Ethernet Expansion Card

For anyone asking for over 2.5 gigabit try do it yourself, I dare you. For example most of the devices of 2.5 gig use the AQC111U which I cannot buy without signing a NDA which I can do but would not like to.

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This is the new min for ethernet really.

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FFS do you understand how hard it is?

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I have absolutely no idea how hard it is.

All I do know is that I would love a 2.5 gigabit module, and that of all the multigig speeds that currently exist, 2.5gbps is the most feasible given the form factor.

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The gigabit card which is reasonably packed is 90mm deep, might be able to be 80 with interference.

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Is that because of any of the internals, or solely the fault of the rj45 port itself?

moderately curious if those expanding rj45 ports would be feasible in the standard card height, or still too thick / steals too much internal space with the extra mechanicals.

I’m conveniently ignoring any added design / production difficulty. Speaking solely about the dimensions.

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The mechanical design is fine as I’m going to have a hump with full size RJ-45 but you would never fit it in the original size even with a folding jack.

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I love fast connections as much as the next guy, but how is 2.5G the new minimum. Based on typical broadband speeds, I reckon the average user would struggle to saturate 100M let alone 1G. Yes, I know applications like home/enterprise/data center network storage can go far higher, but that’s pretty niche for mobile devices. And when those high speeds are required, I don’t think an external adapter is unreasonable to support better thermals.

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I do only have 100 megabytes a second internet so I will be limited in my testing.

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A GigE module would be awesome! What are your current thoughts @Josh_Cook on a spring-loaded port that pulls down when in use vs a standard style rj-45? I have seen some laptops, like the HP elitebook, that has the fold-down version that work pretty well, though i’m not sure if they would touch the table when in use. Just curious. Nice work!
Thank you,

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I cannot easily source the spring loaded ports with most of the time not knowing what I am getting as you can only get them off of AliExpress so it’s not economical to assemble boards with ports from AliExpress let alone knowing the capability of these ports, aswell as having interested magnetics due to size requirements.

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How “average” are Framework owners? I suspect we have, at least at present, a much higher percentage of “techies”.

I don’t know offhand how fast my internet is (yeah, I could check, but too lazy), but there are quite a few uses for local networking for which 1 GB/s is absolutely necessary, and 2.5 or even 10 GB/s would be better. Personal NAS. Video streaming (not over the internet, but from a local, personal library). Game streaming (seems to be growing in popularity, even among more mainstream users).

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Another point for consideration, is that wifi has gotten really good over the last decade.

some people are militant about wanting ethernet always, but for the majority, what’s the benefit of tethering an ultraportable laptop with a cat 6 cable, unless you’re getting stable higher than wifi speeds out of it.

I know i’m probably in the very vocal minority, but I’m not putting a gigabit port in my framework.
I’d rather stick to wifi, have another usb port, and use a 2.5gbps usb c dongle when I need wired.

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We might be above average, but internet in the US is ridiculous slow in most of the country. So unless we have an internal high speed Lan and need, 100 is about the max.

The US is way behind the rest of the world in delivering high speed / reasonably priced internet to home users. It’s an embarrassment.

My Winnipeg office has 10 times the speed available to my US office, and is a 3rd the price. My home in the US gets 40 on a good day at best and drops out all the time.

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Wow, that’s the opposite of how most Canadians look at it.

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Well, with all due respect, most Canadians are wrong. I live in the heart of Silicon Valley and I have fewer high-speed internet choices available to me now than when I lived in Ottawa.

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In favour of 2.5 GbE:

  • agreed, WAN (Internet) speeds exceeding 1 Gbps are rare, especially here in North America. Personally I have 75 Mbps, so 100 Mbps works well for me. But I did have 300 Mbps for a while where gigabit was obviously required. However, we are just starting to see Internet speeds in excess of 1 Gbit. For copper Ethernet ports, modem/router/gateway devices either have two independent gigabit ports in a VLAN arrangement or a 2.5 GbE port.

  • 2.5 GbE NICs are becoming more and more available and at lower and lower prices. My fairly high end motherboard came with a 2.5 GbE NIC and they’re making their way lower down. The Realtek RTL8125 2.5 GbE NIC is low cost and designed to be drop-in compatible with their other gigabit network controllers. So PCB layouts and designs can be reused, keeping implementation costs low. I was able to get a RTL8125-based NIC for $40. Since they can pass 2.5 GbE over Cat5e cable the same as gigabit, there’s no disadvantage to using them even connected to gigabit equipment, where they function perfectly well. There’s also the Realtek RTL8156 2.5 GbE USB controller which leads to $30 USB 3.0/3.1 USB 2.5 GbE adapters. Intel’s I225-V 2.5 GbE controller has had its share of teething issues but is also a possibility now that the bugs have been worked out. This is also a fairly low cost solution.

  • 2.5 GbE is very useful for home LANs. Existing cabling can be used and if endpoints need to be upgraded there’s the low cost RTL8125 and RTL8156 solutions. Software support is good in Windows, Mac, Linux and even FreeBSD.

  • there’s also a good use case in WiFi 6. High end WiFi 6 implementations require 2.5 GbE feeds, high end consumer routers and business wireless access points have 2.5 GbE ports.

  • while switches have come down in price, they’re still more expensive than gigabit switches, and that comes down to poor adoption. Wider adoption will drop the price and increase the selection. WiFi 6 is pushing adoption slowly. Wired LAN uses would push adoption further, and since it comes at not much greater cost and uses existing cabling, why not?

I will definitely be buying a network expansion card for my Framework. I use my laptop as a network tool and this is essential for it. I would greatly prefer 2.5 GbE and would pay extra for it.

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Interesting. The grass is always greener…

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True, but my lawn is in both countries. You don’t want to know how much I pay for it to be mowed. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Haha. Never would have thought someone here would be in that situation.

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