A USB Wi-Fi adapter is very useful in adding a Wi-Fi connection to your desktop or laptop if it does not have its own in-built Wi-Fi or you can do so to upgrade your Wi-Fi if the internal antennas are not meeting your desires. For instance, if you have and old desktop that has 802.11n Wi-Fi, you can boost the internet performance by adding a dual-band 802.11ac adapter. It will be of great assistance when downloading large files or gaming online. This article provides the best USB Wi-Fi adapters with a buying guide for the same.
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List Of Top 10 Best USB Wi-Fi Adapters in 2021 Reviews
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10. AWU212N IEEE 802.11n USB Wi-Fi Adapters
This product complies with IEEE 802.11g and IEEE802.11b standards. It also provides a 300Mbps receiving rate and 150Mbps sending rate hence applicable with large files. AWU212N IEEE USB wifi adapter auto-detects and changes the rate of network transmission hence an outstanding device. The product has two work modes: Infrastructure and Ad-Hoc and also supports 64/128-bit WEP, 802.1X security authentication protocol and has WPA2 encryption methods.
The Wi-Fi protected setup in this device simplifies the management of Wi-Fi networks and the security setup. The USB adapter also supports WMM for multimedia applications and offers quality service in the Wi-Fi networks.
- Product dimensions: 7.4 by 5.4 by 0.7 inches.
- Product weight: 3.2 ounces.
- Design: MIMO Smart Antenna Technology.
- Wireless Data Rates: maximum of 300Mbps.
- Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz.
- It is fast in transferring data.
- The product is able to auto-detect and change network rates.
- The USB Wi-Fi adapter supports WMM for multimedia applications.
- There are occasional glitches during updates.
9. Asus Dual-Band Wireless USB Adapter
Asus USB adapter is a flexible dual-band connection ideal for lag-free streaming with high-performance networking. The product is unique since it has a power signal transmission which is a good deal for extensive wireless coverage. It comes with a USB cable that enables you to adjust the adapter for enhanced reception.
The product is also able to transfer data with a speed of up to 300Mbps in a two-way link thus guaranteeing consistency and free wireless connection. The software AP function that this device possesses can turn your desktop or laptop into a wireless access point. It also has a Wi-Fi protected setup button that is efficient in completing a secure connection setting.
- Product dimensions: 3.8 by 1 by 0.5 inches.
- Product weight: 0.64 ounces.
- Data Rates: 802.11n up to 300Mbps, 802.11a/g up to 54Mbps.
- Certification: CE, FCC, NCC.
- Frequency Band: Concurrent 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
- Encryption: Supports 64/128-bit WEP, WPA2-PSK.
- The product is flexible since it comes with an adjustable USB extension cable.
- It comes with a quick start guide.
- The product has dual-band connection signals with a maximum speed of 300Mbps.
- Some devices find it challenging in recognizing the adapter.
8. INTELLINET IEEE 802.11b/g/n USB Wi-Fi Adapters
This product connects to your desktop or laptop to a wireless network. It has a strong 20dBm output and comes inclusive of a detachable 3dBi high-gain antenna that is equipped with a reverse SMA male connector. INTELLINET USB adapter has a high rate data transfer with a speed of up to 150Mbps. It is made with standards of IEEE 802.11b/g/n and dual-band with LED link activity.
Another unique feature is that the product is secured with 64/128-bit, WEP data encryption, WPA2, WPA, and Cisco CCX. This adapter is lightweight and enables you to enjoy digital images, MP3 files and streaming high-quality videos. Being compatible with 802.11 and 802.11g guarantees flexibility in upgrading your network without having to replace your already owned equipment.
- Product dimensions: 1.1 by 0.4 by 3.5 inches.
- Product weight: 5.6 ounces.
- Color: White.
- Data Rates: 150Mbps.
- Wireless Type: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n.
- Frequency band. 2.0GHz.
- It is flexible and lightweight.
- The product has a strong output power rating.
- It enables you to stream videos and enjoy high-quality digital images.
- The set up can be quite confusing to the user.
7. Netgear AC1200 USB Adapter A6210-10000S
AC1200 USB 3.0 is the solution to your data transfer problems due to its extreme speed of 300 and 867Mbps and is compatible with 802.11 ac. The device is faster to access with USB3.0 and is also used with USB 2.0. An outstanding feature of this product is that it works well with most Wi-Fi. This product is a perfect match for large homes since it has an efficient Wi-Fi range. Netgear USB adapter has a dual-band hence reducing interference for a good connection to many wifi devices. It is easy to install since it includes a NETGEAR software on a CD for fast installation. In addition, it has a desktop dock that provides a good option for desktop placement.
