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Best Laptop Network Adapters 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated July 1, 2019
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Maurice TurnerLooking for ways to bring your laptop network adapters to the next level? Then you’ve come to the right place. I’m Maurice Turner. Let’s discuss this topic to help you select best laptop network adapters for 2018 and take your experience to a whole new level with aerators.

In fact, it was the first time I had been in this situation and what I thought was going to be a very quick and easy task turned out to be a good many weeks of research. In this section we provide our readers with a comparison table of our top picks. Scroll past the table for a closer look at each of the 3 best laptop network adapters in our review section.

Best Laptop Network Adapters of 2018

The “Total” indicates the overall value of the product. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Now, let’s get to the gist of the matter: which are the best laptop network adapters for the money? The table below summarizes features, and below you’ll find more detailed reviews of each good.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Ease of use
4 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
5 points
4 points
Awards 1
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№1 – USB Wifi Adapter 600Mbps USBNOVEL Dual Band 2.4G / 5G Wireless Wifi Dongle Network Card for for Laptop Destop Win XP/7/8/10

USB Wifi Adapter 600Mbps USBNOVEL Dual Band 2.4G / 5G Wireless Wifi Dongle Network Card for for Laptop Destop Win XP/7/8/10

Innovative mini dual band wireless adapter, the newest and most powerful wifi technology – 3 times faster than wireless N speeds. Dual band reduces interference for better connections to more wireless networking.
Works with any wifi routers, by using AC600 wireless adapter, you can upgrade your PC,laptop or Mac to work with the latest AC wifi router for faster speed and extended range.
Everything is OK.

Why did this laptop network adapters win the first place?

I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.


Ease of use










№2 – 1200Mbps USB Wifi Adapter USB Wireless Adapter Daul Band

1200Mbps USB Wifi Adapter USB Wireless Adapter Daul Band

ⒶAwesome speed: Maximum speed up to 5GHz 867Mbps or 2.4GHz 300Mbps. Ideal for gaming online and seamless HD video streaming. Ultra-fast AC1200 wireless adapter speed with 802.11ac.
ⒶAwesome 2dBi external antenna design: High Gain Long-Range 2dBi Antenna can help you connect even when signals are weak. Much more stable signal, no more drops, moves in full rotation, easy to set it where you need to pick up the best signal.
Cheap feeling construction.

Why did this laptop network adapters come in second place?

This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery.


Ease of use










№3 – Wsky 1200Mbps Wireless USB Wifi Adapter – Best Dual Band

Wsky 1200Mbps Wireless USB Wifi Adapter - Best Dual Band

Ultra-speed:Upgrade your WIFI speed to 1200Mbps on 5.8GHz or 2.4GHz bands, excellent for reducing freezing and lags when streaming and gaming. Ultra-fast AC1200 wireless network adapter speed with 802.11AC.
Ultra-secure:Support WEP/WPA/WPA2/WAPI/WPS secure Tech, Set up a secure, WPA-encrypted connection with a push of the WPS button, free you from remembering long passwords.
Not enough for all services.
On the more expensive end of the price scale.

Why did this laptop network adapters take third place?

The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.


Ease of use










Laptop Network Adapters Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy laptop network adapters, right? No!

From dial-up to wireless

The days of dial-up are now long gone, and we’re living the era of wireless. With so many companies offering their customers the option of a wireless modem or router, the temptation to upgrade an already existing wired connection is huge. But, for most consumers, receiving a wireless signal is much more complicated than it seems. Most modern computers come with an internal wireless network interface controller (WNIC), but others don’t. If a machine is built from scratch, here may lack a wireless card.

There are plenty of reasons for which to go for a USB Wi-Fi adapter and for switching to a wireless network, and we’ll discuss them all below.

Reasons for choosing Wi-Fi

Even if many consumers are still relying on a wired connection in their homes, the popularity of a wireless network option has been continuously increasing for quite a while now. The wireless Internet subscriptions have decreased in cost very much, and the variety of devices that can connect wirelessly to the Internet has really grown.

Long story short, here are the reasons for which you should definitely switch to a home Wi-Fi network:

You can get immediate network support for MPplayers, cell phones, netbooks, tablets, game systems and more devices with Wi-Fi capabilities.

Satellite and cable providers and Internet-based movie rental businesses as well usually provide a customer the option to stream movies straight to an appropriately equipped TV set via Wi-Fi.

As a consumer, you will be able to wirelessly serve multiple computers in different areas of the house without having to get Ethernet cables installed.

You can offer your guests the opportunity to connect to the Internet via the Wi-Fi connection.

VoIP telephone services can be chosen instead of more expensive landlines.


