Would you like to enable Wi-Fi support on a computer without a wireless network card? Nothing impossible, indeed. Suppose you don’t feel like disassembling your PC. And “tinkering” with its internal components. You can buy an external WiFi key. USB wifi adapter And connect it to your computer’s USB port, in this way. You can connect to the Internet wirelessly without having to. To intervene directly on the machine. And above all spending a small amount.
The purchase of a WiFi key. It can also prove useful in those situations where, for example. You have a computer that supports 2.4 GHz wireless networks. And you want to activate support for 5 GHz wireless networks. In short, there are several circumstances. Best baby monitor In which an external network card can “take the chestnuts off the fire,” so I would say not to waste any more time chatting and to get to know devices of this type more closely.
Let’s start with a brief – but hopefully comprehensive – review of the features. That you need to consider before choosing a WiFi key and then if you agree. Let’s see together the best USB network cards currently available on the market (or at least some of them). I bet you will eventually find one that suits your needs as well. Happy reading and have fun.
How to choose a WiFi key
- Wi-Fi class and frequency band
- USB standard
- Extension cable
- MU-MIMO support
- Beamforming support
- WPS support
- Supported security standards
- Software and drivers
- Other types of wireless dongles
How to choose a WiFi key
A WiFi key can be distinguished from the other by shape. Size data transfer speed. And many other features that must keep. In mind before proceeding with the purchase. Here are the most important ones.
Wi-Fi class and frequency band
One of the first features you need to consider before buying a wireless network card. The class of Wi-Fi is supported by the latter. Wi-Fi technology, you must know. Divided into various courses and each of these is associated with a different maximum data transfer speed. Please note that we are talking about speed in data transfer within the wireless network. Not the Internet connection (other factors that we do not deal with today affect that. The Wi-Fi classes available at the moment are the following.
The class b (802.11b) allows you to transfer data up to 11 Mbps; In-class g (802.11g) which will enable you to move data up to 54 Mbps; If class n (802.11n), which allows you to share data up to 300 or 450 Mbps and class ac (802.11ac) which enables you to transfer data up to 1.3 Gbps or more (depending on the technology used). Then there is also Wi-Fi 6. Otherwise known as 802.11ax. It the most recent standard. But not yet widespread and. Able to guarantee even higher performance than the other classes. Thus offering lower latency. More range. And greater speeds.
USB Wifi Adapter
Another difference to take into account concerns the frequency band in which the key operates. The Wi-Fi classes can work on the classic 2.4 GHz frequency band – the one used by the vast majority of devices – or on the 5 GHz frequency band, which is less prone to interference, allowing for higher data transfer speeds (in fact, wireless ac works precisely on this frequency band) but has a shorter range than 2.4 GHz.
If you have a dual-band or even tri-band router that supports the 5 GHz frequency band, purchase a WiFi stick with support for the latter. By doing so, you will be able to make the most of your router’s potential and transfer data at the highest possible speed, as long as it is close enough to the computer (or in any case to the device on which you intend to use the network adapter) and can reach the device with its 5GHz network.
Operating via the USB port, Wi-Fi sticks’ performance is also affected by the USB standard. Knowing that the USB 2.0 standard allows you to transfer data up to 480 Mbits / s (equal to 60 MB per second) and the USB 3.0 standard will enable you to move data up to 5 Gigabit / s (similar to 625 MB per second), it is evident that to fully exploit the potential of a key that, for example, operates on wireless ac class, it must be connected to a USB 3.0 port. Even more advanced would be the USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard which can achieve data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gigabit / s (equal to 1250 MB per second) but is not yet very widespread in the Wi-Fi stick market at the moment.
Antenna USB Wifi Adapter
The Wi-Fi sticks can be equipped with internal or external antennas, as can be deduced. The external antennas generally offer better signal reception than the internal ones. But they also make the stick more cumbersome in the “mobile” environment, for example. Suppose you like to work while carrying your notebook from room to room in the house. You would probably find a dongle with external antennas inconvenient. If in the area where you intend to use the WiFi key. The signal from the router is not strong enough. Try to buy a pass with external antennas. But always remember the talk about the “inconvenience” of solutions of this type.
As readily understood, the WiFi key must be set up for a high-speed USB standard: connecting a USB 2.0 WiFi key to a USB 3.0 port will not magically increase its performance!
Another vital thing to know is that antennas can be fixed or removable and omnidirectional (that is, they transmit and receive the signal from all directions) or directional (which give priority to a single order).
To properly evaluate the antennas’ performance, you should know the exact degree of their power expressed in dB (i.e., the decibels relative to a standard isotropic antenna). Unfortunately, however, this feature is not disclosed by all manufacturers, and therefore you often have to go “by the nose” by consulting online reviews.
To improve signal reception, it is vital to place the WiFi key in a “strategic” point, that is, an issue free from obstacles where the wireless signal arrives strong enough. For this purpose, some manufacturers allow you to move your flash drives using USB extension cables, i.e., lines that connect to the device and will enable you to keep them at a certain distance from the computer.
