Wi-Fi isn’t as good as a hard wired connection.  Which makes Apple’s decision to do away with the ethernet socket on MacBooks slightly stupid.  Not for the first time, Apple gets rid of something before the third-party world of hardware has caught up: iPhone headphone sockets, USB-C, etc, etc.

The fact that you could never hard wire an iPhone or iPad onto the internet was another failure.  But this one has finally got a work-around.

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Lightning to ethernet total cost £22-£51:

You need two cables – a lightning to USB adapter and a USB to ethernet adapter.

The (possibly) more expensive version – which gives you more options – is this:

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Lightning to Ethernet & USB hub total cost £48.

The Lightning to USB 3 camera adapter plus an Ethernet to USB Hub allows you to plug in digital mics or headsets as well as an ethernet cable.  Because you’re using your lightning socket this is the only way you could get a digital mic input working.  BUT you HAVE to power the lightning to USB 3 adapter – even if you’re only using the ethernet socket..because the USB sockets require 5v.  So you have to factor in a battery pack or PSU plus a lightning to USB cable (as shown in the pic above).

Then you have a few complications and caveats.

  1.  Using a micro USB to ethernet adapter plus an Apple lightning to USB adapter does NOT work.
  2. The Lightning to USB 3 adapter plus a simple USB to Ethernet adapter DOES work (and, to my mind, this is the best kit to go for – because it gives you the option of creating a simple connection AND gives you the opportunity to buy the USB/ethernet hub at a later date).

So – does it work and is it worth buying?  Yes if you ever need to get on the internet (for broadcast or otherwise) and can’t get wifi but can get access to the back of someone’s router.  I’ve already used it in a bar where I needed to broadcast from.  I just plugged an ethernet cable into the back of the router and ran the wire to where I wanted to broadcast from.

UPDATE: I’ve tested the hub out with an iRig Mic HD (a USB mic) and it works when plugged into the USB hub – allowing you to have an external mic and a hard wired broadcast solution.  Headphones plug into the usual socket on the iPhone.

There are always issues:

  1. I’m not sure how you get past log in screens in hotels
  2. You can get overwhelmed by the number of cables
  3. You’ll have to experiment the order in which you plug in the cables.  Sometimes you need to plug the lightning in first.. or is it the USB hub?  Practice and see what works for you.
  4. Don’t panic when you put your phone into Airplane mode and it throws up a warning that you need to turn OFF Airplane mode to connect to the internet.  Just tap ok and refresh and it should work.
  5. Don’t blame me if your set up doesn’t work.  Don’t go buying gear from shops or websites you can’t return stuff to if it doesn’t work out for you.