You should know the fact that internal antennas are good for keeping a low profile, but they will not transmit as far as external ones. The dongles that come with an external antenna will use an SMA connector that allows for easy screw-on attachments of antennas of different sizes. This will allow for cheap solutions to distance and connectivity issues.

Use the installation CD

This method is probably the most popular and the most obvious solution for installing the drivers on your own. You will see that most of the USB Wi-Fi adapters come with a driver CD. You have to insert the CD into your machine, and it will display a window for driver installation and third-party wireless tool for searching networks.

Every wireless adapter will be different than the other ones, but one thing that they all have in common is the fact that you can use them as a replacement of your dead internal card or in case you really want to boost your network’s wireless speed.

It’s time to check out our top picks for USB Wi-Fi network adapters for 2017, so enjoy!

ASUS USB-AC6Dual-Band AC1900 USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter with Included Cradle

In case you are looking for the fastest wireless dongle than this one is really worth your attention. First of all, you should know that this does not come cheap, so if all you need is to simply get online, then you might want to consider some more affordable devices. Having the fastest adapter is not a thing that is needed by most users so unless you really need a fast wireless USB adapter for a desktop or upgrading a laptop, it’s best to choose cheaper units.

Its theoretical speed is 1900 Mbps which is split between 2.GHz (600 Mbps) and GHz (1300 Mbps) frequencies.

It instantly upgrades laptops and desktops to dual-band AC1900 Wi-Fi foe extended coverage and higher output. It features a cradle that provides additional placement options for optimizing coverage for desktops.

Mini USB Wireless WiFi Adapter, Top Internal Antenna Model, 300Mbps, Twice the Strength of the Standard Mini Wireless Internet Dongle, by NET-DYN

Using it is very simple and all you have to do is plug it in, install the drivers, and that’s it. It works on every device running Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP.

All WLAN routers support this 300M adapter, and it is undisturbed by other frequently interfering devices such as cordless phones and Bluetooth. This means that you will not have unexpected dropped calls or loss of signal quality.

With its 100 yards of coverage, you can use it to work from your home, from your backyard or your garage.

Glam Hobby 1200Mbps USB 3.0 mini 802.11ac Dual Band 2.4G/5G Wireless Network Adapter USB Wi-Fi Dongle Adapter

The adapter upgrades PCs to 802.11ac using the latest and the most powerful Wi-Fi technology out there. It is three times faster than wireless N speeds. It is ideal for gaming online and also for seamless HD video streaming.

The dual-band reduces interferences for great connections to more Wi-Fi devices, and it should offer up to 1200Mbps Wi-Fi speeds on 5GHz (867Mbps) and 2.4GHz (300Mbps) bands.

It also features super speed USB 3.0 Port up to ten times faster than USB 2.0. The device can boost speed, reliability and range and it’s designed especially sharply in GHz. It has an innovative mini design, and it is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 7, and XP.

TP-Link AC600 Wireless High Gain Dual Band USB Adapter (Archer T2UH)

This is an entry 802.11ac adapter, and it works pretty well, being compatible with Windows machines. It supports Windows XP/7/8/8.and it is ideal for gaming online and HD video streaming.

It features 600 Mbps Wi-Fi speeds with simultaneous 5GHz (433Mbps) and 2.4GHz (150Mbps) bands. The unit connects to PCs via USB, and it features a compact design and 3ft. cable for easy desktop placement.

It has a high-gain external antenna for increased coverage, and it also features a WPS button for easy wireless security encryption.

Edimax EW-7811Un 150Mbps 11n Wi-Fi USB Adapter, Nano Size Lets You Plug it and Forget it, Ideal for Raspberry Pi

This one is a small and convenient wireless unit, and it is an 802.1n 2.GHz adapter.

It supports 150 Mbps 802.11n Wireless data rate – and this is the latest wireless standard. The unit allows you to have the farthest range with the widest coverage.

The feature called Power Saving is designed to support smart transmit power control and auto-idle state adjustment.

This unit also supports WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) Standard so that users can let different types of data to have higher priority. It includes multi-language EZmax setup wizard.

In case you are not sure which USB network adapter to get, at least make sure to get a dual band one because it will work on most networks. All the options we have presented above are great so feel free to pick one.


These are single networking hardware units that are suitable for homes of around 2,500 square feet or less, though you can always extend Wi-Fi via additional access points (recommended for best performance) or extenders (easier, but slow in speed.) Setups like these are ideal for those who want to get the most out of their home network, including the best security, most features, total control and fastest speed.

Despite the unassuming design, the Synology RT2600ac is one of the best routers on the market.

