NetworkToolbox with wired Ethernet connection – not only WiFi anymore! – UPDATE

network-toolbox-and-ethernetSometimes, you may whish to connect to a network via Ethernet Cable in order to inspect or analyze a network. So far with NetworkToolbox it is only possible to connect to a network via Wlan/WiFi.

But there is good news today!

For this reason, some time ago, I bought me the Lightning Ethernet Cable (L2-NET) from Redpark. This cable requires some developments as it’s not supported by any iOS Device itself. I also had to register for Apples MFI Program which is necessary if you want to ship an App which uses a hardware accessory. I did that and I also did already develop almost all necessary changes for NetworkToolbox which was quite a lot as all network routines (especially the scanning and sniffing ones) will have to be adapted for this cable. Unfortunately, at the end, it turned out that the provided Library had some bugs but moreover the Cable often ended up in a situation where I had to completely re-start the device which was the reason why I never released this feature. I was in contact with Redpark a couple of times. They were very kind, committed and helpful but at the end it turned out that the cable issue cannot be solved at least not for NetworkToolbox. If this would change in the future, I will be more than happy to support this cable as I really like it.

However, here is something new:

You can use the new Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter along with the USB Ethernet Adapter.

The USB 3 Camera Adapter, which is basically a USB 3 Adapter, was introduced for the new (big!) iPad Pro (the new small iPad Pro doesn’t support USB 3 by the way). I wanted to buy this adapter for my big iPad Pro anyways but added the USB Ethernet Adapter to my order – just in case.

Once the package arrived, I tried to connect both Adapters together and plugged them to my iPad Pro. Then I got a message saying that the Ethernet Adapter consumes too much power and cannot be used.

Two things where surprising with this message: 1.) I didn’t get the usual message saying that this device is not supported, 2.) It even recognizes the second adapter as an “Ethernet Adapter”.

I then put a regular USB hub in between the two Adapters and provided power to the HUB.

Success !!  – as a result, I didn’t see any message anymore but also nothing else. No confirmation message, no additional menus in the Device settings (as it was the case with the L2-NET cable).

Then I switched off WiFi and Cellular, started NetworkToolbox and to my surprised, the Adapter was found and I even got a DHCP Ethernet Address. I was also able to Browser (real fast!) and perform Network scans with NetworkToolbox – pretty cool isn’t it ?

Next, I tried the same with other devices and found that at least my iPad air 2, iPhone 6 and 6s are working well. There may be others working as well but I have not tried it yet.

I then tried to use other HUBs and found that almost all I have are working, except for one old HUB.

I also tried different USB Ethernet Cables which all didn’t work.

I did not try but this solution may even work with the old iPhone Camera Adapter.

So in short, here is what you need:

If you plug all together and power the USB Hub, switch your iPad/iPhone to Airplane Mode (to disable all other communications), wait a few seconds and then try to use Safari to see if the connection is working. If not, double check the HUB or try another HUB.

Even though NetworkToolbox reports a 0.0.0.0 local IP, it reports a public IP and correct DNS Server and is working very well with this solution.

Please let me know if anybody of you is successfully testing this solution on other devices, or even found that the old Camera Adapter is working well so I can update the compatibility list on this post.

UPDATE: Cristian from Gibraltar just reports that the old USB Camera Adapter works as well with the Ethernet USB Adapter. Thanks Cristian!

Don’t trust the evil!
Best Regards,
Marcus