How to Convert Ethernet Connections to USB Connections

By Louise Balle

There are many tools on the market that allow you to convert one type of computer connection into another. That is also the case when you need to change an Ethernet connection to be USB compatible. Some computers, especially the newer, smaller laptops, don't have Ethernet capabilities---only USB. No problem---a simple visit to your local or online electronics store will fix that issue.

Things You'll Need

  • USB to Ethernet conversion device

Step 1

Purchase a USB to Ethernet converter cable (see an example under "Resources"). This connector has a slot where you can turn an Ethernet connection into a USB-compatible connection. Converter cables come in two main styles---the corded connector (if you need extra cord) and a compact-cased device without a cord.

Step 2

Be sure that your laptop USB connection is compatible with the USB to Ethernet connector that you purchase. Some computers are USB 2.0 compatible, while others are only compatible with USB 1.0 or 1.1 (USB 2.0 has much faster transfer speeds, as compared to the older versions). To see if you have 2.0, go to the Device Manager on your computer (right-click "My Computer"; then go to "Properties > Hardware") and scroll down to "Universal Serial Bus" controllers. Click the boxed plus sign to view all of your devices. If you see "Enhanced" anywhere in the list, then you have USB 2.0.

Step 3

Connect your Ethernet cord to your DSL or cable modem. Be sure that the modem is plugged into a power source and connected properly to the phone or cable cord. Boot up the modem and your PC or laptop.

Step 4

Insert the other side of your Ethernet connector into the USB to Ethernet converter. You will usually get confirmation that it is connected properly when a red light flashes on the converter.

Step 5

Insert the software disk that was provided with your USB to Ethernet connector into the computer that you plan to use. Then insert the USB connector into your computer or laptop. The "plug-and-play" wizard will pop up. Point the wizard to your CD-ROM drive so that it can download the software that is needed to make the connector work properly. You can then connect to the Internet as you would normally.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use the USB to Ethernet converter to communicate with another computer in your home that doesn't have an Ethernet slot. Just run the Ethernet from the first computer to the second computer's USB slot and run the "Network" wizard (found under "Control Panel > Network Connections > Set Up a Home or Small Office Network").