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

Last Updated April 1, 2019
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Maurice TurnerI’m Willow Maurice Turner. My friends call me “stone” and it just kind of stuck. After 31 hours of research including speaking with consultants and experts, and plenty of parents and 18 hours spent testing 10 usb network adapters, I believe that I found the best usb network adapters of 2018.

In this article, I will be categorizing the items according to their functions and most typical features. What I would like you to remember as you browse my website is that I don’t work in the industry so the reviews I have are based on good old fashioned honesty.

Best USB Network Adapters of 2018

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Here, I will review 3 of the best usb network adapters of 2018, and we will also discuss the things to consider when looking to purchase one. I hope you will make an informed decision after going through each of them. There’s a product for every kind of user on the list of affordable options below. Simply review and buy them.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Product
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Style
5 points
4 points
5 points
Size
5 points
5 points
4 points
Performance
4 points
4 points
4 points
Quality
5 points
5 points
4 points
Awards 1
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№1 – StarTech USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet NIC Network Adapter – USB to RJ45 for 10/100/1000 Network

 
StarTech USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet NIC Network Adapter - USB to RJ45 for 10/100/1000 Network

Pros
Compatible with Gigabit Ethernet networks and powered via USB for versatility and portability as an add-on or replacement
Uses built-in Checksum and Large Send Offload support and Jumbo Frames, the Gigabit USB adapter helps conserve system resources
Backed by a StarTech 2-year warranty and free lifetime technical support
Cons
For such a price and the level of quality it can’t even have any cons, only pick holes.
 
Total:
4.8

Why did this usb network adapters win the first place?

I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.

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Style
5

5star

Size
5

5star

Performance
4

4star

Quality
5

5star

 

 

№2 – 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

Pros
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.
Cons
A bit pricier.
It smelled a little, but it didn’t last for a long time..
 
Total:
4.5

Why did this usb network adapters come in second place?

The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed.

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Style
4

4star

Size
5

5star

Performance
4

4star

Quality
5

5star

 

 

№3 – AmazonBasics USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

 
AmazonBasics USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

Pros
Connects a USB 3.0 device (computer/tablet) to a router, modem, or network switch to deliver Gigabit Ethernet to your network connection
Supported features include Wake-on-LAN function, Green Ethernet & IEEE 802.3az-2010 (Energy Efficient Ethernet)
Cons
Soft parts prone to damage.
Requires some skill/knowledge to use.
 
Total:
4.3

Why did this usb network adapters take third place?

It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.

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Style
5

5star

Size
4

4star

Performance
4

4star

Quality
4

4star

 

 

USB Network Adapters Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy usb 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.

Antennas

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.

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 

Routers

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.

Dodocool USB-C Charging Hub

For laptops that support only USB-C the Dodocool USB-C charging hub is a neat gadget that allows you to add on four full-size USB 3.0 ports that can handle data transfer at up to 5Gb/s, and still charge your device via the USB-C input at the bottom.

The Dodocool is a great-looking device, available with a gold or grey matt aluminium outer casing. It feels well made and is easy to use, with no drivers required.

OWC USB-C Dock

One of the unavoidable facts about the USB-C MacBook is the lack of ports. But, if you’re here, you probably don’t mind and have taken the plunge anyway. If you love the portability of the MacBook but also want the option of full-on ports and desktop usability, then the OWC dock is the best product on the market.

It’s designed to bring easy compatibility and maximum productivity to what is a limited laptop in some ways. The dock needs mains power to run, but it’s worth it for the pay off. You get full USB-C power to your machine, as well as (wait for it) USB Type-A ports, USB-C port, SD card reader, HDMI with 4K support, Ethernet port, audio port and a USB-C computer link port. So, a lot.

It allows you to connect a plethora of devices of all ages to your brand new laptop, as well as connect it to a display via HDMI. This is thankfully compatible with DisplayPort and can manage 4K options, so if you want you use your MacBook at home or in the office with four or five things plugged in, this is the option to go for.

It’s a tad complicated to set up and only comes with cables (power and USB-C to USB-C) but as long as you only use it at one workstation it’s the best all-out solution we’ve used.

Syncwire Nylon-Braided USB-C to USB-A Cable

Cables are one of the classic accessories where people like to save money – especially after they look at the prices Apple itself charges for replacements.

Unfortunately, being a cable cheapskate can sometimes be a false economy – you save money on each cable, but they break and require replacing so often that it doesn’t really work out any cheaper in the end. Luckily, Syncwire’s nylon-braided cables are impressively solid, without breaking the bank.

The nylon jacket will resist damage from moisture or bending, without sacrificing any flexibility, and it supports data transfer speeds up to 5Gbps, and charging output up to 3A.

Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable

Apple will have its reasons, but if you have an iPhone and a MacBook or new MacBook Pro, you can’t plug in your iPhone to your laptop. Even the latest iPhone ships with a Lightning to USB-A cable for old connections.