Wi-Fi systems

Wi-Fi systems, also known as home mesh systems, are sets of multiple hardware units that works together wirelessly to increase Wi-Fi coverage over a wide area. Wi-Fi systems generally can cover some 4000 square feet or more and are typically very easy to use. They are great for novice users who just want to get online quickly and conveniently. In return, they have limited features/settings and are expensive. I don’t use a Wi-Fi system in my home, but these two are my favorite nonetheless.

Who it’s good for: Anyone who wants to have an easy Wi-Fi network without compromising the local coverage range and fast broadband speed.

Our Recommendations

That should help you do some comparison shopping yourself, but if you just want to buy an adapter and get on with your life, here are a few of our recommendations.

For Large Homes/Long Range: D-Link DWA-19AC1900 Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adapter

For Small Homes/Portability: Netgear AC1200 Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adapter 

Quick Tips

Don’t buy a gaming laptop for low-end titles like World of Warcraft or Candy Crush. These games can easily be supported by an integrated graphics card.

Avoid touch screens. They’re more expensive and drain the battery.

17- or 18-inch laptops are typically more powerful, but the least portable while 13-, 14- and 15-inchers are easier to carry but often lack higher-end components.

Make sure the keyboard is comfortable. If you can, take a trip to the store and try out the keyboard before you buy.

Ditch the M. Thanks to Nvidia’s 10-series GPUs, mobile chips are a thing of the past. These new GPUs are faster, more powerful and are VR-ready.  

Avoid laptops with a low-res display (less than 1920 x 1080).

Get solid state storage. Invest in an SSD for faster game installs and load times.

Get a laptop with at least an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU and a HDMI 1.port if you want to be able to enjoy virtual reality games with an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.


The graphics card or GPU is the keystone of your gaming laptop. It delivers the images on your display by processing the data and transmitting the signal to the monitor. Due to how stressful this process can be when running games, you need a discrete GPU with its own dedicated memory, called VRAM (video memory).

Although there tends to be a more-is-better mantra with gaming PCs, the average gaming enthusiast should be OK with 4GB of VRAM. The majority of gaming laptops ship with Nvidia GPUs, but if you’re partial to AMD, there are certain brands that allow you to configure your system accordingly.

Higher Performance

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070: The middle child of Nvidia’s suite of cards, the 1070 GPU is also VR-ready and capable of producing some impressive frame rates, but isn’t quite as good as the 1080. You can expect some serious smooth graphics at 1080p and 4K on top-of-the-line-games such as

Hardcore Gamers and VR-Ready 

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080: This is the card to beat. During our testing, gaming laptops outfitted with a 1080 GPU routinely top the category average on high-end games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto V with the special effects settings and resolution turned all the way up. And of course, Nvidia 1080 can easily support all your virtual-reality adventures. Just be prepared to shell out a pretty penny, since 1080s are only found in high-end systems like the


What’s the point of having butter-smooth frame rates and beautiful graphics if your notebook’s display looks like crap? To prevent against this unfortunate turn of events, here are a few guidelines to follow.

Resolution: The minimum resolution for any gaming laptop is 1920 x 1080 — anything less and you’re asking for muddy graphics. Laptops with QHD (2560 x 1440) or 4K (3840 x 2160) panels are becoming increasingly popular, praised for their striking details and color. There are some gamers that swear by 136x 76because of the increased frame rates, but I implore you to love yourself more and aim a bit higher.

Touch Screens: Some gaming laptops have started offering touch screens, which is nice if you’re going to be playing Candy Crush or Cut the Rope. We’ve tested a broad swath of touch-screen displays and while they make sense for convertible systems or 2-in-1s, this feature is unnecessary on most gaming PCs.

Matte or Glossy: How do you like your displays, glossy or matte? This is more a matter of preference than anything else, but there are die-hard fans for both camps. Team Glossy swears by the vibrant colors, but that shiny surface is very susceptible to annoying glare. Fans of a matte panel don’t have to worry about distracting reflections, but some users complain about washed out color and detail.

OLED: Described as the future of display, an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) panel is comprised of a film of organic compounds that produce light when an electric current is introduced. The technology allows for thinner, more power-efficient panels that deliver incredibly rich color and contrast. The Alienware 1ROLED is currently the only laptop to feature this technology.

G-Sync or FreeSync: Several gaming laptops come with panels that support

Nvidia’s G-Sync  or AMD’s FreeSync technologies, both of which are designed to eliminate unsightly graphical tears and ghosting 0n monitors ranging from 1080p to 4K. While 60Hz is the current minimum refresh rate, there are an increasing number of monitors that offer 120Hz, which offers even faster rendering without introducing stutter. 

Here’s what to look for

Key Travel: Ideally, you want the keys delivering firm feedback without being uncomfortable. For key travel, we’ve determined that the typical depth is between 1.and millimeters, with anything closer to, or over, 2mm being ideal.

