Ooohhh! This looks cool: USB Charger with a Built-in Ethernet Adapter!

USB-OTG is very handy. It allows someone to connect a variety of different USB devices to a tablet or mobile phone. Most often I’ve made use of a simple USB OTG cable to connect a flash drive or USB headset to one of my devices.

You can also use a USB hub to connect multiple devices, all while keeping the tablet powered. I have on occasion connected a USB headset or Blue Yeti microphone. These I use in conjunction with Audio Tool.

Today I discovered that Google offers a USB charger that has a built-in Ethernet adapter. Called the Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast, it’s just $15 from the play store!

Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast

This is fantastic since it eliminates reliance upon WiFi as the primary means of connectivity! That could make many things, admittedly obtuse things, that I might wish to try more reliable. As I’ve stated previously, wherever possible I prefer to leverage Ethernet over WiFi.

I simply had to have one of these for use with my new nVidia Shield K1 tablet! There’s an open question as to whether it will work with the K1, It only delivers 850 mA, which may not be enough for some devices. At just $15 it’s a risk I’m willing to take. More news to follow once the goody arrives.

  • karlfife

    Is this adapter is a bastard child of a product? On the one hand it plays the role of client to a host device (a wired NIC), but on the other hand it is simuntaneously power-sourcing equipment. Prior to USB-C those roles never mixed, and the roles were enforced by the connectors. This device is not USB-C. My question is, can a phone/tablet play the role of host while also being a powered device? I’ve only seen this odd combo (non-USB-C) on the Chromecast. Should you be nervous about trying this possibly unsupported (certainly not widely tested) on your expensive-ey gear?

    Meanwhile I’d like to find some extension cords with male plugs on BOTH ends 🙂

    • mjgraves

      This adapter fits exactly into the Chromecast product realm. It’s an elegant solution to something that I’ve had to hack together. If you’re using Chromecast to stream video then WiFi may be unreliable AND you need to power the device. This adapter is basically a USB OTG cable + NIC + PSU in one handy bundle. USB-OTG was not widely used, which is why these things were rarely mixed. My only concern is that the current rating might limit its use in some cases.

      • karlfife

        I have about 4 of these adapters in service with Chromecast. Chromecast NEVER worked reliably until we hooked them up directly with this wired NIC. Hard-wired it works flawlessly, even in this high-rise office, and/or my high-rise condo, AKA Wi-Fi hell.

        I didn’t realize Google was NOT doing something proprietary. Interesting. So technically, I could give my smartphone a wired NIC?

        Now they just need to create a USB-OTG Ethernet dongle that serves as an 802.3AT/AF POE Powered Device, so you don’t need an electrical outlet to provide the power. IIRC even the weaker 802.3AF can deliver 15VA, which is 3000ma at 5vdc (assuming 100% power factor and no conversion loss).