- Product dimensions: 6.4 by 5.3 by 1.6 inches.
- Product weight: 3.2 ounces.
- Color: Black.
- Model: AC 1200.
- Data Rates: 300/867Mbps.
- Easy to install since it comes with an installation guide.
- It is perfect for your large since the Wi-Fi connects a wide range.
- It enables faster data transfer.
- The installation manual is quite confusing.
6. StarTech USB 802.11N Network Adapter( USB300WN2X2)
The product supports the newest security protocols and Qos that guarantees an efficient wireless experience. It also comes with a poseable extension cable that makes it easier to be positioned to give optimal reception. StarTech USB adapter is backed by a lifetime warranty that comes with free lifetime technical support.
It is compatible with 802.11b/g/n networks making it a versatile WiFi network solution. In addition, the product complies with the IEEE 802.11n standard and it is ideal for large data transfer since it can transfer with a speed of up to 300Mbps. It also supports backward-compatible 802.11b/g standards with connections of 11 and 54Mbps respectively. The product also supports security features such as WPA, WPA2, WEP 64-128 bit and 802.1x. This USB adapter can broadcast a distance of up to 150M indoor and 400M outdoor.
- Product dimensions: 2.3 by 0.9 by 0.3 inches.
- Item weight: 0.32 ounces.
- Data Rates: up to 300Mbps.
- Warranty: Lifetime.
- Wireless Type: 802.11n.
- The product is versatile and compatible with 802.11n/b/g.
- It supports the newest security protocol.
- It is flexible for use in both outdoor and indoor activities.
- No cons found.
5. Linksys Dual-Band USB Adapter
The device supports Microsoft 7,8, Vista and XP. It is a brand of MIMO technology and uses multiple antennas to give a robust signal that travels much further minimizing dead spots. The device is also compatible with 802.11a/802.11b/802.11g standards. It also supports up to 128-bit encryption, WPA2, WPA, WEP. The product is also advantageous since it supports a frequency band of 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
It is equipped with a dual-band with a speed of up to 450Mbps. Linksys has an adapter cradle with extra USB hence flexible for both laptop and desktop connection. You are guaranteed maximum range and maximum performance since the adapter has a full 3×3 MIMO antenna array that ensures optimal reliability and coverage. The product has a setup wizard for quick installation and setup.
- Product dimensions: 8.5 by 5.4 by 2.3 inches.
- Item weight: 5.6 ounces.
- Wireless Type: 802.11n.
- Data Rates: up to 450Mbps.
- Warranty: 1 year.
- It has a high speed hence ideal for transferring bid files.
- The product has a dual-band 2.4 and 5GHz thus avoiding wireless interference.
- It comes with advanced security that keeps your network protected.
- It has a bulky build-up
4. NETGEAR N300 USB Network Adapter.
NETGEAR USB network adapter connects your laptop or desktop to a wireless-N for a faster download and online gaming. It is also backward-compatible enabled with a wireless-G. This device has a desktop dock that ensures it is easier to place on a desktop table.
- Product dimensions: 12 by 0.6 by 0.3 inches
- Product Weight: 1.6 ounces
- Data Rates: up to 300Mbps.
- Encryptions: WPA, WPA-2 security.
- It is versatile.
- Fast data transfer.
- It is portable and lightweight.
- At times you can experience weaker signals with this product.
3. TP-Link N150 USB Wi-Fi Adapters
This USB adapter allows you to connect a laptop or a desktop to a wireless network and operate at a high-speed internet connection. The TP-Link adapter complies with wireless 802.11b/g/n standards and transmits data at a rate of 150Mbps hence enabling fast wireless connection for online gaming and video streaming. This model has a unique feature that ensures you can easily wireless network coverage at greater yards where 11g devices may not. It is compatible with WPS, TL-WN723N with a quick security setup that allows you to set up your security by pressing the QSS instantly. Another important aspect is that the product is bundled with a Cd for easy operation.
- Product dimensions: 1.4 by 0.7 by 0.3 inches.
- Product weight: 0.8 ounces.
- Data Rates: 150Mbps.
- Model: MIMO Technology.
- Encryption:WPA, WPA2.
- Warranty: 2 years.
- The product is versatile and can be used with most Wi-Fi devices.
- It complies with WPS standards thus ensuring the security of your network.
- It is flexible and lightweight.