Actuation: We also have measured for the optimum amount of force necessary to depress a key and settled at 60 grams, which gives a nice, springy bounce. Keys below the cutoff tend to feel mushy and can potentially slow you down.

Customization: A good gaming keyboard should offer customizable backlighting — not because it’s a necessity, but because it looks freaking cool! In addition to the built-in light show, there should be software that lets you create macros and link them to your lighting profile, as well as the associated game.

Anti-Ghosting –

This is an important feature for gamers that need to press several buttons simultaneously to unleash that kick-ass power move. Anti-ghosting essentially means that you can press a number of keys at once and have them all register.

I’ve noticed more companies are starting to embrace the loud, clicky joy that is the mechanical keyboard. Known for their marvelous springy feedback and trademark clicking sound, these keyboards offer some of the best typing you’re going to get on a laptop. In addition to the MSI GT83VR Titan, you can also get a mechanical keyboard on the Lenovo Ideapad Y900.

If the GPU is the heart of a gaming laptop, then the processor  are the brain and hippocampus. Your laptop’s processor (CPU) handles everything that doesn’t have to do with graphics, such as performing some of a game’s physics calculations and controlling its non-playable characters. It also affects the performance of all of your non-gaming applications, including your browser, OS and productivity apps. When picking out your CPU and RAM, keep the following tips in mind.

Intel only: You probably won’t find a gaming laptop with an AMD CPU.

Choose at least 6th-Gen Core: T he latest generation of Intel CPUs are the chipmaker’s 7th Generation “

Kaby Lake ” series that launched in late 201All Kaby Lake CPUs have model numbers that begin with a (ex: Core i5-7200U) while older, 6th generation chips have IDs that begin with a (ex: Core i5-6200U).

Core iIs Bare Minimum: When you’re shopping for your new gaming PC, an Intel Core iis the slowest CPU you should consider. Dual-core Core imodels are a small step up.

Quad-Core Is Ideal: If you’re in the market for a Core iprocessor, look for a quad-core chip instead of dual-core. You’ll know that a chip is dual-core by looking at the end of its model number. Quad-core Core iCPUs have suffixes ending in HQ or HK. HK chips are the fastest and even allow you to overclock them.

Clock Speed Matters: Keep the clock speed in mind when picking out a CPU as higher numbers equate to faster speeds. A 3.4-GHz Core iprocessor will be noticeably faster than the same chip with 2.GHz. Some of Intel’s new Skylake chips can be overclocked, meaning the speed is adjustable via a program like Intel Extreme Tuning Utility.

8GB Is Enough: Don’t settle for any less than 8GB of RAM. Getting 16GB is a plus, but isn’t as important as having a faster CPU or graphics chip.

Switch Wi-Fi on and off

The basic process to switch your Wi-Fi on and off in Windows is nice and simple. Use the Wi-Fi icon located in the system tray – the section to the far right of the Taskbar. Click on the icon and here you can toggle the Wi-Fi and choose from the different available networks.

Media and Gaming Machines

Before you drop a grand or two on a gaming laptop, you should know what you’re getting for your money. Powerful quad-core processors are par for the course, with Intel Core ichips pushing serious performance even for non-gaming applications. Discrete GPUs from Nvidia and AMD provide silky-smooth graphics and impressive frame rates; some high-end rigs come with two GPUs, helping justify their high prices. External GPU docks are also an option, connected to the laptop via a Thunderbolt cable. Additional features to watch for include high-resolution displays and hard drives that offer 1TB or more of local storage space, so you can store your entire game library on the machine.

Beyond Plastic

As designs get sleeker and slimmer, manufacturers are using an array of materials in their construction. Plastic (or polycarbonate) is the least expensive and most commonly used material in laptop frames, but manufacturers have shown great ingenuity in making plastic not look cheap. The most common technique is in-mold decoration or in-mold rolling, a process made popular by Acer, HP, and Toshiba, in which decorative patterns are infused between plastic layers. This process has evolved into etched imprints and textures, commonly seen on laptop lids.

In the end, though, plastics are often associated with low-priced laptops, while higher-end models rely on metals. Common premium choices include aluminum, which has a more luxurious look, and can be fashioned into a thinner chassis than plastic. Unibody construction, where the entire chassis is made from a single piece of metal, has become the gold standard, as seen on Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro lines. Other all-metal designs mimic this same look and feel, securely sandwiching two separate layers together.

Other common chassis materials include magnesium alloy and carbon fiber, both of which add strength while keeping overall weight low. Glass has long been found covering displays, but with ultra-strong variants like Gorilla Glass, you’ll find the material being used in everything from the lid to the touchpad.

