5 Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters

Written by Irene Melton | Updated
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NET-DYN USB Wireless WiFi Adapter,AC1200 Dual Band, 5GHz and 2.4GHZ (867Mbps/300Mbps), Super Strength So You Can Say Bye to Buffering, for PC or Mac, for Desktop or Laptop


AC1200 Dual Band WiFi Wireless Adapter

4.0 out of 5

Overall best USB Wi-Fi dual band adapter with super strength, no buffering problem.

Panda Wireless PAU06 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter - w/High Gain Antenna - Win XP/Vista/7/8/10, Mint, Ubuntu, MX Linux, Manjaro, Fedora, Centos, Kali Linux and Raspbian

panda WL

PAU06 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter

4.0 out of 5

This 300 Mbps single band adapter supports both infrastructure and ad-hoc modes. Supports multi-os and multi-security

Linksys (WUSB6300) Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 Adapter, Black


AC1200 Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter

4.0 out of 5

Best value USB 3.0 dual band adapter is light weight, fast and suitable for HD video and gaming. Supports Microsoft os upto windows 10.

NETGEAR Universal N300 Wi-Fi to Ethernet Adapter (WNCE2001)


Universal N300 Wi-Fi to Ethernet Adapter

4.0 out of 5

This wifi to ethernet adapter supports IEEE 802.11n standard with wireless Security-WPA-PSK, Support Windows 8 with speed upto 300 mbps.

TRENDnet AC1900 High Power Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter, TEW-809UB, Increase Extend WiFi Wireless Coverage, High Gain Antennas, Stream 4K HD Video, USB 3.0 to USB Type A, Windows/Mac OS Compatible


AC1900 Hight Power Wireless USB Adapter

4.0 out of 5

Best for gaming purpose adapter incorporated with a high power radio with detachable high gain antennas increase wireless coverage.

We have done a thorough research to find the best usb wireless adapter for your desktop pc or laptop devices. Our recommendation will probably help you to choose the best usb wifi adapter for sure. If you are looking for the best usb wireless adapter you have come to the right place. We have reviewed top 5 best usb wireless adapters at the bottom.

Here is the comparison chart of top 5 wireless network adapters. This will help you to find the best performing usb wifi adapters for your system to run. We have recommended products based on their data transfer performance, speed, ease of use, security aspect as well as cost effectiveness.

Finding a good wireless adapter is necessary to have fast internet connectivity at home or office. Whether you are a gamer or internet surfer, it does not make much difference in choosing the type of network adapter you look for. Here are our short reviews top ten wireless adapters. 

You may be searching a particular wireless adapter for your specific need. Here are some widely searched best wireless adapter depending upon the usage requirements.

Best Wireless Adapter for Gaming

You may be looking for the best wireless adapter for gaming in 2017. OK, here we found high speed modern wireless adapter specially designed for your gaming needs. What should you look for in an wireless adapter for your gaming? Long wifi signal range and high speed are two most opted parameters to look for here. Here is the best performing hight speed wireless adapter for gaming:

Note: Wireless Adapters are separate than wireless display adapters which are often called as miracast dongle. If you are looking for other one, you are recommend to read our another post on best miracast dongle.

Best Wireless Adapter for Gaming

TRENDnet AC1900 High Power Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter, TEW-809UB, Increase Extend WiFi Wireless Coverage, High Gain Antennas, Stream 4K HD Video, USB 3.0 to USB Type A, Windows/Mac OS Compatible

Specific Features:

  • AC1900 Speeds
  • Four positional antenas
  • High coverage at long distance
  • Dual band with USB 3.0
  • Best for gaming and streaming video
  • Not suitable for xbox
  • Too bulky in size
  • Does not support MU-MIMO

Best USB Wi-Fi Adapter Reviews

Cisco Linksys AE-2500 Dual Band Wireless N USB Adapter

Linksys AE2500 Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Adapter

The Cisco Linksys AE2500 provides high-speed wireless network connectivity over a wide range for any window based desktop or laptop. This is capable of producing high speed internet connection over a secured environment. This Wi-Fi n standard adapter can operate in the extremely high frequency range of 2.4GHz to 5GHz. Even suitably works with older Wi-Fi a, b and g devices. This is also equipped with latest Wi-Fi security standards.

This adapter is flexible to be used with lasted Windows OS excluding Max. The flexibility, ease of use, high performance, industry standard security features of this usb enabled wireless adapter made us to choose as the top rated wireless adapter. Read detail review here.

Etekcity Dual Band WiFi Dongle

With the release of Windows 10 there were several issues of hardware compatibility. This usb wifi dongle is supports Windows 10 as well as other earlier OS like XP, Vista, 7,8, 8.1, 10, (32-bit / 64-bit).

This 802.11ac dongle is the newest version of wifi security standard with a speed of 1200Mbps.

This dual band with Soft AP & WPS function connect easily.

The affordable price, ease of use, optimum performance with newest security standard made us to this choose as the best wifi network adapter.

Cons: The only draw back we could found as the short of range which best suitable for desktop computer running windows 10. Read the full review here.

