23 WiFi adapters review: upgrade your WiFi

Affordable models are also capable of very decent speeds


USB adapters

ASUS sent us two adapters. The USB-AC56 features a case with a striking design. The USB-AC68 has two extendable antennas and it also comes with a stand. The former features a 3x3 configuration, the latter features 3x4. The performance difference between the two is enormous, despite the fact that both feature a USB 3.0 port. The USB-AC68 is by far the fastest USB adapter and is capable of speeds higher than 500 Mbit/s. The price difference between the two is about 10 pounds, however if you're looking for a fast USB adapter, the USB-AC68 is your best choice.

USB-AC56 (left) and the USB-AC68 (right) ASUS


The German AVM always makes something special of their networking products. A good example of this are their routers featuring a DECT station for wireless phones. The design of the AVM Fritz!Wlan AC860 stands out immediately: it's a combination between a transparent case and a red top. It's also worth noting that AVM has built in some storage, on which the driver is located. Very useful if you don't have a working internet connection to download the driver. The performance of the Fritz!WLAN is decent, as it belongs to the better-performing models. Furthermore it's also priced pretty well. 

AVM Fritz!Wlan AC860


If we had an award for most remarkable design, it would go to D-Link. The D-Link AC600 High Gain is basically a huge antenna with a USB connection. It's not very practical if you want to plug it into a laptop. The performance of this adapter is a bit worse compared to the fastest models, however its price of about 25 pounds is very attractive. If you have reception issues the AC600 is an interesting option due to its pricing. The D-Link DWA-192 features an even more remarkable design. This sphere is connected via USB 3.0 to your PC. Despite the remarkable design it offers a pretty good throughput speed, however it's not very cheap, on average it'll set you back about 57 pounds.

AC600 High Gain (left) and DWA-192 (right) from D-Link


Edimax has been a trusted name in the networking world for years. The products from this company are generally not very remarkable, but also not very expensive, while the performance in most cases does not disappoint. We are quite impressed by the Edimax AC600 which the company sent to us for this test. It's nice and compact, however it's not the smallest adapter from this test and it's slightly too big to leave it plugged into your laptop. The performance isn't anything to write home about, however its price of 15 pounds makes up for a lot.

Edimax has also got you covered if you want significantly better performance, with their Edimax EW-7833UAC. It has an extendable antenna and also it performs very well all things considered. It costs 45 pounds on average and therefore it's definitely a device worth shortlisting.

AC600 (left) and the EW-7833UAC (right) from Edimax


The Dutch Eminent is also participating in this test with two models, the Eminent EM4530 and the Eminent EM4535. Even though their type number is very similar, the two devices do not look similar at all. The EM4535 is a simple stick, whereas the EM4530 (37 pounds) is a stand with two large antennas on top. Surprisingly enough the impressively designed EM4530 does not perform better than average, while the cheaper EM4535 (31 pounds) clearly belongs to the better-performing adapters. The price difference between the two is small, however: the better-performing EM4535 is a bit cheaper, which makes choosing between the two a no-brainer.

EM4530 (left) and EM4535 (right) from Eminent


The comapct size of the Linksys WUSB6100 make it ideal for usage with a laptop. The performance of this adapter disappoint however, as it's the slowest models tested by us. This is quite a shame, as the device is compact while also supporting MU-MIMO. With MU-MIMO you should be able to achieve better performance if you combine the adapter with a compatible router and other devices that support this technology, when multiple devices are communicating simultaneously with the network. The average price of 35 pounds is too high however to purchase it purely based on its modern features. 

Linksys WUSB6100


The adapter we received from Netgear listens to the name Netgear A6210. It stands out due to its extendable antenna. Furthermore its also priced attractively compared to other adapters with a similar design. It performs quite well, however ASUS, Eminent and Edimax have devices that perform even better. Mainly Edimax has a faster model, which by the way only costs about ten bucks more, so that is why we would net recommend this model from Netgear in the first place.

Netgear A6210


The Dutch Sitecom has sent us no less than three adapter for this test: the WLA-3001, WLA3100 and the WLA-7100. The first one is the one that stands out the most, as it's nothing more than just a small plug for your USB port. Very useful indeed if you don't want anything to stick out of your laptop. This does translate however to very mediocre performance.

Sitecom WLA-3001

No pain, no gain. The average price of 24 pounds is not too bad, however the TP-Link Archer T1U is smaller, barely slower and almost ten bucks cheaper. The WLA-3100 (20 pounds) and WLA-7100 (43 pounds) are quite a bit larger. The performance of these adapters are better compared to the WLA-3001, however compared to the competition both aren't really that impressive. What's more the price of the WLA-7100 is a bit on the high side.

WLA3100 (left) and WLA-7100 (right) from Sitecom


Startech.com sent us the compact USB433WACDB. Its price of 33 pounds isn't exceptionally high, however for its price class the device does not impress, in terms of performance. It definitely belongs to the worse-performing models. Don't buy it. 

Startech.com USB433WACDB


TP-Link also sent us no less than three adapters. The smallest is the aforementioned Archer T1U, which can be yours for no more than 20 pounds. It's very useful if you're looking for an adapter that can simply be plugged into and left in your laptop. Its performance is nothing impressive, however what's even more annoying is that it turned out be not very stable in our tests. For this reason we would not recommend it.

TP-Link Archer T1U

The Archer T2U is not much moer expensive, however it is much larger in size and only marginally better. The Archer T4UH is the only adapter from this set with fairly good performance. Once again we're looking at an adapter with an extendable antenna that has to be placed on a stand. There are various other models in this price class that perform significantly better though.

The Archer T2U (left) and the Archer T4UH (right) from TP-Link

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