Gaming on a budget

The best price-to-performance ratio, with no dealbreaking flaws.

Strengths: Cheaper and more portable than our main gaming pick, these are for gaming with midrange graphics and 15-inch screens instead of 17-inchers.

Good for: Gamers again, though with tighter budgets or smaller backpacks, especially students

Unfortunately, every affordable gaming laptop we’ve tested has had at least one serious flaw. After spending more than 3hours testing 1cheap gaming laptops, we found that the Dell Inspiron 17000 (7577) is the best one in this price range. It has far better graphics performance than anything else at this price, and it keeps its components and most-touched surfaces cool enough for long gaming sessions. It also has a decent keyboard and trackpad and a great screen, and it’s the easiest to upgrade. But it has mediocre battery life—like most gaming laptops—and its fans get distractingly loud when gaming.

How To Build Your Own PC

It’s very gratifying to build your own PC; as well as intimidating. But the process itself is actually quite simple. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

Read More, taking apart the case and locating this port on your motherboard should be pretty easy.

That said, some people might not be comfortable doing this sort of work on their own computer. It’s not hard, but opening up your PC and working with electrostatically-sensitive parts

Static electricity is the number one computer hardware killer, and its everywhere! Panic aside, if you do any work with computer components – even as simple as upgrading your memory – you need to know…

How Dual-Band Routers Can Solve Your Wireless Woes

Using a router that supports the dual-band standard can significantly boost your Wi-Fi speeds in many circumstances.

Read More is recommended. Having the option to use the 2.GHz or 5.0 GHz transmission standards is helpful for getting the best reception. 2.GHz, while slower, is stronger and will penetrate walls and other obstacles more readily.

While almost all PCI-e adapters are dual-band, not all USB adapters are. The TP-Link N300 (UK), for example, is 802.11n-capable and very affordable, but single-band. You’ll usually find dual-band capability prominently featured in the title, as you can see here:

The two most important features

While it’s still possible to purchase a wired router, the type that require you to physically plug in your devices with an Ethernet cable, Wi-Fi (wireless) models are the most flexible tools for connecting devices in today’s increasingly wireless world.

Here’s some quick info on the top two features that matter most when it comes to wireless routers: wireless range and wireless speed.

Wireless Speed

Wireless speeds have come a long way since Wi-Fi routers first hit the market. Wireless AC routers are 3x faster than Wireless N and Wireless N routers are 14x faster than Wireless G. Moral of the story? If you use real-time applications, like gaming or streaming video, Wireless AC will offer a superior experience to N or G.

Wireless Signals & Beamforming Technology

In typical wireless routers, Wi-Fi signals broadcast using multiple antennas and Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology. MIMO allows for higher data transfer rate due to the transmission of multiple data symbols by simultaneously using multiple antennas.  The Wi-Fi signals are broadcast in a donut shape pattern from the router to blanket the area with Wi-Fi coverage. In more advanced routers, beamforming technology is added, which provides additional performance and coverage to devices. Rather than emit Wi-Fi waves in a donut shape, routers with beamforming technology find and track devices on your network and aim Wi-Fi signals directly at them, providing a much stronger signal especially beneficial for mobile devices.

The Monster

You only want the best of the best, whether it’s 4K media streaming, or lag free online gaming all on multiple  devices you’re looking for top 11AC speeds, and the latest wireless technologies like Smart Connect, AC Smart Beam, Tri-Band Wi-Fi and MU-MIMO Technology D-Link recommends the AC5300 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-895L/R).

Maximum wireless signal rate derived from IEEE Standard 802.1specifications. Actual data throughput will vary. Network conditions and environmental factors, including volume of network traffic, buildings materials and construction, and network overhead, lower actual data throughput rate. Environmental factors will adversely affect wireless signal range. D-Link is a registered trademark of D-Link Corporation or its subsidiaries. All other third-party marks mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Who this is for

A powerline networking kit is a great way to extend your home network to the distant reaches of your house using your existing electrical wiring. A powerline kit contains two adapters, each with at least one Ethernet port and an electrical plug. One adapter plugs into an outlet near your router and connects to it with an included Ethernet cable. Plug in the other where you need an Internet connection and hook it up to your device with the other Ethernet cable. You can extend your powerline network by buying more adapters, either individually or in kits—it’s usually cheaper to buy a two-adapter kit, even if you need only one more. To add rooms to your powerline network, you just need adapters in those rooms; you can use the same router-side adapter for your entire network. All of the adapters we tested claim support for up to 1adapters on the same powerline network.