The Etekcity Dual Band 802.11AC 1200Mbps WiFi Dongle is an wireless adapter which supports windows 10.

Introduction to Wireless Adapter

Wireless Adapter is a device that provide wireless connectivity to both laptop and desktop PCs. This is one of the most common used device in networking nowadays due to its user-friendly features and of affordable price. It provides convenience to people who wants to connect to the internet wherever they are and whenever they like as long as there’s a Wi-Fi coverage available for connection.

Generally, if you buy a laptop, it has already a built-in wireless network adapter that is ready for use. On the other hand, Desktop PC don’t usually have built-in wireless adapter. Desktop PC’s has only a traditional Network Interface Controller or NIC that uses the Ethernet cable for connectivity. If you prefer connecting your Desktop PC’s via a wireless network device, then this article would provide you some information for you to be able to choose the best wireless network adapter available in the market.

Types of Wi-Fi Adapters

Before you begin looking for wireless adapters, you should first know that there are two types of wireless adapters that are being used today.

USB Wi-Fi Adapter

The first type is the USB wireless adapter. USB wireless network adapters are the easiest to use among the two because it’s has a plug and play feature like a flash drive. After plugging it into the USB port, the Windows Operating System will automatically detect and install the appropriate drivers. Once installed you can connect to any Wi-Fi available around you.

PCI Based Wi-Fi Adapter

< p>The second type of wireless adapter is the PCI-based wireless adapter.Unlike the USB wireless adapter that looks exactly like a flash drive, PCI comes with an antenna or multiple antennas and needs to be inserted in a PCI slot right into your desktop’s motherboard. You might find it less convenient to install, especially when you need to remove to use it on a different desktop. In spite of its limitation in ease of use, this device has an excellent wireless power compared to the USB type wireless adapter.

Out of the above mentioned two types of network adapters which one to choose to set up your wireless networking. You need to first decide your requirement. Choosing a usb wireless adapter will be of more convenience. If you want to have a better performance then it is recommended that you choose a PCI-based wireless adapter. Continue reading to know how to choose the best wireless adapter.

How to Choose Best Wi-Fi Adapter

Here are few important features you must consider before buying a wifi network adapter. If so ultimately you will be able to buy the best wireless adapter thereby build a reliable wireless network system.

Now the most important part of this article starts which deals with the important points to consider while buying the wireless adapter. So, how to find the best usb adapter which will be most suitable for your desktop, laptop or tablet? Three most important aspects like Data Transfer Speed, Security and Ease of Use are to be considered before buying the best one. Continue reading to choose the best wifi adapter.

Data Transfer Performance

You should also consider the data transfer capability of the wireless adapters before acquiring one. Usually, wireless adapters data transfer performance will depend on its Wi-Fi standard compliance. There are four types of Wi-Fi standard specification that manufacturers of wireless adapters should comply. With this, it can help you select the best wireless adapter that suit your needs.

The First is the Wi-Fi standard 802.11 b

The wi-fi standard 802.11 b operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band. It covers a maximum bandwidth of 11 mbps, but apparently is the slowest Wi-Fi standard among the four types. It’s the most susceptible to any interference such as walls, furniture, building materials and the amount of network traffic. But the good thing about this is that it has a longer range up to 100 feet.

The second Wi-Fi standard 802.11 a

The wi-fi standard 802.11 a is much faster than the b standard with a maximum bandwidth of 54 mbps and it is less sensitive to interference coming from appliances and other wireless devices in your home or office. Although this is better than b standard, it has shorter range only up to 50 feet and it is more expensive.

The third standard would be the 802.11 g

The 802.11g is actually the combination of a and b standards. It still operates in 2.4G Hz band, but it can transfer data at the speed of 54 mbps. The signal range up 100 feet and it is not easily getting interrupted by any obstacles, although it might still get some interference from electronic devices.

The fourth type is the 802.11 n

The 802.11 n type is the current Wi-Fi standard.It is far way better than above mentioned all the 3 types because it is integrated with multiple-input/multiple-output technology or the MIMO, which increases data transfer speed boosting up to 450 mbps with greatly increased range, minimal dead spots and interference.This standard also allows to operate in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio bands simultaneously. This makes this standard well suited especially for transferring large data and able to carry network traffic with minimal interference.

Security Aspects

Networks nowadays still have security vulnerabilities, especially the wireless networks because hackers can compromise and enter the network even without having a physical access. You should select a wireless network adapters those have a WPA and WPA2 security features rather than WEP security feature that is known to be easily breakable. WPA is a second generation security protocol that significantly improves data protection and access control to the network and the WPA2 on the other hand, uses the Advanced Encryption Standard, AES, which is being used by large enterprises and government agencies to protect their critical data.

Ease of Use

Most of the wireless adapters are very simple to use, both USB and PCI type. Some of PCI type might come with a set up CD that needs to be installed after the device is inserted in the motherboard. Just follow the instruction in the setup wizard and you can connect to any Wi-Fi available once installation is complete. Others, usually had its driver software embedded right on the adapter. It will be automatically installed once you plug it into the USB Port of your PC.

