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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Extend thunderbolt with ethernet

Extend thunderbolt with ethernet
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May 6, 2014, 07:35 PM
 
Does anyone know if it is possible to extend a thunderbolt cable with ethernet? What I would like to do is connect my computer to a hard drive with: iMac -> thunderbolt ethernet adapter -> ethernet cable -> thunderbolt ethernet adapter -> thunderbolt hard drive.

I'd like to use something like this: Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter - Apple Store (U.S.)

Thanks for any help.
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Posting Junkie
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May 6, 2014, 08:09 PM
 
No, it doesn't work like that.

If 10ft isn't long enough, you need an optical Thunderbolt cable. They're not cheap.

How long of a run do you need?
     
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May 7, 2014, 06:34 PM
 
mduell has it right.

Thunderbolt has a bunch of crap running on the same cable. Video, hard drives, USB, and Ethernet.

That adaptor kills all those other things and makes it just carry Ethernet.

Yes, that's as wasteful as it sounds.
     
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May 8, 2014, 04:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
mduell has it right.

Thunderbolt has a bunch of crap running on the same cable. Video, hard drives, USB, and Ethernet.

That adaptor kills all those other things and makes it just carry Ethernet.

Yes, that's as wasteful as it sounds.
True, but you would probably always just put ethernet at the end of a Thunderbolt chain.

Steve
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May 8, 2014, 05:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
mduell has it right.

Thunderbolt has a bunch of crap running on the same cable. Video, hard drives, USB, and Ethernet.

That adaptor kills all those other things and makes it just carry Ethernet.

Yes, that's as wasteful as it sounds.
That's not really what happens, but it doesn't change the conclusion.

Thunderbolt is a video signal - DisplayPort - and a PCIe signal for connecting various devices - like expansion cards but outside the box. A Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter is the same as an Ethernet card inside your computer, or the integrated Ethernet port - all of them connect to the rest of the system through PCIe. You might as well ask if you can convert the integrated Ethernet port to Thunderbolt.
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May 9, 2014, 12:38 AM
 
I don't want to be argumentative, but I'm confused at how not mentioning the bus invalidates the statement.

"It carries those things"

"It carries those things over PCIe"
     
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May 9, 2014, 09:31 AM
 
What is at the very least misleading is that you are putting those signals on an equal footing. The video signal is generated in the computer, is always there in any legal Thunderbolt connection, does not require a driver and is strictly defined by the interface itself. Ethernet, USB, "hard drives" (presumably SATA) are not in the signal at all. They can be generated by a device at the other end, but that device requires a driver (that may be included with the OS, but still) and can be just about anything under the sun.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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May 9, 2014, 01:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Thunderbolt is a video signal - DisplayPort - and a PCIe signal for connecting various devices - like expansion cards but outside the box.
Saying this is about as wrong as saying Thunderbolt is the USB/Firewire/Ethernet/SATA signals all muxed together.

Thunderbolt is a thunderbolt signal, which encapsulates DP/PCIe data. The Thunderbolt controllers at each end handle the encapsulation and de-encapsulation. More details here.
     
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May 9, 2014, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
What is at the very least misleading is that you are putting those signals on an equal footing. The video signal is generated in the computer, is always there in any legal Thunderbolt connection, does not require a driver and is strictly defined by the interface itself. Ethernet, USB, "hard drives" (presumably SATA) are not in the signal at all. They can be generated by a device at the other end, but that device requires a driver (that may be included with the OS, but still) and can be just about anything under the sun.
Here's the problem though. I need to explain the Ethernet adaptor, which is like taking out a fly with a nuclear missile. It's such a horrible use of the interface, it's much easier to explain what it's doing if you put all the different things which run through it on equal footing.

To put it another way, mentioning there's always a video signal is information which actively harms the OP in terms of the pursuit of understanding what the adaptor does.
     
   
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