff and use the thin light stuff for small distance.
 

gangolfus

Gawd
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
923
Now if you ask me the whole industry needs to convert from huge 8 pin Ethernet to a minidp style Ethernet.

I understand that you cant pipe that high of bandwidth over tiny super thin copper for long distances due to voltage capacity being very low but we can use traditional cabling for the long haul stuff and use the thin light stuff for small distance.

This was the other thought I had. Why not go with some standard port for local stuff but continue to use UTP ethernet for long distances? eg. Why couldn't a future router have a single rj-45 wan port, but 4 TB lan ports? This gets you back to a single port type on the computer without completely jacking up existing infrastructure.
 

Nocturnal

Gawd
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Messages
792
I'd like to see a low profile alternative. I carry a USB to Gb Ethernet in my bag with my MacBook Air. I just ordered a Retina MBP and ordered the TB Gb adapter so now I can actually get a Gb. But yeah..I'd like a low profile option. Then I'd just have to carry a RJ45 to whatever-new-option cable. :)
You sir are living the good life. Salute!
 

TCM

Gawd
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
641
So I was reading the announcement today that new Macbooks will not have ethernet ports and it got me wondering if its time to replace the decades old ethernet port with something newer and smaller. I don't know the reasons why Apple is doing away with it; my guesses are either physical size, or its just that few people are using them any more in favor of wireless. All indications are that the next iPhone will have a microUSB port to replace the much larger standard Apple connector.

So my question is; is wired networking dead for non-server environments, or is it just time for an update to the the trusty rj-45 port?

Discuss.
Yes please. I, too, want to shove cash up a single company's ass for proprietary adapters once a quarter.

If Apple hipster want to buy adapters for every single port to make their gadgets useful, let them have at it. But please leave those alone who buy sane subnotebooks in the first place.

So no, RJ45 is not going away because a single company can't build decent notebooks. Those who fall into the hipster trap can use USB-to-RJ45 for suboptimal performance.
 
Last edited:

NetJunkie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 16, 2001
Messages
9,682
First time anyone has called me a hipster..interesting. Notebooks are getting thinner and thinner..if you don't see the appeal you must not travel much with one. I probably use Ethernet more than about anyone else that carries a MacBook Air and using a dongle doesn't bother me at all. I'll take the flexibility. Plus..how long before I can buy a Thunderbolt 10Gb Ethernet adapter? Can't retrofit that in to other notebooks. :)
 

TCM

Gawd
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
641
Notebooks are getting thinner and thinner..if you don't see the appeal you must not travel much with one. I probably use Ethernet more than about anyone else that carries a MacBook Air and using a dongle doesn't bother me at all. I'll take the flexibility.
As do I. I'm using a 12-inch notebook that weighs 1.2kg. It just doesn't have an Apple logo. Instead, it has Gigabit Ethernet, 3G, a display that works better in sunlight than without and more. Edit: It even has a DVD writer.

Your false assumption is that anything that's not Apple and has Ethernet must be some bulky brick.
 
Last edited:

Protoform-X

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 30, 2002
Messages
1,203
Your false assumption is that anything that's not Apple and has Ethernet must be some bulky brick.
Where? :rolleyes:
Stop trying to pick a fight dude.

Apple makes a superior product; get over it. It's not NetJunkie's fault if you don't have one.
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
60,647
Wireless has gotten better but it's really hard to beat the speed, security, and reliability of a good ol ethernet port. Apple sells USB and Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapters for the machines that don't have port.

And with that they reduce the cost of the Apple Macbooks. The Thunderbolt connection is basically PCIe made external with miniDP thrown on top of it for good measure. It can be used for nearly any type of device. Most people probably use wireless almost exclusively on the Macbooks, so those seeking a wired solution probably won't mind paying for one too much.

Think about it. Starbucks slurping hipsters need to be seen writing that great screenplay or novel they intend to make it big on and rarely have wired connections where they are whoring for attention in their skinny jeans and fedoras.
 

adam30k

Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
710
As do I. I'm using a 12-inch notebook that weighs 1.2kg. It just doesn't have an Apple logo. Instead, it has Gigabit Ethernet, 3G, a display that works better in sunlight than without and more. Edit: It even has a DVD writer.

Your false assumption is that anything that's not Apple and has Ethernet must be some bulky brick.

If you wanted to add to the conversation you could mention who makes the laptop, if you want to troll keep on doing what you're doing.

One of the many "ultrabooks" I've seen is the Dell XPS. No ethernet port... meanwhile the HP Folio does. If I can get a nice laptop with a port it's great, if not I can use an adapter anyhow.
 

XTF

Gawd
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
591
This was the other thought I had. Why not go with some standard port for local stuff but continue to use UTP ethernet for long distances? eg. Why couldn't a future router have a single rj-45 wan port, but 4 TB lan ports? This gets you back to a single port type on the computer without completely jacking up existing infrastructure.
What's local stuff? Does TB support 20mtr? 100mtr?
Did you check the costs of the TB chips? Cost more than an entire simple router.
 

NetJunkie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 16, 2001
Messages
9,682
As do I. I'm using a 12-inch notebook that weighs 1.2kg. It just doesn't have an Apple logo. Instead, it has Gigabit Ethernet, 3G, a display that works better in sunlight than without and more. Edit: It even has a DVD writer.

Your false assumption is that anything that's not Apple and has Ethernet must be some bulky brick.

Where did I say that? What I'm saying is that notebooks are moving to being so thin (like the MBA I'm typing this on right now) that there just isn't a place for an Ethernet port. There is no point of the case that is big enough. I'll take a dongle over the "largest common connector port"-sized case. :)

But you know what's cool? You can buy what you want and I can buy what I want. We all win.
 

NetJunkie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 16, 2001
Messages
9,682
So who was mad they took serial ports off notebooks? Plenty of people. Now USB/Serial adapters are common place for those of us that need them. This is no different.
 

epimetheus

Gawd
Joined
Jun 20, 2004
Messages
815
Apple makes a superior product; get over it.

This is totally subjective. Now who's trying to pick a fight...

Frankly, I don't care what Apple does with their products. They lost me as a customer a long time ago with their close-minded mentally and elitism.

Back on-topic, I'm fine with a dongle as long as I have enough USB/TB/whatever ports.
 

x.sci

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 23, 2010
Messages
120
I'd love to see a smaller net connector but that's highly unlikely. Why? If you want ethernet distances with those speeds you need electrical characteristics on cable that small connectors can't provide. Or you need external converter which is then half an ethernet card already...

Hope i'm wrong, though. Perhaps something like not-so-fragile optical could do it?
 
Top