So, one of the only options is a USB-C to lightning cable like this. Once you take the hit, you’re likely not to need another iPhone to MacBook cable for a while.

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:

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.

Internal vs External Design

The first choice you should probably make when considering a wireless adapter is between an internal or external device. This decision really comes down to your setup and what you need, but if you pick an external adapter, be sure it has a long enough cord for where you want to place it.

External

An external adapter physically connects to your computer and you can place it on your desk or similar location. These devices are great for use with laptops or if you want to be able to easily swap the adapter between different systems, but you need to make sure you have space for it in your work area.

Compatible Standards

Once you have determined whether you want an internal or external device, this is probably the next most important consideration as you look at different models. You need to be sure you choose an adapter that is compatible with the standards of your wireless router or other device sending a signal to your hardware.

The standards for wireless connectivity are indicated by a letter, usually after the number “802.11” or word “Wireless” in hardware’s description, for example: Wireless-N or 802.11g. What you really need to look for here is that your adapter is compatible with whatever standard your router or other hardware is using to create your wireless network.

Most of these are backwards compatible, so if you have an 802.11b router, then a Wireless-G adapter will work with it. For the fastest performance possible, pick an adapter and other hardware with Wireless-AC1900 support.

Wireless Data Rate

It is very important to consider the wireless data rate of an adapter to be sure you are not losing speed on your computer’s end of the network. Data transfers at a certain rate based on your service provider and type of Internet, and your modem, gateway, and router can all impact a network’s data rates.

If your wireless adapter is slower than your other hardware, however, then all of the speed can be lost and it creates a bottleneck in your network. Be sure you match or exceed the data rates of your other networking hardware and service; look for rates of at least 150Mbps, but if you have a really fast network, then go for a model with a rate of 300Mbps, 433Mbps, or faster.

Frequency Band

The frequency band of an adapter refers to the radio frequency or frequencies the device can send and receive signals through. The most important thing here is to make sure that whatever you choose matches the rest of your networking hardware.

You will probably see 2.4GHz or 2.4GHz/5.0GHz as the most common options for wireless adapters. 2.4GHz is very common and will work with most basic wireless networks, while 2.4GHz/5.0GHz is for dual-band networks utilizing two frequency bands for greater signal fidelity and performance. As long as an adapter with a frequency band matches your other wireless networking hardware, you should be fine.

Included Software

While the types of network and data rates are primary concerns, it is also worth looking at the software that comes bundled with any adapter you consider. Good software can make it easier to set up your network and keep it secure. If you already have utilities and software that you prefer for networking, then this is a negligible concern, but otherwise look at what is included.

You want to choose a model which includes software to make networking simple. Pick an adapter which includes programs for setting up and managing your network, along with security options to ensure unauthorized users aren’t  able to access your network and data.

Nick Guy

When the 12-inch MacBook was introduced in early 2015, USB-C was merely a curiosity for most people, but now that many new laptops have dropped legacy ports, USB-C has gone from interesting to important. The new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models, as well as Windows laptops from HP, Asus, and Acer, offer only USB-C ports, and a number of Android smartphones use USB-C as their only physical connection. This all means that a critical mass of people need cables, adapters, and other ways to get older gear working with newer devices.

How we picked and tested

Each different type of adapter or connector we evaluated required different kinds of testing, but we were able to use some common tests across the board. Our main testing machine was a MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt Ports), with ancillary testing done using a 201Dell XPS 13, our pick for the best Windows ultrabook.

We tested the data-transfer speed of the USB ports on hubs and adapters using our favorite flash drive from SanDisk; specifically, we used the AJA System Test app to measure the read and write speeds of the USB 3.0 drive. We repeated this process three times per device, averaging the results; if an adapter or hub had multiple USB ports, we repeated the test for each port. To test USB-C–to–USB-A cables, we connected Samsung’s Portable SSD T(one of the fastest drives with a USB-C connection) to the Dell XPS 1and ran CrystalDiskMark. It’s rare to see USB 3.Gen devices at this point, but we’ll test on the faster standard when it’s more common.

We tested video adapters using a Dell P2715Q (our pick for the best 4K display), Intel’s Skull Canyon NUC computer, an older VGA monitor, and a 1080p TV. We measured the refresh rate using the Blur Busters Motion Tests.

A great cable for power and data

This certified cable charges and passes data as quickly as any other, and it’s built well.

Chances are, you’ll eventually need a USB-C–to–USB-C cable, whether it’s to replace the charging cable for a USB-C laptop, phone, or tablet, or to transfer data between USB-C devices. For now, power is the more-common need—few hard drives yet have USB-C ports, and USB-C phones and tablets sync most data with the cloud. You’ll find a ton of inexpensive options, but while we’d normally lean towards saving a few bucks on cables, it’s not worth the risk with USB-C: As Google engineer Benson Leung found out—the hard way, as they say—some cables that don’t adhere to the USB-C specification can actually fry your computer. You should spend a little bit more to get something that’s verified to work safely with your machine.