- It has a slow file transfer in the 2.5GHz.
2. Alfa AC1900 Wi-Fi USB Adapter
This product has an extremely fast performance since this long-range adapter is able to connect to your computer and boost the wireless connectivity and enhance 802.11ac. It is also able to transfer data with a speed of up to 1900Mbps. Alfa USB adapter also comes inclusive of 4 detachable Dual-Band antennas with a frequency band of 2.4 and 5GHz thus great for downloading high-quality videos and online gaming. This product is also a perfect deal for your large homes and offices. It also enables universal compatibility for the 802.11a/n/g/b networks. In addition, it is compatible with windows 7,8,8.1,10,10.12 and supports Linux Kernel 3.0.
- Product dimensions. 12 by 9.1 by 2.5 inches.
- Product weight: 12 ounces.
- Data Rates: up to 1300Mbps.
- Frequency band: 2.4 and 5GHz.
- Standards: IEEE802.11ac/a/n/g/b.
- The product is versatile and compatible with most Wi-Fi connections.
- The best deal when transferring large data files.
- It has great encryption thus assures safety to your network.
- Network lag when using the 5GHz band.
1. WICOMMFI USB Wi-Fi Adapters
WICOMMFI USB adapter is designed for your desktop and laptop connections and turns your wired connection to a wireless one. This product comes with all kinds of security encryptions including WPA-PSK, WPA2-WEP, WPA2-PSK and also WPA2-WEP. The product is also very efficient in transferring large data files since it can reach a speed of up to 1200Mbps and has dual-band connectivity. In addition, it supports, all operating systems including Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and Windows 10.
- Product dimensions: 4.5 by 3.5 by 0.9 inches.
- Item weight: 1.6 ounces.
- Data rates: up to 1200Mbps.
- Encryption: WPA, WPA-2, WPA-PSK.
- The product is flexible and lightweight.
- It enables fast data transfer.
- You are guaranteed a security network with this model.
- It is not quite speedy with the 2.4GHz.
Buying guide for the best USB Wi-Fi Adapters
Below are the different factors to put into consideration when buying a USB Wi-Fi adapter.
USB wireless wifi adapters come in different sizes with some having the size of a Lego Block while others are as large as a fully equipped router having antennas. If you need something portable, the smaller USB adapters will be ideal for this case. However, the larger adapter mostly comes equipped with advanced `features including a beamforming technology that diverts interference.
There is nothing annoying like a buffering stream hence the need to get an adapter that is fast enough to satisfy your desires. There are USB adapters that can reach up to 300Mbps which will be satisfying for most of your activities but still there are others that can reach up to 1,300Mbps though you will need to have a 3.0 USB port that will support such a high speed.
Before deciding what speed to choose, you should first consider what the main purpose is. It would be wasteful to buy a high-speed adapter only to get connected to public hotspots such as coffee shops or bus stops since they do not offer a speedy internet performance.
Considering where your router is situated, you might experience problems with connections. There is, therefore, a need to acquire an adapter with a longer range. There are better options that will effective within a distance of up to 100 yards but stretching the adapter further away from your desktop or laptop can also be useful in improving your range.
You must keep in mind that the network frequencies and those of the adapter need to be compatible. With the latest design and models, there is a chance to experience the 5GHz frequency band which is very effective in overcrowded places compared to the 2.4GHz which would be poor in such places with a lot of buffering. There are also adapters that are dual-band meaning they have both frequencies.
You must do your homework well and find out the best adapter with a powerful and stable signal. You are obliged to find out whether an internal or external antenna and whether it is one or several. An internal antenna is hidden from sight and is located inside the adapter giving the adapter a sleeker look and also makes the adapter portable.
On the other hand, an external antenna is attached to the mainframe and is adjustable in two or three dimensions depending on the adapter. When choosing according to this factor, you should consider the walls and the distance. If your signal does not have to pass through a wall or just a single wall, then you can consider an internal antenna. In the case where it has to pass through multiple walls or cover a larger distance, then you should consider multiple external antennas.
When purchasing a USB Wi-Fi adapter you must make sure that the basic features such as speed, frequency band, and the signal strength meets your expectations. It is also necessary to find out the outstanding features such as a dual-band and it should versatile and compatible with many Wi-Fi devices.
You should also find out which brands offer the best USB adapters to prevent the chances of buying counterfeit products. Having gone through the best USB Wi-Fi adapters each with its own unique specifications and also considering the factors under the buyer’s guide, you should be confident that you can make the right decision and choose the best USB adapter that suits your needs.