I want Ethernet on a MacBook Air running in clamshell mode. Will the USB<-->Ethernet trinket work from the Cinema Display?

  • Is there a reason plugging the USB↔Ethernet dongle into the MBA itself won't work for you? – Dori Dec 7 '10 at 0:27
  • @Dori The MBA has exactly two USB ports, and when it is in clamshell mode it has exactly one free USB port. Having to choose between plugging in a thumb drive, or a camera, or a scanner, or an iPad, and network connectivity means trouble. It also would mean dragging a fifth wire into the configuration, because the Cinema display has three, the WiFi trinket has its own for four, and the ethernet cable makes five. If it's in the Display, I can hide all that with wireties. – Thomas L Holaday Dec 7 '10 at 18:18
  • @Dori, to see what the MacBook Air in clamshell mode looks like, check this: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/4146/… – Thomas L Holaday Dec 7 '10 at 19:04
  • maybe I wasn't clear… I knew the MBA had two USB ports with one available; that was the one I was referring to. That is, you have some number of USB devices to connect, where zero or one can go into MBA and the remainder have to go into a hub (i.e., the Display)—right? I was just wondering if there was a reason—other than appearances—for not using the Ethernet dongle in the free USB port. – Dori Dec 7 '10 at 22:58
  • @Dori - Appearance. Limiting the cables which the user must connect and disconnect. Physical placement of the ethernet cable - running it up the back of the desk to connect permanently to the unmoving Display instead of extending it to the foreground where it can join the Display cable in a knot. The second port on the MBA will usually be easier to access and less obstructed than any of the ports on the Display, so keeping it available for ad-hoc uses such as phones, cameras, and thumb drives. Bootcamp Windows 7's complaints about Display-mounted external hard drives being non-USB 2.0. More? – Thomas L Holaday Dec 8 '10 at 3:43

I’ve seen people have an external powered Hub connected to the Air, then connect the USB to Ethernet trinket to the hub and have no problems with it. If the Cinema Display functions as a normal hub, then you should have no problems with it.

The USB specification doesn’t make distinctions from internal/external ports (in theory).

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