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Laptop Has No Ethernet Port? How to Connect to the Internet

If your laptop doesn't have an Ethernet port, here are some alternative solutions for accessing the Internet.

XPS Laptop XPS / Unsplash

Last Updated: November 10, 2021

Written by Brandon Jones

Why Don't Some Laptops Have Ethernet Ports?

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Laptops nowadays are thinner than the height of an Ethernet port. Therefore, there's no space to have an Ethernet port. Not having an Ethernet port also makes the design look cleaner without the extra added ports. In most cases, there's no need to have an Ethernet port on a laptop since many people use Wi-Fi.

What to Do if Your Laptop Doesn't Have an Ethernet Port?

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If your laptop doesn't have an Ethernet port and you want to connect it to the Internet, here are some possible solutions:

When to Use an Ethernet Port Instead of Wi-Fi

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Ethernet

You should use an Ethernet port if you want a more stable and faster connection and don't mind having to run a cable to your laptop from a router.

Ethernet usually has a faster and more stable connection. Unlike Wi-Fi, there's no chance of the connection cutting out from objects or walls interfering or being too far away from the router. Ethernet cables are a direct connection that eliminates those obstacles.

Wi-Fi

You should use Wi-Fi when there's no way to run an Ethernet cable from your router to your laptop or if you don't want the added clutter of having a cable.

It's not easy to move back and forth between rooms if you're using an Ethernet cable unless you have multiple cables that go to each room to connect your laptop. Although, if you use Wi-Fi, the wireless connection can be limited by distance or possible barriers interfering with the connection.

If you need a router with Wi-Fi or need to upgrade your existing one, check out my recommended router below.

How to Add an Ethernet Port to Your Laptop

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It's easy to add an Ethernet port to your laptop. All you need is an Ethernet adapter. Below I list my recommended USB to Ethernet adapters.

To use the adapter, you plug the adapter into the appropriate port on your laptop, then plug an Ethernet cable into the end of the adapter. After that, you plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into your router. Your internet should work after that. If your internet doesn't, try restarting your laptop.

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USB 3.0 to Ethernet Adapter

  • TP-Link USB to Ethernet Adapter
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Supports up to 1000 Mb/s Ethernet speeds.
  • Plug and play with the latest OS versions, so you can use it without installing extra drivers.
  • Backward compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1. You'll likely see lower speeds with these compared to using a USB 3.0 port.
  • Find the TP-Link USB to Ethernet Adapter on Amazon (affiliate link). TP-Link USB to Ethernet Adapter

USB C & Thunderbolt 3+ to Ethernet Adapter

  • UGREEN USB C to Ethernet Adapter
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Linux, and most tablets/smartphones.
  • Supports up to 1000 Mb/s Ethernet speeds.
  • Plug and play with the latest OS versions, so you can use the adapter without installing extra drivers.
  • UGREEN USB C to Ethernet Adapter on Amazon (affiliate link). UGREEN USB C to Ethernet Adapter
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Finding Ethernet cables which comply with their category rating can be a little tricky. Some manufacturers use misleading or incorrect naming, and their cables do not allow you to get the maximum expected speeds.

Here are some cables which I recommend:

How to Connect to Wi-Fi

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Since connecting to Wi-Fi is different between operating systems, below is how to set it up on each one.

If you're using a Wi-Fi adapter, you may first need to install any included drivers and then restart your laptop.

On Windows

Search Windows (Windows Key + S) for Network status, then click "show available networks."

Choose the Wi-Fi network you want, then select Connect.

Type the password for your network, then select Next.

On MacOS

Click the Apple menu, then System Preferences.

Click Network

Select the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to. If you don't see the correct one, click the Add button, choose Wi-Fi, give a name, then click Create

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  • Find the Netgear Nighthawk R7350 on Amazon (affiliate link).

  • Wi-Fi speeds up to 2.4 Gb/s.

  • This router has both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands for better flexibility.

  • USB 3.0 port for shared network storage.

  • Fast processor for improved stability.

  • Includes free "Nighthawk" app to customize settings easily. Netgear Nighthawk R7350 Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)