Although powerline is like Ethernet in that it uses actual wires to deliver its signal, its signal still degrades over distance like Wi-Fi, especially if the adapters are on different electrical circuits. Despite its limitations, powerline is a useful way to extend your network to areas where Wi-Fi doesn’t reach and running an Ethernet cord would be impractical (like a garage, attic, or faraway bedroom).

Wi-Fi extenders are another option for extending the range of your network. These let you bring signal to any device with Wi-Fi, and almost all extenders have at least one Ethernet port. However, they tend to be more expensive than powerline kits and can interfere with your existing Wi-Fi signal (causing slowness or signal drops). If your home has issues with powerline networking and you can’t run a physical Ethernet cable, extenders are a good option.

How we picked and tested

This year’s powerline kits are faster than last year’s, but much bulkier. Left to right: the TP-Link TL-PA9020 kit, Zyxel PLA5456KIT, D-Link DHP-701AV, and Zyxel PLA5405KIT. Photo: Nathan Edwards

Powerline networking adapters provide a network connection in places where it’s impractical to use Ethernet or Wi-Fi, so speed is the most important factor in deciding between them. The AV2000 kits we tested this year were twice as fast as last year’s fastest models. If you’re starting from scratch, we recommend getting the latest-generation kits because your network is only as fast as its slowest component.

Every kit we’ve tested in the last two years except for one has a claimed data rate above Gbps and complies with the latest HomePlug AVstandard. AVcompliance is important because it guarantees better speed, security, and reliability compared with older versions. The standard requires that every adapter have a Gigabit Ethernet port to avoid bottlenecking the connection, plus push-button AES 128-bit encryption to secure your network traffic from neighbors who might share your electrical wiring. AValso allows each adapter to act as a repeater. If the device you need to connect to your router is so far away (either in physical distance or in the number of electrical circuits the signal needs to traverse) that even your powerline signal is weak, you can put another powerline adapter midway between the two to extend the signal. For more on how we picked, see our full guide.

We tested two new AV2000 kits, the Zyxel PLA5456KIT and TP-Link TL-PA9020KIT, against two of the fastest adapters from last year, the Zyxel PLA5405KIT and the D-Link DHP-701AV.

We connected one adapter from each kit to an Asus RT-AC66U AC1750 dual-band wireless Gigabit router, and the other adapter to a Lenovo ThinkPad T460 laptop. A desktop PC with an Intel 82579V Gigabit NIC connected to the router was our iPerf server.

Many factors influence the speeds of powerline network adapters. Your mileage will vary for a number of reasons, covered in the Who this is for section of our full guide.

Our pick

The TP-Link TL-PA9020P was the fastest kit we tested, and it has dual Ethernet ports and a handy management utility. Photo: Nathan Edwards

The TP-Link TL-PA9020P kit is the best powerline adapter kit for most people because it was the fastest in our tests and had the best software, too. Along with the runner-up Zyxel PLA5456KIT, it’s the fastest kit we’ve ever tested. It has a passthrough AC power outlet, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a two-year warranty, and it comes with two 78-inch Ethernet cables. It’s bulky enough to partially block the outlet above it, but all the smaller adapters we tested were much slower.

The TP-Link offered the fastest performance in all the most important locations. In the two test locations farthest from the router, the TP-Link kit had average speeds between 80 and 90 Mbps. That’s not as fast as the Ethernet or the Wi-Fi—again, you should use those options if you can—but it was enough to beat the Zyxel PLA5456KIT, and more than twice as fast as the two fastest kits from last year (Zyxel’s PLA5405KIT and D-Link’s DHP-701AV). It’s more than fast enough to run several 4K video streams at the same time, and faster than the Internet connections most people in the US have.

In this article

D-Link DHP-701AV, gadgetry, gadgets, gear, partner, powerlinekit, powerlinenetworkingadapters, syndicated, thewirecutter, TP-Link TL-PA9020, wirecutter, Zyxel PLA5405KIT, Zyxel PLA5456KIT

ASUS USB-AC6Dual-Band AC1900

For those who don’t want the PCI-express solution, Asus has a bird like wireless adapter for you guys that plugs right into the USB port of your computer and in addition to that, it also comes with a really handy docking station that you can use to extend the connection, and put the device somewhere else.

Now the build quality is something that we really like about this adapter, it’s small, compact, and looks really stylish with red accents on the black construction. It is a clear reminiscent of Asus’ ROG lineup, and that is something we certainly appreciate. The antennas fold in and out of the USB itself, and setting it up is a breeze.

Now when it comes to the performance, we had some reservations mainly because this isn’t a PCI-express interface we’re talking about, however, the good thing is that the USB 3.0 interface helps it maintain the overall stability, and that coupled with a good internet connection provide a lot of speed, and stability.