How Does a USB Wi-Fi Adapter Works?

An wireless adapter is an electronic device which connect computer with other computer or connect a computer with internet via a router. Usually a laptops and tablets come with in-build adapters where as desktop are not. You need to buy a suitable wireless adapter to connect it wirelessly with other PC. These adapter when connected send data via radio waves to routers that pass it on to broadband modems or internal networks.

Benefits of Using a USB Wi-Fi Adapters

There are several benefits of using a wireless/ wifi usb adapter over a wired one. Here are few.

Flexibility of Use without Cable

The main benefit of using a wireless adapter is that one need not seat in front of the system. You can use your laptop, tablet or mobile devices anywhere within the range of network. You also are free from the hassle of connecting your device to router via cable. You no need to run cable all over the house or office.

No Internal Hardware Installation Required

There are PCI based wireless adapter available in the market both for desktop and laptop. This is not favorable to all the users. So, it is comfortable to use USB wireless adapter. In the process of installing a hardware in your laptop, you probably will damage the board. In case you need to replace, it is easy to change a usb device.

No Need to Upgrade Your Computer

Are you using a laptop or computer that is not installed with in build adapter? No need to worry to upgrade the costly system entirely. You can simply purchase a comparable high performing wireless adapter to make your system work.

Support Multiple Devices

You can use the internet connection facility with multiples devices like desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphones etc.

Top Wi-Fi Adapter Brands

You may interested to know which wireless adapter manufacturers are trusted and making products of optimum performance. Below we have listed some of the most popular wireless adapter manufacturers that stand out and which always receive high ratings from end users.

  1. Belkin - This is one of the oldest and the best wireless adapter manufacturer based in Los Angeles tech center. They also produce wireless routers which are similarly famous in the market. Belkin International has three brands - Linksys, Belkin and WeMo.
  2. NetGear - This is another trusted and widely recognised brand of wireless adapter manufacturer. NetGear routers are equally popular in the market. This is globally recognised American networking company which delivered advanced and creative networking products that provide style, ease-of-use, value, performance, security, and reliability.
  3. D-Link - D-Link Corporation is a Taiwanese global networking products manufacturing corporation headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. Widely accepted and high valued products like wireless adapters, router, modem, switches are manufactured by D-Link. D-Link is an award winning developer and manufacturer in the field of networking products. A trusted brand of best wireless adapter maker in the market.
  4. TP-Link - TP-Link is another widely marketed and popular cheap as well as reliable wireless adapter producer. They are famous for manufactureing cheap and yet best performing networking products in the market. This is a Chinese manufacturer of networking products but widely popular global company spreads over 100 countries.
  5. Cisco - This is an California based multinational compnay which designs, manufacture and sells IT products. Cisco Linksys AE100 wireless adapter is on of the best wireless adapter available in the market today.

USB Wi-Fi Adapter Problems - Solutions

Are you facing problems connecting your PC to internet. Your wireless adapter may be malfunctioning or simply it may not be turned on or the password you provided may be wrong. First you need to ensure that you are able to connect to the internet with conventional way i.e with wired Ethernet cable. Here are the few troubleshooting steps to solve common wireless adapter problems.

Ensure Wireless Adapter is ON

If you are using a internet PCI based wireless adapter then make sure that it is not accidentally turned OFF. There are separate instruction for your PC on how to enable the PCI wireless device.

If you are using an external plug n play wireless adapter then to enable the device, just restart the machine or remove the device and plug it in just after 30 seconds. There may be a ON/OFF sliding button on your USB wirelss adapter.

Make Sure the Passphrase/ Password is Correct

If you are sure that you have used the correct passphrase/ password for your wireless adapter then contact the product manufacturer or refer your pc manufacturer website for help in case you are using a PCI based wireless adapter.

Ensure Correct Network Drivers

Your adapter may not be compatible with your current OS. Make sure that you have installed the latest driver intended for the device.

Wi-Fi Adapter Maintenance - Tips to Keep it Healthy

Make sure you are using the latest driver supplied by the manufacturer of the device.

Do not frequently turn the device ON/ OFF unnecessarily.

Don't remove the device unless required so.

Keep your external USB wireless device free from dirt, dust or moisture

The Bottom Line

Wireless adapter will surely give you convenience in connecting to any wireless network for easier data transfer or accessing the internet anywhere, anytime. But when acquiring one, the type should depend on your needs. USB type wi-fi adapters are simple, inexpensive, and small enough to be carried in your pocket, it can be used across a wide range of devices because of its plug and play feature. But a PCI type adapter will give you better performance in terms of data transfer and connectivity compared to the USB type. We hope that this article would be a great help in choosing the best wireless adapters for you that will cater your needs.

We have come across a long way now to help our reader choose the best wireless adapter. You have gone through extensive insightful information to choose the perfect wireless network adapter. Finally a word of advice: Buying a wireless network adapter is something which will give you peace of mind in the long run ahead. So, spend some time, read reviews, go through customer reviews. Ultimately you will not regret at your final decision.

Recommended Reading: Xbox 360 Wireless Network Adapter review.

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