USB-C–to–DisplayPort cable

Accell’s U188B-006B USB-C to DisplayPort Cable, Plugable’s USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter Cable, and StarTech’s USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter Cable are identical to one another and work as well as our top pick—they just lack the clip that “locks” the DisplayPort plug in place. Don’t hesitate to get one of these if the price is particularly good or if our pick is out of stock.

USB-A hubs

The design of Monoprice’s Select Series USB-C to 4x USB-A 3.0 & USB-C (F) Adapter makes it difficult to fit USB plugs in adjacent ports simultaneously.

Aukey’s CB-C2is inexpensive but especially large compared to the competition. Our testing also showed that one of the ports provided more power than the rest, which was strange and a bit concerning.

USB-C–to–USB-A cable

Nathan K. has verified two other USB 3.Gen cables: the Anker USB-C to USB 3.0 Cable and the Anker PowerLine+ USB-C to USB 3.0 Cable. The former is more expensive than our pick with worse build quality, while the latter is about double the price of our pick. The braided cable of the PowerLine+ may be a bit sturdier than our pick’s, but we don’t think most people need to pay extra for the rugged design. The PowerLine+ did work well in our testing, if you happen to prefer its looks or want something that’s overbuilt.

TP-Link M7350 4G Mobile Router

TP-Link’s M7350 sits at the top of our chart in large part thanks to being network-unlocked. That means although you’ll pay in full upfront, you can choose any data deal from any UK network operator, and you aren’t tied to a contract.

The TP-Link’s 2550mAh battery should be good for up to hours of 4G connectivity, but lasts days on standby.

EE 4GEE WiFi Mini

EE’s 4GEE WiFi Mini is a good-looking MiFi that comes with three interchangeable colour bands and a cloth pouch. It lets you connect up to devices at once, and has a 1500mAh battery inside for up to 50 hours battery life on standby. A benefit of buying from EE is the decent-value data allowances and ‘double-speed 4GEE’ fast network. However, don’t be fooled by the 100MB of free EU data per month – you’ll quickly whizz through that when using the Mini abroad.

Several plans are available for the Mini, and EE recommends the £23-per-month 16GB plan for which you pay nothing up front, but it goes up as high as 64GB for £30.50 each month.

GlocalMe U2

The GlocalMe Uis an Indiegogo-funded project that offers a mobile Wi-Fi router quite unlike others on the market. It’s best suited to frequent travellers who want to quickly and cheaply get online anywhere in the world, but it’s a useful device for back home too, especially for business users who are tired of dealing with flaky internet connections while commuting.

With embedded encryption the Ualso presents a safer method of getting online than connecting to potentially vulnerable public Wi-Fi hotspots.

It’s able to work as a standard Mi-Fi device, sharing the data connection of a mobile SIM (the network-unlocked Glocal Uaccepts both full-size and Micro-SIMs) with up to five devices, but what’s more interesting about the GlocalMe Uis its cloud-SIM functionality. You don’t need to insert a local SIM in this mobile router in order to get online in over 100 countries – you simply put some PAYG credit on it or buy a data pack and away you go.

GlocalMe works with multiple network operators including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Orange, China Mobile, Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, China Telecom and China Unicom, and supports a wide range of connectivity bands. Because it will automatically connect to the best network wherever you are, you’ll often find – as we did – that getting online via the Uis faster than with your current SIM.

Most data packages last 30 days, and the Uitself can keep going for up to 1hours on a single charge, which should easily power you through any working day. When the 3,500mAh battery runs down charging is fast (around 3.hours) over a 3A Micro-USB connection.

Vodafone Huawei R216

Vodafone’s offering is just as fast but not quite as good as those from Three or EE, allowing you to connect only up to five devices at once. The

R214G Mobile Wi-Fi is great value if you use a lot of data, though, with as much as 50GB of data available for just £30 per month – that’s with no upfront fee on a 24-month plan. If you don’t use a lot of data then the £1a month you’ll pay for just 2GB sounds a little steep.

Three Huawei E5330

The E5330 is a basic MiFi that supports only a 3G network, but if you can’t access 4G where you live then it might appeal. At its lowest price the E5330 starts at £per month with 2GB of data on a two-year contract, but you can get as much as 20GB for £2per month on a two-year contract. Opting for pay as you go or reducing the contract term increases the price.

Forward

TP-LINK TL-WPA4220KIT ADVANCED AV500 Wi-Fi Powerline Extender Starter Kit with LAN Ports, Up to 300Mbps Wireless Seamless Networking – 300Mbps Wi-Fi Range Extender, AV500 Powerline Edition The TL-WPA4220KIT instantly expands wired and wireless network connections to hard-to-reach areas of your home and office, bypassing the limitations of traditional range extender solutions by using HomePlug AV technology. It establishes a stable Powerline network connection through existing el..

 

 

 

 

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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 USB Network Adapters wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of USB Network Adapters

 

 

Questions? Leave a comment below!

Chatting about USB Network Adapters is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better!



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