Plus, the adapter has a really small form factor, so even if you are someone who is concerned with having a small amount of desk space, you shouldn’t worry because the adapter is almost the length of a finger.

We really don’t have any problems with this adapter, and even though it is something coming from Asus, despite our prying eyes, we didn’t manage to find a single problem, regardless of our gaming sessions, or normal workflow with this adapter.

D-Link Systems AC1900 Ultra Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adapter (DWA-192)

The last wireless adapter in the AC1900 section is the D-Link Systems AC1900 Ultra Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adapter, and for those who are finding the name to be a mouthful, you can also look it up as the DWA-19This somewhat odd looking wireless adapter surprised us with the performance.

While the model doesn’t say it’s made for gaming, our testing revealed that it’ll give you a performance as good as what is provided with the Ethernet connections, and that alone is some sort of testament, providing you the finest performance possible.

Now when we say that this looks odd, we say that because the wireless adapter is basically a perfectly round shaped adapter, something that we haven’t seen before. It’s basically a ball shaped adapter with a USB 3.0 port on the back that you use to connect it to the device you’re willing to use it with and that’s it.

The general setting up and installation is really, really easy, and once it’s done, you can go ahead and disable your built-in chip, and even if you don’t do that, it shouldn’t be an issue at all.

However, we have some small gripes with the adapter, but the good thing is that it has nothing to do with the speed or the overall performance; as compared to some of the other offerings in the market, this wireless adapter is quite heavy, and in addition to that, it’s also pretty expensive to begin with. Something that may raise some concerns among the conscious buyers.

A lot of people think that the AC1300 is a single band standard, however, it’s not true, as a matter of fact, AC1300 is a dual band standard that supports both 2.and 5.0 gigahertz frequencies, but at lower speeds, it provides 400 Mbps on the 2.band, and around 900 Mbps on the 5.0 gigahertz band.

Due to the standard being not as common, we didn’t manage to find a lot of options to fill in this list.

D-Link Wireless Dual Band AC1200 DWA-182

We are now looking at D-Link’s DWA-182, a USB interfaced wireless adapter that is relatively cheap to buy, and offers some respected performance when it comes to having a dual band adapter. While there’s nothing striking about the plain black USB stick with some brandings on the top, it’s the performance that matters, right?

The overall procedure of setting this adapter up is pretty straightforward, and if you have the appropriate, and basic knowhow of computers, you won’t be having any issues. The performance side of things remained relatively solid with no inconsistencies or packet data losses, meaning that you are getting the best possible performance.

One really good thing by D-Link is the inclusion of a wireless manager utility application that provides a lot of information about the connection than it is available, and while it is not necessary for everyone, it’s still an important and a nice feature to have.

With all the good things aside, the sad thing is that this wireless adapter brings some bad news to us as well, the weird thing is that if you don’t have a D-Link router, this adapter won’t be connecting at all, and in addition to that, as compared to some of the competition, this one costs a bit too high, and that will obviously push the potential buyers away.

Overall, if you can overlook the compatibility issues, as well the issues with the price, you’ve got yourself a fairly decent wireless adapter.

Alfa Long-Range Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless

Not a lot of people have heard about the Alfa Network, but they happen to be one of the oldest companies in the business who have provided us with some really amazing products to boot. Today, we are looking at the simply named Alfa Long-Range Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless, and while it may seem that this no-named piece of wireless adapter doesn’t provide a lot, the good news is that it does.

For starters, you get a rather stylish looking USB with long antennas, the USB itself can be attached to a suppled dock, but if you don’t want that, attaching it with the computer itself is as simple as it gets. We really like the design quality, however, it would be pretty hard to judge a wireless adapter though the design, so let’s get into the performance side of things.

We saw surprisingly amazing performance through this wireless adapter, and the reason we are saying that the performance was amazing is because it doesn’t cost a lot, and in addition to that, we were not really properly aware of the company itself. However, everything went as promised, and the gaming, as well as our normal workload was handled by this little thing like a champ.

Installation was a walk in the park, however, one thing that really, really surprised us was of course the price tag. It is one of the cheapest wireless adapters available in the market, and it is providing an amazing price to performance ratio, something that is bound to make things interesting.

Linksys Dual-Band AC1200 WUSB6300

As we are heading towards the end of the list, we are getting to see cheaper, and cheaper products in terms of price to performance ratio, needless to say, these products are catering to the users who want the best of the both worlds without really spending a lot.

Say hello to the Linksys Dual-Band AC1200 WUSB6300, a relatively inexpensive, and ordinary looking wireless adapter that performs way above the price point, and manages to remain as stable as possible. Obviously, you wouldn’t think Linksys is capable of delivering something so good, at such a low price point, but it has happened, and happened rather well.

