Multigigabit Ethernet on the Raspberry Pi 4

With the primary shopper Wi-Fi 6E routers already delivery, and enterprise entry factors being labored on, I feel it's now time to up my iperf3 recreation. Whereas the usual 1 Gbps adapters push round 950 Mbps of TCP site visitors, the iperf3 server will in the end change into a bottleneck for throughput measurements.

Raspberry Pi 4 (RPi4) is extensively accessible, and there's a likelihood that you simply would possibly already personal one. So, the query is, can it assist multigigabit speeds?

Though it doesn't have any PCI Categorical slot accessible, it does have a few USB 3.0 ports. I researched USB 3.0 multigigabit NBASE-T Ethernet adapters, and bought a couple of. On the time of writing, Linux kernel 5.10 is the Raspberry Pi OS gold commonplace, and that’s what I used for all exams.

TL;DR … give me the brief reply

The utmost TCP throughput Raspberry Pi 4 iperf3 server can deal with with a 5 Gbps USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter. These had been 90-second iperf3 exams with commonplace 1500-byte MTU and a single iperf3 stream.

  • Obtain (from RPi4 server to a consumer): 2.05 Gbps
  • Add (from a consumer to RPi4 server): 528 Mbps

When you can allow 9000-byte Jumbo frames on all gadgets concerned within the information path, the add velocity turns into a lot more healthy.

  • Obtain (from RPi4 server to a consumer): 2.05 Gbps
  • Add (from a consumer to RPi4 server): 1.73 Gbps

USB multigigabit adapters

There are a couple of accessible available on the market. After studying a dozen of critiques, I made a decision to get 3 adapters from an organization referred to as Sabrent. They make adapters with good metallic instances, which helps with coping with the warmth they dissipate.

Left to proper: 2.5 GE USB 3.0 Sabrent NT-S25G, 5 GE USB 3.1 Sabrent NT-SS5G, 10 GE Thunderbolt 3 Sabrent TH-S3EA

The 5 GE USB 3.1 Sabrent NT-SS5G is the one I like to recommend to be used with the RPi4:

  • It makes use of the Marvell Aquantia AQC111U chipset
  • It really works out of the field with Raspberry Pi OS and
  • It really works on Home windows 10 after you put in the driver
  • It ships with USB-C and USB-A cables so you possibly can join it to your laptop computer utilizing USB-C or RPi4 utilizing USB-A
  • In contrast to different manufacturers it doesn't overhead or disconnect resulting from instability
Here's what’s within the field

5 GE USB 3.1 Sabrent NT-SS5G ships with each USB-A and USB-C cables

RPi4 for scale

ServeTheHome staff did an ideal job of evaluating the 5 GE adapters utilizing the identical chipset because the 5 GE USB 3.1 Sabrent NT-SS5G. It got here out as a transparent winner:

USB 3.1 Gen1 To 5GbE Comparison Table AQC111U Based Q1 2021
Credit score and kudos to ServeTheHome

Why not use the cheaper 2.5 GE USB 3.0 Sabrent NT-S25G? As a result of it makes use of Realtek 8156 chipset, and there's no appropriate Linux driver accessible on the time of writing.

Why not the ten GE Thunderbolt 3 Sabrent TH-S3EA? Though it has a USB-C connector, it isn't a USB adapter. It makes use of Thunderbolt 3 protocol, which isn't supported by the RPi4.

Take a look at setup

I take advantage of RPi4 with PoE HAT, as a result of it has a fan on it, and I energy the unit by a USB-C charger. Each multigigabit adapters concerned within the check are 5-Gigabit Ethernet succesful Sabrent NT-SS5G. The very best half is that these work out of the field on the Raspberry Pi OS with no motion required in your half.

However, if you're contemplating the acquisition of those adapters on your Mac, please cease. After you plug the adapter in, it makes use of Apple’s 1 Gigabit Ethernet adapter driver, and it might solely auto-negotiate 1 Gbps. To allow 2.5 and 5 Gigabit speeds, and assist for Jumbo frames on Mac, you must disable Apple System Integrity Protection (SIP) tool, and set up a legacy kext Sabrent driver. I might discourage you from making these safety compromises. If you're all for a multigigabit adapter that works with macOS out of the field, tune in later and skim this overview (hyperlink to be added).

Learn how to improve the MTU and allow Jumbo frames?

On the Raspberry Pi:

sudo ip hyperlink set dev eth1 mtu 9000

On the Cisco Catalyst swap working IOS:

Configure, save config, reload
Confirm after reloading
System Preferences > Community > Adapter settings > {Hardware} > MTU on macOS


The RPi4 means that you can check download-only throughput as much as 2 Gbps with commonplace MTU. Add speeds are actually poor and you'll be higher off utilizing the built-in 1 Gibabit Ethernet adapter. You should use the RPi4 to run a couple of different instruments, scripts, or take wall attenuation measurements.

With Jumbo frames enabled, 2 Gbps/1.7 Gbps is sweet sufficient for lab use or demonstrations. Take into account that you would need to allow Jumbo frames on all gadgets (RPi4, MacBook and the swap in my case).

The principle reason behind the comparatively low efficiency is the storm of IRQ hammering the RPi4 CPU:

In a computer, an interrupt request (or IRQ) is a {hardware} sign despatched to the processor that quickly stops a working program and permits a particular program, an interrupt handler, to run as an alternative. {Hardware} interrupts are used to deal with occasions resembling receiving information from a modem or network card, key presses, or mouse actions.


In case your use case requires a strong iperf3 server, Apple’s Mac Mini with built-in 10 Gigabit Ethernet adapter can be one thing to think about at this time. It gained’t be the most affordable choice, however you gained’t have to fret about efficiency or USB dongles. From what I’ve discovered, it makes use of Marvell AQC 1113 chipset and does 9.4 Gbps with 4 parallel iperf3 streams.


I bought these adapters myself. Nobody requested me, or paid me, to jot down this weblog publish. I used to be as curious as you to see how the RPi4 performs on the subject of multigigabit Ethernet.

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