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I'm looking for a hardware solution for a work trip I'm taking soon. The options at the moment seem to be a new Chromebook, or an iPad (which I already have) with bluetooth keyboard. I need a full-sized keyboard (I'll be doing a lot of writing, and Google Drive is an acceptable editor), and a web browser. However, I am not confident that wireless internet in the venue will be as reliable as the wired (ethernet) connection. I would need a USB dongle for the Chromebook; is there a solution to provide a comparable ethernet connection to the iPad? (Comments on this answer suggest no, but I'm curious if anything has changed, or if there's a more general solution than that question asked for.)

4 Answers 4

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You could always buy a small router. An Airport Express (or any other cheaper alternative) would do, if you have access to a power socket.

There might be devices that don't need to be plugged in, but I don't know any good ones to recommend.

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  • Interesting. I'll do some research and see if the venue will allow this.
    – pjmorse
    Jul 30, 2013 at 15:11
  • Just to follow up on this: in the end I decided a $10 Ethernet-to-USB adapter for the Chromebook was a simpler answer than my 1st-generation Airport Express which has been sketchy in the past, so I didn't get a chance to test this. WiFi in the venue was indeed exceedingly flaky and ethernet was the only way to go; what I don't know is if my own network would've been better.
    – pjmorse
    Aug 26, 2013 at 13:56
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Well iPad seems to support Ethernet with this following configuration as report 9to5Mac :

  • Lighting to USB adapter
  • Powered USB Hub
  • A USB to Ethernet Adapter
  • A Ethernet router.
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  • I'm surprised this has not received more attention. I too am looking for a way to connect an iPad to ethernet ... don't want to use wi-fi / wireless for health reasons.
    – wolfies
    Nov 1, 2014 at 18:23
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I have been using Ethernet on the iPad in a commercial setting for a number of years.

The solution with the Apple Lightning Camera adapter, a powered USB hub and a USB to Ethernet adapter is very clunky and unfortunately also very unreliable. I've tried this with various combinations of cables, hubs and adapters. Sometimes it would work great, other times it wouldn't work with a message stating that there's not enough power for the accessory. The same setup would work one day, and stop working the next.

I've found that there are two reliable ways of having an iPad directly connected to Ethernet:

First is to use an iPad Pro with USB-C and any USB-C to Ethernet adapter. This works very reliable for me. You can get USB-C to Ethernet adapters with USB-C PD power pass through that allows you to charge the iPad at the same time.

The second way if you have a non-Pro iPad or an early model iPad Pro, is to use one of the ethernet adapters from Redpark. They actually work very reliably, although they are more expansive than a USB-C to Ethernet adapter.

I have used both the L5-NET as well as their L6-NETAC products. The first is a Lightning to Ethernet cable (with a small block on the cable with the electronics).

The second is a small box which is hooked up to a power supply, and uses a micro-USB to Lightning cable for the connection to the iPad. It allows charging the iPad while connected to the Ethernet. It is a bit impractical as a travel companion given that it requires a seperate power brick and takes up more space, but it works well in a fixed scenario.

In any case, as long as your iPad is running iOS 10 or newer, these ethernet adapters "just work". You plug it into the iPad, and a small blue icon appears in the top status bar indicating that Ethernet is available. In the Settings app, you'll find a new Ethernet menu option that allows you to setup the network connection, if needed.

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More recently, I've done this with numerous iOS devices like this:

  • Apple lightning camera adapter attached to the device. This is a gizmo with a lightning plug and then sockets for lightning and USB plugs.
  • A powered lightning cable plugged into the lightning socket of the camera adapter. Can be plugged into a computer or a wall socket, but it has to be something that would charge the device if you plugged it straight in. Ethernet needs power.
  • An Apple USB-Ethernet adapter plugged in to the USB socket of the camera adapter. The camera adapter doesn't seem to be compatible with most 3rd-party USB Ethernet adapters.
  • ...and then the Cat-5 plugged in to the adapter.

It's quite an assembly, and it's tedious to troubleshoot, but it was reliable enough that for a while we had four of these setups going in our house.

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