Years I spent doing complicated network demos. The first gen demo box was an asus media PC, a bit bigger than an Intel NUC. It had a WiFi chip and an Ethernet, 2GB memory, and 2 core Intel processor. By squeezing our code and demos into a couple of VM’s on it, and by using multiple AP on the single WiFi, we were able to demo our product.
It was fairly simple (when it worked): plug the Ethernet into the Internet somewhere, it would act as a WiFi AP, route the traffic through our product, and away we would go.
But periodically there was a need for “one more Ethernet”. Maybe to debug it (you would get to a hotel room and, no monitor, have to guess what was going on inside it). Maybe to divert some traffic. But nothing fit the bill of being portal and multi-ethernet.
The other day when I was working on the Starlink router setup, I was challenged to mock up 3 Internet connections. I have a 4-port PCIe card, but to install it in my desktop would mean removing something. I have a switch with VLAN’s available, but that is a pain to configure. Well I suffered through it. But then I had a minor epiphany. I have 1-port USB devices, I wonder if there are 2-port ones? And lo and behold there are. But even better, behold this 4-port Gigabit Ethernet, USB-3 widget. Where where you 10 years ago? And why do I have you now!
Plugged it in, it works. But, the need is no longer there.