Ethernet support may be coming for Surface RT... one day

If you’ve been using your Surface RT, you may have noticed that the device does not support external Ethernet support. Even if you run out and purchase Microsoft’s $80 USB to Ethernet adapter (which is a complete rip-off for those who are unaware), the device still will not work with your shiny new "productivity" tablet.

A workaround was posted to Microsoft’s own forums by user tonyman262, which suggested using other drivers to get the adapter working. Since then, Microsoft has asked the company, Pluggable, who published those Windows RT drivers to remove them.

What may seem like catastrophic news for Surface RT users wishing to use an Ethernet adapters may have a light at the end of the tunnel. According to Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, "dependable sources" of hers stated that "external Ethernet support is, indeed, in the works for Surface RT."

According to Mary Jo, the main issue at the moment is that current Ethernet dongles running on Windows RT do not support a Windows 8 feature known as Connected Standby; this Windows 8 feature allows the device to turn instantly on or off whenever a network connection becomes available.

There is no stated release date for the update at this time.

Source: ZDNet


Reader comments

Ethernet support may be coming for Surface RT... one day


I can see why some would want this but it is a tablet; WiFi should be enough for 99.999999999999999% of users

agreed. also support for an Ethernet port would limit how thin the device could be. this would be backwards and not forward for this device line (my opinion).

actually, someone made a thin tablet with a door that opens and becomes a ethernet port, which I find quiet amusing, so it could technically be done

I would love and use wired Ethernet via USB on my pro all the time (nature of my business)...though I acknowledge your point

I could see how lack of ethernet could limit the business use of the RT but in reality businesses should fork over the money and go Surface Pro

Not really I have some pro and RT devices the Pro is fine but in reality it is just a laptop the RT when you remove the need for 3rd party apps and are just after web and office has plenty of uses within busines and an Ethernet connection would be handy. I would say the inclusion of outlook in the 8.1 release has significantly increased the attractiveness within my business. Good solid all day use and connected standby works well for things like Lync.

Unless they want to download a big update, like Windows 8.1, in which case a wired connection is about 10 times faster. Or, they want to connect to a corporate network that does not have Wifi.

That's simply false. The best 802.11 isn't as fast as the best wired Ethernet, by orders of magnitude

Yet a lot of people still don't have the best Ethernet, let alone WiFi... Crazy, I know!

Robert is referring to connections to the internet, which are rarely faster than WiFi itself. Connections to intranet servers would obviously be faster via Ethernet.

Wired will almost always be faster and more importantly stable whereas the exact opposite could be said for WiFi which of course is subject to all manor of interference.

Well I found myself needing this feature only a week ago.  I talked my father in law into buying an ASUS RT tablet a while back.  He just started off on a 2 week road trip where he would be in places without WiFi, but with Ethernet.  I read a while back that there were drivers to make my USB to Ethernet adapter work on RT tablets.  But low and behold, I find out the drivers had been pulled at Microsofts request for what seems like an incredibly bull shit reason to me.  But I'm overjoyed to read in the products comments that the adapter can work on Android tablets!  I hate to be mad over something that as you put it, doesn't affect 99.99999% of users.  But thats the entire fucking point of PC's, is that there are a billion different things you can do with them that you can't do in the walled garden of iPads.  This further sements in my mind that Windows RT was a huge mistake that fucked up the entire "No Compromises" promise of Windows 8.  I still find myself trying to explain RT vs W8 to people, even tech people in my career field.

I can send you the driver by email if you want.But you can find it by using Google as well. It works great with my Asus Vivo Tab RT.

I can see why MS left this off, but to completely replace a laptop, you need one of these in your bag. I had to setup a router and needed to plug into the wired connection so I could configure the WiFi. Plus some hotels only have wired option. A CradlePoint is my other option.

What type of computer are you using??? Because my Dell XPS & HP Envy X2 both have no Ethernet issues running 8.1......Or are you the classic troll

The military and some companies still won't use WiFi. We need Ethernet till these recalcitrant organizations come around.

