How can I use an ethernet cable with a wireless laptop

Posted on 2015-01-15
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell Inspiron 11 3000 series and there is no ethernet port.
I want to use the ethernet because wireless is not reliable.
Does anyone make an adapter that can convert this computer into a "wired" computer?
Question by:cornell256
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

VB ITS earned 167 total points
ID: 40552799
You can purchase a USB to Ethernet adapter. Here's a list of adapters available from

You should also be able to pick one up from your local computer store or even eBay.

Assisted Solution

by:Brent Arnold
Brent Arnold earned 166 total points
ID: 40552801
You would need something such as a USB to Ethernet adapter (such as the one found here.

If you don't have USB 3.0, you could just as easily get a USB 2.0 adapter.
LVL 79

Expert Comment

ID: 40552815
reliable, could mean that depending on the wifi router, the settings there do not match your laptop's.
Do you have a phone land/line and if so, is it wireless? And if it is wireles does it also have issues? Are the wireless phone also operate on the 2.4GHz range?
i.e. does your wireless connection function less reliably when a call is coming in or outgoing?

what wifi router do you have.
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Author Comment

ID: 40552856
Dell tech support tells me I don't have the hardware in my laptop to support ethernet connection

re wireless issue, I'll start another comment
thanks everyone!
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 40552914
Dell tech support tells me I don't have the hardware in my laptop to support ethernet connection
If you have a USB port then you have support for an ethernet connection. Don't let the Dell support site mislead you.

You just need to get a USB-to-Ethernet adapter which are widely available and are fully supported in Windows 7.

Expert Comment

by:Brent Arnold
ID: 40552959
I sure hope you heed the valid information that's been replied in this thread and don't live off of Dell's word. God knows we've all made the mistake.
LVL 70

Accepted Solution

garycase earned 167 total points
ID: 40553568
According to the specs for the 3000 series Inspiron 11, your laptop has 2 USB v2 ports and one USB v3 port.    If you're only using your internet connection for the internet, either is fine; but if you're using it to transfer data across a home network, I'd get a USB v3 adapter that supports Gb network speeds, as it will be appreciably faster (assuming you have a Gb router or switch.

As already noted, the system will work fine with a USB-Ethernet adapter ... any of the units listed in the first two posts will work fine, although I'd get one of the USB v3 Gb units even if you don't need the speed right now (never hurts to have it available).

HOWEVER ... you may want to check a few things r.e. your wireless connection before assuming it's simply not reliable.    The two most common causes of dropouts are (a) a poor signal -- where is your router relative to the laptop?;  and (b)  power settings that cause the laptop to lose connectivity when it goes to sleep and not correctly re-establish it when you wake it up.

You can test the latter by changing the settings so the laptop never goes to sleep -- if that resolves your reliability issue, then you can tweak the wireless settings in advanced power management (and the BIOS) so the system will work okay in sleep mode.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40554778
Collectively, very thorough advice and thanks to everyone. I believe the wireless issue is due to configuration with Airport Express. However, I want an ethernet option so thanks very much, everyone. I'll get a V3 adapter.

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