Framework has released its Ethernet expansion card for the Framework Laptop this week, after receiving an overwhelming number of waitlist requests. This marks the first additional expansion card to be made available to the public.
The new expansion port brings 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet to the Framework Laptop that previously was only capable of Wi-Fi or by using a USB to Ethernet dongle. The Framework team chose to use the RealTek RTL8156B controller for its great performance and compatibility with both Windows and Linux.
Framework has gone ahead and updated the Framework Laptop Driver Bundle for 12th Gen to add support for this new expansion card. The 11th Gen driver bundle doesn’t currently support it but will gain support in the coming weeks.
For those that are running the 11th Gen, you can get the drivers directly from RealTek’s website.
Pricing and availability
The Ethernet expansion card is available right now via the Framework marketplace for US$39 (£39 or €45). The expansion card can also be added to all new orders for both the 12th and 11th Gen version of the laptops.
Battery life improvements
As an added benefit, Framework has also been able to reduce the overall system power consumption of DisplayPort expansion cards. The issue was caused by Intel’s USB4/DP/TBT4 retimers not going into a suspend state when no device is connected. Instead, when an HDMI or DisplayPort expansion card was present, they’d stay on.
The Framework team have re-worked the DisplayPort expansion card’s firmware to stop the PC thinking it’s a DisplayPort connection when the cable isn’t connected. You can test this new beta firmware right now.