Don't you have home PCs and consoles? My 360 only has ethernet (I'm not paying $100-150 for an adaptor) that I hook up to a wireless bridge (cost $10) that connects wirelessly to my ADSL router. For convenience I have my other consoles also using ethernet, even when they have WiFi. Then on the ADSL router side I have all my desktops connected via ethernet. The only things on WiFi are my mobile & laptop as they're portable. My work WiFi is flakey, so ethernet is better for my laptop at a desk.

So you know what 99.999 of users need, now? My job doesn't have WiFi, and I had to find the banned drivers, and use the workaround to get my Ethernet dongle to work, and according to the various forums, I'm far from alone. I was shocked when it didn't work out of the box, and that there was this issue. I also can't dl the 8.1 update, as it will break compatibility, for the workaround.

What do all the iPad users do? As I'm sure it "doesn't do that" : ) like in the commercials yet no on complains about that lacking feature in the iPad. The question is, "are the majority of users here at wpc a bunch of whiners" or has MS simply set the bar so high that its an all or nothing mentality?

That is my point; if your work wants you to use a tablet then they will open up WiFi but if I had to guess you aren't using it for business purposes

I thnk when comparing Surface to Ipad, it's all about consumption vs production.  Surface users are more likely to be producers than consumers.

No one holds up the iPad as a paragon of flexibility and openness. I definitely would not buy a surface if it was hamstrung in all the ways the iPad is.

This would be very welcome indeed! My work doesn't have Wifi, only Ethernet. So if this came out, I would definitly be interested. Not for $80 tho...

There are many places, where Ethernet is a must because Wifi is not enough or available. I have a Vivo Tab RT (which is almost identical to Surface RT) and its Wifi only does 65Mbps, quite slow. Also, there are many hotels, where there is only Ethernet connection and no Wifi. I still don't understand why plugable had to remove its driver (luckily, I could get it somewhere else).

I had to laugh at this. Although, I use ethernet at home for everything but tablets, phones, and laptops. I would much rather have the simplicity and speed of ethernet. As the RT is a table though, I understand using WiFi. Would be nice to have the option though as ethernet is far from dead.

I have used the two Cables To Go USB- Ethernet adapters on both Surface RT and Surface Pro they worked perfectly. And only cost $29-$39.

This may not be a bad idea if there aiming toward IT specialist who at times may need to plug into the network, instead of carrying around a laptop

I'll be honest...it never even crossed my mind to connect my RT to the web through Ethernet.
I guess 'cause I use the Surface RT as a portable device, having cables attached to it kind of defeats the purpose... 

It's more so when you're in "laptop" mode with the kickstand & keyboard out and can plug in power and ethernet at the same time

I could of swore Microsoft talked about this very thing at one of their conferences. Build or another. Stated that 8.1 would have support for USB Ethernet adapters. They also talked about the 3d printers being supported natively. Which is another article I read recently. Not complaining as I'm sure some didn't watch the build conference, but it seems like this news should have been out over a month ago right after the conference?

I bought this to use with my Surface Pro.  I've been using Gigabit Ethernet at home for years now - once you get used to the speeds you can never go back.  I am talking about moving big files to and from the Surface Pro before and after trips.  These copies take about ten times as long as when moving the files from PC to PC on my home network.
Anyway, although the MS adapter works with the Surface Pro, it ONLY SUPPORTS 100Mbps Ethernet!!!!!  This is ludicrous in this day and age, and remember that the Surface Pro has a USB 3.0 port.  It is so stupid that I never even once considered that it would not be Gigabit Ethernet.  And, of course, nowhere on the box does it say anything about the supported speeds.
So, after wasting money on this lame adapter, made by Microsoft for the Surface Pro, I found that it's basically got the same copy file speed as when using 802.11n, again because it's only 100Mbps.

Well my wife has the RT and. I have the Pro. We both are running 8.1 preview. However, when I download the latest up to the RT, I am unable to connect to WiFi. I'm order to get it to work again, I need to download another update. Hence the need for Ethernet.

I am using the Apple "Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter" for 29US$ on my Surface Pro. For the drivers there is an easy trick:

Connect the Adater to the device and run Drivereasy - the fre version is plenty. It will find the right driver for you !

Have fun

Internet access at university would be significantly more convenient as over WiFi the proxy requires a browser plugin for configuration.