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I've been unable to determine on my own if I can do this. I'm wondering if it is possible to connect two Linux systems with USB 3.1 with type-C connectors to setup a point to point network (IP or Ethernet + IP) at the full 10Gbps the standard claims to permit. Do the host adapters support this? Do newer Linux kernels/tools support this? Can a regular cable be used?

Gigabit just isn't fast enough and USB 3.1 cards are cheap and built into new motherboards (like mine). 10Gbps Ethernet would be my second choice I guess, but it involves buying all new hardware and I'd have to go second hand.

  • I would start with a plain IP crossover RJ45 Cable. are you sure a plain good old 1Gb/s cable will be the bottleneck ? – Archemar Jul 7 '16 at 15:38
  • Yes. SSDs and my ZFS pool can do much more than 1Gbps. Bonded gigabit isn't fast enough either. – Ryan Babchishin Jul 7 '16 at 15:44
  • looks lilke the answer is yes superuser.com/questions/593757/… – cas Jul 8 '16 at 4:05
  • That's USB 2.0, which normally only supports host mode on computers. A special cable would be required which I have not yet seen for USB 3.1. I'm wondering if the USB specification has changed to make this easier with 3.1 (still host/slave?), possible without the use of a special cable and if Linux supports it with USB 3.1 at full speed. – Ryan Babchishin Jul 8 '16 at 4:32
  • If you find USB 3.0 host adapters that actually implement host-to-host with a simple crossover cable (which the spec allows), I'd very much like to hear which brand/model. All adapters I've seen so far don't. – dirkt Aug 7 '17 at 21:23
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If you find a Prolific PL-27A1 host-to-host USB 3.0 cable, there is a kernel support in v4.11 to use it: https://kernel.googlesource.com/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/davem/net/+/6f2aee0c0de65013333bbc26fe50c9c7b09a37f7%5E%21/

This is apparently available as goobay Active USB 3.0 Data Link and Unitek Y-3501 cables per the commit message.

What isn't clear, is if it actual gets 10Gbit speed. A functionally identical earlier version of the patch claimed to get 1.5Gbit only

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    Note that those "cables" actually contain a chip that acts as USB client for each side, so it's not really "host-to-host". – dirkt Aug 7 '17 at 21:24
  • Its the cable itself, they say on the goodbay data link cable speeds at Copy rate at 130 MB/s, but Supports data transfer rate of up to 5 Gbps., what is the difference I really don't know... – kensai Mar 10 '19 at 18:54
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What you are asking about is setting one machine to USB "Device Mode" so the other can be host and we can setup an IP stack on it.

Unfortunately there are some driver conflicts issues with having device mode on some ports. https://www.kernel.org/doc/html/latest/driver-api/usb/typec_bus.html

https://lwn.net/Articles/749740/

This is already a thing in the android worlds, where you can transfer files at high speeds with one device acting as host. It's only a matter of time before patches and documentation are deployed.

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