Thunderbolt 3 GPU enclosure producer Sonnet has launched a new accessory that adds a 10-gigabit Ethernet connection to a Mac or MacBook, allowing it to communicate with other devices on a high-speed wired network via the Mac's Thunderbolt 3 port.
The Solo 10G Thunderbolt 3 Edition network adapter is an expansion of Sonnet's product range, which already includes a number of units that house two network connections. As the Solo name suggests, the adaptor offers a single RJ45 10 Gigabit Ethernet connection, which takes advantage of the 40Gbps of bandwidth available with Thunderbolt 3.
Connected directly to the Thunderbolt 3 port or at the end of a daisy chain, the Solo 10G can connect at its highest speed when used on a Cat 6 or Cat 6A cable at distances of up to 55 meters (180 feet) and 100 meters (328 feet) respectively, and with suitable switches and routers. Supporting the NBASE-T standard, it is also able to run at slower speeds such as 5Gbps and 2.5Gbps, if used over cheaper existing CAT 5e networks or at longer distances.
Claimed to offer high throughput performance with low host-CPU utilization, it includes support for network-related functions such as flow control, 64-bit address support for systems using more than 4GB of memory, and stateless offloads including TCP, UDP, and IPv4 checksum offloading.
There is also support for Audio Video Bridging, making it suitable for use in professional audio and video applications where data stream synchronization is crucial, and Energy-Efficient Ethernet that can reduce the adapter's power demands of its host depending on network traffic.
Measuring 3.1 inches by 4.5 inches by 1.1-inches tall, the Solo 10G is enclosed in a rugged aluminum enclosure that also cools the components, allowing it to run silently without a fan. The adapter is also bus-powered, drawing its energy from the Thunderbolt 3 port directly and not requiring a secondary cable and power adapter.
The attached Thunderbolt 3 cable is said to be easily replaceable, one that is held captive and plugged into an internal Thunderbolt 3 port, allowing it to be changed by the manufacturer itself or an authorized reseller without replacing the entire adapter.
The Sonnet Solo 10G Thunderbolt 3 Edition is available to purchase now, priced at $199, making it one of the cheapest ways to enable other Mac desktops to utilize the same networking speed as the iMac Pro. Sonnet advises the adapter requires macOS 10.13.4 or later to run, as well as a Thunderbolt 3 port.