USB Wifi Adapter
If you have to use the WiFi dongle with a desktop computer, you should seriously consider purchasing such a solution. By doing this, you will avoid the risk of placing the adapter in an area where the wireless signal reception is not optimal (e.g., on the back of the case). You will be able to transfer data at the maximum possible speed.
The Wi-Fi sticks are not all the same shape nor the same size. There are incredibly compact, light sticks, even smaller than the pen drives used to store data. Others instead have the condition of larger posts (often with external antennas). Still, others are “boxes” that connect to the computer via a USB extension cable.
You have to choose the type of key that best suits your needs, i.e., the type of device you intend to use it with. For example, for use in the desktop environment, the “box” format keys with external antennas and USB extension cable are subtle, while for notebooks, the more compact tickets are preferable.
As I explained to you on other occasions, devices equipped with MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) support can manage the requests of multiple devices simultaneously, thus optimizing bandwidth usage and speeding up the communication between devices connected to the network.
Suppose you have a router with support for MU-MIMO technology. In that case, you can buy a WiFi key that is also compatible with this technology and further speed up communications between the two devices.
Routers with Beamforming technology support improve communications with devices on 5 GHz networks by directing the signal where it is needed most.
Suppose you have a router that supports Beamforming and buys a WiFi key compatible with this technology. In that case, you can improve the communication between the two devices and obtain advantages in network performance.
The WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) is a technology that allows you to securely connect two wireless devices by simply pressing a button on them. If your router and WiFi stick both support this technology, you can combine them with the push of a simple switch.
Supported security standards USB Wifi Adapter
Before buying a USB network card, make sure that it is compatible with the security standard used by the Wi-Fi network generated by your router (for example, WPA2-AES).
Software and drivers
Many Wi-Fi sticks need drivers to work, so before purchasing, it is a good idea to check their compatibility with the operating system installed on your PC. The same goes for the critical management software, which is not as essential as the drivers but can be useful.
Other types of wireless dongles
When you visit an online store or go to an electronics store, pay attention to the types of wireless dongles available. Not all wireless keys are used to enable Wi-Fi support on computers that do not include it natively.
There are also 4G Internet keys, which allow you to connect your computer to the cellular data network, and Bluetooth keys, allowing you to activate Bluetooth on computers and devices that do not support this “standard” technology. USB wifi adapter While the look of these devices may be similar, don’t be fooled. Always read the online descriptions and information on the product packaging carefully.
Which WiFi stick to buying USB Wifi Adapter
At this point, I would say that you have all the information to understand which WiFi key to buying. Therefore, let me point out some of the most exciting market trends and illustrate their main characteristics. You shouldn’t struggle too much to find a suitable one for you, also because the prices are not exaggerated: generally, they range from less than 15 euros to less than 80. Good “hunting”!
KagoLing 600 Mbps Wi-Fi USB Adapter
If you first look at the compactness and low cost, I can only recommend this KagoLing branded dual-band Wi-Fi USB adapter. It allows you to enjoy wireless connectivity on any computer and from the central operating systems (Windows, macOS, and Linux), USB wifi adapter with a maximum speed of 600 Mbps, more precisely up to 433 Mbps on 5 GHz and up to 150 Mbps on 2.4 GHz. It also features an LED indicator that signals the status of the activity.
TP-Link TL-WN823N USB Wifi Adapter
If you don’t need ultra-high performance and are looking for a cheap WiFi stick, take the TP-Link TL-WN823N seriously, which is very small and can be used without problems even on the move. Includes two internal antennas, supports USB 2.0 standard, USB wifi adapter, and is based on wireless n technology, allowing data transfer up to 300 Mbps. Supports WEP security standards WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK WPA / WPA2 at 64 / 128- bit and WPS technology. It is compatible with PCs equipped with Windows and with macOS and Linux.
1200 Mbps Maxesla USB Wi-Fi Adapter
Suppose you are looking for an adapter with a high-gain external antenna that can eventually be disconnected as needed. In that case, I highly recommend that you evaluate this one produced by Maxesla. It has a power of 5 dBi and guarantees data transfer up to 1200 Mbps, divided into 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. Besides, it supports the USB 3.0 standard and works with Windows and macOS.
TP-Link Archer T2U Plus
Another excellent TP-Link branded Wi-Fi adapter, in this case with a removable five dBi external antenna, is the model called Archer T2U Plus. Compactness is not its strong point, this must be said, but it allows data transfer up to 600 Mbps and, thanks to the 256QAM technology, which increases performance by 33%, ensures up to 200 Mbps in 2.4 GHz and up to 433 Mbps in 5 GHz. Furthermore, it is adjustable in every direction, works via USB 2.0, supports WPA / WPA2 encryption standards, and is guaranteed compatibility with both Windows and macOS operating systems.