We spent about a week testing this little puppy, seeing if it actually performs according to our expectations, and the good thing is that it did, and not just that, it did pass the tests really well. In order to test all the wireless adapters, we ran an hour long match in Battlefield to make sure that the demand of a consistent connection is as important as it gets, and to our surprise, there was no disappointment at all.

The connection was consistent, there were no packet data losses, and latency issues was not present. The good thing is that the installation of this wireless adapter is as simple as it gets, and in most cases, a simple plugging in will have the device show up in Windows.

Overall, it’s really hard to judge the Linksys Dual-Band AC1200 WUSB6300 mainly because it provides you a lot without really taking a toll on the price or some other factors to begin with.

AC900 is another dual band standard that isn’t as common, but manages to exist anyway. This is perhaps the only standard where the speed on both bands is always equal regardless of the internet connection you are using. This standard provides an impressive 450 Mbps to both the 2.and the 5.0 gigahertz channel, keeping things nice and even.

TP-Link Wireless Dual Band PCI Express Adapter (TL-WDN4800)

Considering how the AC900 standard isn’t as common, we only managed to find this little fella that impressed us enough to add it to our list. Say hello to the TP-Link Wireless Dual Band PCI Express Adapter (TL-WDN4800). Now TP-Link is a company that needs no introduction, but if some slightly unaware people exist, then they should know that the company is responsible for bringing us some of the best wireless routers, modems, and adapters.

We’d only expect that the TP-Link Wireless Dual Band PCI Express Adapter (TL-WDN4800) is no different; as the name suggests, it uses the PCI-E interface, something that is highly revered in our books, and far better than the USB interface. The device comes with antennas that will be coming out from the back of your case.

A drive disc is provided but if you’re running Windows or later, you won’t be needing any driver installation, something that is always preferred. As for the performance side of things, there’s good news, especially for gamers on budget. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t break your bank, and makes sure that you get the most amount of kills in any Counter Strike or Battlefield match, the TP-Link Wireless Dual Band PCI Express Adapter (TL-WDN4800) is your pick.

Our testing showed absolutely no performance drops or whatsoever, the wireless adapter performed as it should, and several network tests showed absolutely no inconsistencies. Needless to say, we’re pretty pleased with what TP-Link is offering here, and considering the price you’re paying here, it’s actually, surprisingly well made.

While it is certainly the lowest standard we have here, this one also happens to be a dual band, however, with very limited speeds to offer. On the 2.gigahertz band, it’s offering 150 Mbps speed, however, on the 5.0 gigahertz band, it is offering a speed of 450 Mbps, however, bear in mind that for those looking to break speed barriers, this is certainly not the best pick.

View them online from Apple here.

If you want you can upgrade the processor to 1.4GHz, while you can also choose between either 8GB or 16GB of RAM.

While the clock speeds are only slightly higher than those featured in 2016’s 12in MacBooks, they should be faster in practice thanks to more modern Kaby Lake processor architecture. The RAM is faster, too: 1866MHz, up from 1600MHz in 2015.

The energy-efficient chips also help with battery life, adding up to an hour more than their predecessors: hours of web use, or 1hours of movie watching, with 30 days of standby – at least according to Apple.

While this is the lightest and perhaps prettiest MacBook available, it’s also one of the most expensive, and – while the new processors have closed the gap – they remain relatively low-powered for the price.

The other major downside is that it includes just a single USB-C port for both charging and data transfer. USB-C is the new standard of USB that will soon be widespread, but for now there’s an awkward transition phase during which you’ll need adapters (and they don’t come cheap) in order to use some accessories and peripherals.

While it is an utter joy to look at, and nice to use, we still feel it costs too much for too little.

Read our preview of the 20112in MacBook or, if you’d like to compare it to the previous model, our review of 2016’s 12in MacBook.

Two Nvidia GeForce GTX cards in an SLI arrangement

But check first to see which configurations your motherboard supports, before buying more cards than you’ll actually be able to make use of. Certain boards and underlying chipsets support SLI and CrossFireX to varying degrees. (See our guide to motherboard terms.)

Crucial MX200 SSD in M.format

Unlike conventional SSDs, M.drives look less like hard drives and more like expansion cards (or sticks of gum). They connect directly to the motherboard, where supported, via M.interfaces that use either SATA or faster PCI Express bus technology. As is usually the case, the extra speed comes at a price; and that price might be more than you’re willing to spend for the time being. But making sure your system’s motherboard offers an M.connection, even if you’re not going to immediately make use of it, can help make it a little more future-proof. (See our guide to the best M.SSDs.)





How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the Laptop Network Adapters by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Laptop Network Adapters wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of Laptop Network Adapters



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