Recommend a USB ethernet adapter for OpenWrt x86

I want to set up a temporary openvpn router using a 10 year old i5 laptop.

I've downloaded x86 64bit squashfs image using the firmware selector and wrote it to flash drive with Rufus. OpenWrt 22.03 boots up and I can access the laptop via gigabit LAN port and download packages. But there is no WAN port.

Can anyone recommend which USB3 gigabit LAN adapters known to work with OpenWrt x86, sold in UK ?

Will I need to load extra drivers?

Thanks in advance.

Try to find managed gigabit switch and do vlan, this is more relaible solution.


UE300 are quite popular. I have an i-tec with the realtek chip, also happy.

Most probably yes. At least I had to in my RPi.

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@trendy I've lost the link to the owrt post I was reading earlier. I read there may be disconnect issues with AX88179 when used with RPi ?

Same post recommended AX88772C USB 2.0 or RTL8153/RTL8152.

found the thread

@M10 Interesting solution. I don't have a managed switch to hand. I do have spare MT7621 and HH5a (Lantiq) routers running owrt which could be a suitable substitute? I would just need to find instructions on how to configure the VLANs etc.

As @trendy says, get the UE300. Been running one as my WAN connection on a RPi4 for a few years now without a single issue. Been rock solid. And you can get one for less than £14 from Amazon at the moment.

TP-Link UE300 USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter, USB to RJ45 Lan Wired Adapter for Ultrabook, Chromebook, Laptop, Desktop, Plug and Play for Windows (XP/Vista/7/8/8.1), MacOS 10.9/10.10, Linux OS : Computers & Accessories


ok, I thought I'd try @M10 suggestion, by using a spare HH5a as a managed switch.

I'd been avoiding it for years as I prefer swconfig. After completing a crash course in DSA and VLANs (ie. studied the openwrt mini tutorial), I managed to get openwrt on the laptop working as a wired router, with the HH5a 'switch'.

When I ran a speed test, sadly the test hung while reporting 320 mbps and didn't complete. Openwrt console on the Dell Latitude e6530 intel 3rd gen laptop threw up the following error amongst other cryptic diagnostic info during the speed test.

e1000e eth0: Detected Hardware Unit hang.

Quick search on forum returns known issue with older Intel NIC chips.
The 2013 Dell laptop has a 82579LM NIC.

oh well, that's the end of my idea to set up a temporary openvpn router using this old laptop.

I did briefly try owrt on a i5 3rd gen Dell tower PC fitted with an extra gigabit realtek pci NIC, and openvpn client works fine, albeit is not exactly portable.....

You can still always get a usb2eth card.

You can get some Mini PCI-e card (with multiple ports) and install it at the WiFi slot. Also, there could be some slot like M.2 with PCI-e lanes, usable with an adapter. The firmware of the laptop, however, may accept only whitelisted devices.

@nvladimirov I don't think a mini PCI-e card is viable. I'd have to cut holes in the laptop for mounting the RJ45 socket :smile:

@trendy usb to ethernet adapter. Good idea. Found some Lenovo USB3 RTL8153 ethernet adapters on ebay UK for £10.

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To prevent the hangup of certain e1000e chips, install package ethtool and add this to /etc/rc.local so it runs on each boot.

# Work around buggy Intel ethernet chip.
ethtool -K eth0 tso off

You're a star !

speedtest returned 518 mbps through the x86 (64bit) owrt 22.03.4 Dell Latitude e6530 (i5-3340m) laptop router with HH5a VLAN switch. This is as fast as my Openreach UK 550/75mb FTTP permits.

speedtest is 482 mbps connecting to London node with the laptop router running openvpn client.

The ports of the Mini PCI-e cards are with extension cables, not directly over the card. It will be far more stable than any USB if having a well supported chip. I remember that you can easily remove the optical drive of these with one click. So there will be space for several ports without drilling. :slight_smile: I do not remember if the docking port had a separate Ethernet PHY or it was redirecting the RJ-45 port.

The interesting part is that the laptop possibly has an ExpressCard slot over the optical drive, but I never managed to get its cover loose, like the optical drive itself... The ExpressCard is about $30 for a gigabit one, there are even some with two ports.