If you need an external network card with USB extension cable support, take a look at the TP-Link TL-WN822N, which, thanks to the 1.5m how to get rich extension cable it is equipped with, you can connect to the computer and then freely position in a “strategic” point where the wireless signal is strong enough. It has a dual three dBi external antenna that can be rotated and adjusted in different directions, USB wifi adapter works via USB 2.0 standard, supports class n wireless (up to 300 Mbps), and is compatible with all the latest versions of Windows and macOS, as well as with some Linux distros. It also supports WPS and WEP 64/128 bit and WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK security systems.
Netgear A6150 USB Wifi Adapter
In this price range, the perfect WiFi stick that I want to recommend is the Netgear A6150. He has tiny dimensions, supports Wi-Fi ac, is dual-band, and allows you to take advantage of MU-MIMO technology. The guarantees wireless speed up to 1200 Mbps, more precisely up to 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz frequency band and 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency band. Then works via USB 2.0 and is compatible with both Windows and macOS.
The Asus USB-AC53 is an inexpensive WiFi stick with excellent value for money. It supports dual-band Wi-Fi and MU-MIMO technology, providing up to 300 Mbps speed on the 2.4 GHz frequency band and up to 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz frequency band, USB wifi adapter for a total of 1200 Mbps. It is compatible with all the latest Windows and macOS versions and supports WEP 64-bit, WEP 128-bit, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, and WPS security standards. Works via USB 2.0.
TP-Link Archer T4U
The TP-Link Archer T4U is an excellent USB adapter with two high-gain antennas, USB 3.0 support, dual-band, data transfer up to 1300 Mbps (400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency band and 867 Mbps on the 5GHz frequency band), WPS, and compatibility with all the latest Windows systems, as well as with macOS and Linux. Note that it also allows you to take advantage of MU-MIMO technology.
WiFi Nation WN-H1
Although it is not a well-known brand like TP-Link or D-Link, WiFi Nation also offers excellent USB wireless adapters. All of which sold at reasonably affordable prices. This the case of the model called WN-H1. It equips with an external antenna and with a power of 2 dBi. It supports dual-band technology, wireless ac and ensures data transfer speeds of up to 433 Mbps on the 5 GHz frequency band and up to 150 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency band. Besides, it uses the Realtek RTL8811AU chipset and guarantees a reasonable degree of protection thanks to 128-bit encryption. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux.
AVM FRITZ! WLAN Stick AC 430
AVM Fritz is one of the leading brands in the networking device industry. Its products are papular for somewhat questionable aesthetics but the user’s first-class performance and widely configurable software. This WiFi dongle that supports USB wifi adapter wireless ac is no exception. Ensures data transfer rates up to 433 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 150 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. It is USB 3.0 and supports WPA2 and WPS encryption. It is compatible with all the latest versions of Windows.
The Wavlink WN690A5 is a dual-band WiFi. Dongle capable of reaching a maximum speed of 1900 Mbps. More precisely: 600 Mbps in 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps in 5 GHz. It has four internal high-gain antennas with support for MU- technology. MIMO has WPS and supports the USB 3.0 standard. It works with Windows operating systems and with macOS.
As can be seen quite clearly from its shape, the D-Link DWA-192 not a WiFi dongle. But one of the best wireless desktop adapters you can find on the market today. It character by an exquisite spherical design. Supports the USB 3.0 standard. Remove password from pdf The wireless ac with the tri-band system. And can ensure a data transfer rate of up to 1900 Mbps (of which 600 Mbps on the dual 2.4 GHz band and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band). It has an internal 3 x 3 MIMO antenna set and a Beamforming system that allows for perfect signal reception. It supports WPS and all the most advanced wireless encryption systems. Compatibility is only guaranteed with Windows.
TP-Link Archer T9UH
The TP-Link Archer T9UH is an advanced WiFi dongle that has four high-gain antennas. And a base with a 1-meter long cable (so you can easily connect and remove the device from your computer if necessary) to pick up the signal where it is most potent and in the best possible way. It supports USB 3.0 standards. Wireless ac technology and ensures data transfer rates up to 1900 Mbps. Of which 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz network and 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz network. USB wifi adapter It supports WPS and Beamforming. It is compatible with Windows and Linux.
Alfa Network AWUS03 6ACH
Another high-end WiFi dongle that. I recommend you consider the Alfa Network AWUS03 6ACH, which has two detachable five dBi high-gain antennas. It supports wireless ac technology with a data transfer rate of up to 867 Mbps—the USB 3.0 standard. And is compatible with both Windows and macOS, and Linux.
Netgear Nighthawk A7000
The Netgear Nighthawk A7000 is a high-end USB Wi-Fi adapter. Capable of guaranteeing data transfer speeds of up to 1900 Mbps. Of which 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz network and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz network. Of a dual-band device. With support for wireless ac technology and Beamforming. It also has a button to use WPS technology. And a handy magnetic table stand. It is USB 3.0 and is compatible with both Windows and macOS.