It's not only a really easy way to add Wi-Fi to a computer that doesn't already have it, but it can effectively replace the built-in Wi-Fi adapter on your aging laptop, giving it a much needed boost. Jesse Hollington is a tech writer with 10+ years' experience. This is even more important if it's from a lesser-known brand, as you may need to install custom drivers even on Windows, and the manufacturer may not offer those drivers for other operating systems. Linksys is one of the best-known names when it comes to wireless routers, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that it also makes a lineup of pretty affordable USB Wi-Fi adapter, and among these the WUSB6300 is currently its fastest model. Support for USB 3.0 helps eliminate the bottleneck between your computer and the adapter, although it's also still compatible with USB 2.0 as well, so it works with both current and older laptops and desktops. When choosing a wireless adapter, a model with an antenna is a good way to go if you want to maximize your range. A single-band Wi-Fi adapter operates on only one frequency—normally 2.4GHz—which offers basic compatibility with almost every Wi-Fi network on the planet, but also means that you'll be stuck using the exact same frequencies that most other devices are using. Most USB Wi-Fi adapters work reasonably well when you're close to your router, but if you're sitting right beside your router anyway, you could probably just as easily plug in an Ethernet cable and get even better performance, so the point of a USB Wi-Fi adapter is to give you the freedom to move around your home. "Offers maximum performance for gaming and streaming. We all know that a signal only reaches so far, and as you move further from the source of that signal, generally the connection is going to get worse. — Imad Khan, Product Tester, Installation issues with 64-bit Windows 10. USB 3.0, too. It is, however, still a little bulky. Utilizing a USB port on your device, these adapters come in a wide variety of choices so you can find the best USB Wi-Fi adapter for you. It looks decent, is small and compact, and delivers everything most people need from a USB WiFi adapter." Further, since most laptops today already offer at least single-band Wi-Fi built right in, there's really no point in even considering an adapter that only offers single-band Wi-Fi, and these days even the most affordable ones provide dual-band Wi-Fi support. While the company has branched out into a few other small products, USB Wi-Fi adapters are still its core business, and they not only offer impressive performance for the price, but they're also backed by a lifetime warranty. Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our It’s large and a little awkward, but the adjustable antenna means you can angle it for optimum performance. The antenna has 360 degrees of rotation and 90 degrees of angle to help you get the best signal reception no matter where your desktop or laptop is in the house. Essential for a high-quality Internet connection – WiFi adapters are designed to offer the best connections available. In order to make use of those blazing higher speeds your router will need to be able to also push out a signal above 60MB/s (otherwise, what’s the point?). university campuses, and even coast-to-coast wide-area network (WAN) deployments. How fast you need your USB Wi-Fi adapter to be will depend largely on what you plan to do with it, although all of the modern dual-band adapters should be more than adequate for even 4K Netflix streaming, offering support for Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac speeds of 867Mbps or better on the 5GHz band. "If you’re simply looking for something to help you work on documents and get daily internet-related tasks done, then this is the best bang for your buck." Imad Khan has written for Washington Post, ESPN, Tom's Guide, Engadget, Digital Trends, Variety, Men's Health, VICE, and more. The AC1900 speeds mean that you can get 1.3Gbps throughput on the 5GHz band, and up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz side, and it supports beamforming technology to give you the maximum signal strength by aiming your wireless signals in the direction of your router, rather than letting them bounce around the house. If you are using already a wireless LAN router or wireless access point, this product is not required. This adapter also features a soft AP mode that allows you to create a Wi-Fi hotspot for mobile devices so you can use your smartphone without eating up your cellular data. If you plan to work at a distance from your router, you'll want to make sure that your chosen adapter offers good performance at longer ranges. Naturally, Netgear brings its years of networking expertise to bear in producing quality USB Wi-Fi adapters, and while they tend to be pricey, as with the company's extensive lineup of routers you're getting what you're paying for. And Windows-based laptops and computers that use WiFi can have a new life with NETGEAR WiFi Adapters. Older computers can cut the cord – the Ethernet cable. The best USB Wi-Fi adapter can make a huge difference when it comes to giving you the wireless performance you need from your desktop PC or laptop. As a rule, the smaller the USB Wi-Fi adapter, the less range and performance it's likely to offer. Cudy WU600 AC 600Mbps USB WiFi Adapter for PC, 5GHz / 2.4GHz WiFi Dongle, WiFi USB, USB Wireless Adapter for Desktop/Laptop - Mini Size, Auto Installation, … It’s rated AC1900, which will get you 600Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps on 5GHz. Of course, even if you don't have USB 3.0 available on your computer, this doesn't mean you can't buy a faster USB Wi-Fi adapter, as they're all backward compatible with older USB standards; you simply won't get the advertised speeds, however 480Mbps is still perfectly respectable for streaming movies and even gaming in most cases. The EDUP-1635 adapter uses a USB 2.0 connection and your router's dual-band Wi-Fi to deliver up to 600Mbps so you can surf the web, play games, or stream video at blazing speeds. Best for Desktop PC and Mac: Wise Tiger WT-AC9006 USB Wi-Fi Adapter Low cost Good warranty Can create Wi-Fi hotspot First, does your computer have USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports? If it’s USB 2.0, your maximum speed (in theory) is lower, as USB 3.0 allows for greater throughput. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. The price is good though, but if you want to spend a little more, TP-Link has an AC1900 model available for twice the price. You are already on the list. While it doesn't lead the pack in performance at close ranges, where the WUSB6300 particularly excels is in providing more consistent speeds as you move further away from the router.

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