Have you ever been deep in an excellent MMORPG session and your internet starts to lag, and it just completely messes with your concentration? Or maybe you work from home and have had the experience of having your internet drop out in the middle of an important sales call, all because your 14-year-old was streaming Netflix upstairs. Maybe you’ve been wanting to fix your slow internet connection for a while and have tried everything from moving the computer to moving the router, yet you’re still getting daily glitches. If a computer is far away from the router in your house, you’ll likely get a weak signal and slow internet. This problem may be compounded if you have slower computers, multiple users, faulty wireless cards, etc. In these days when everyone is digitally connected, having an unreliable home connection is no laughing matter. Whether you’re using it for work, play or all of the above, having unstable internet is just not acceptable in this day and age. It can be downright annoying to have your internet cut out if more than one person in the house is using it. Having a fast, secure internet connection in your house is not just a nice thing, it’s important for everyone’s peace of mind. If there’s more than one person using the internet in your house, you’ll likely be looking for a faster connection.
Thankfully there’s a simple solution in the form of small wireless adaptors that plug into your laptop or desktop computer. There are a whole host of adaptors on the market that are generally very easy to use and unobtrusive. These little gadgets can work wonders on your local connectivity, especially if you live in a rural area or are living in a large house. All of the ones on our list are affordable, fast and allow for faster internet throughout your household, no matter how much bandwidth is being used. After an easy install, you’ll find a smoother, easier connection in every room. Need to buy a wireless router? Then be sure to check my article covering the best wireless routers.
Each adaptor does have different features. If you’re wondering which wireless adaptor is best for your needs, take a look at your standard operating systems as well as what activities you’d typically use it for. Some are more compatible with laptops, and some are better to use with PC operating systems. In addition, you should note that these adaptors are all designed for use with computers without built-in Wi-Fi connections.
1. ASUS PCE-AC68 Wireless Adapter
Anyone who wants a premium wireless adapter solution needs to take a close look at the ASUS PCE-AC68. This model is engineered to maximize flexibility and keep a great balance between cost and performance. It packs a lot of power for minimizing dead zone issues while the special heatsink design ensures better stability during long-term operation. The adapter is focused on the needs of more heavy-duty users.
Finding the best reception in your environment is essential to enjoy good Wi-Fi performance. This wireless adapter offers a practical antenna design with extensible features to improve flexibility. Each of the three antennas included can be taken off and positioned remotely as needed to create your ideal network. Most generic wireless adapters out there won’t stand a chance against the speedy performance of this ASUS model.
2. TP-Link Archer T3U Wireless Adapter
If you want to get your hands on a very reliable wireless adapter at a fair price, you can’t go wrong with the TP-Link Archer T3U. This is a small dual-band Wi-Fi adapter that’s strong enough to deliver a lag-free wireless experience throughout the entire home. It features a USB 3.0 interface while packing the performant MU-MIMO technology in a very small and lightweight body.
Those who own an MU-MIMO router can obtain a significant performance upgrade for their network. Setting up this adapter is a breeze considering the compatibility for various Windows and Mac systems. It’s designed with an intuitive user interface and also takes into account security due to its WPA/WPA2 encryption. Overall, this represents a solid wireless adapter for the money that comes from a trusted brand in the industry.
3. Netgear A6210-100PAS Wireless Adapter
Netgear is another company that’s specialized in high-quality networking products. Check out the A6210-100PAS wireless adapter that expands the range and performance of any Wi-Fi network. It’s equipped with Beamforming+ technology and arrives with its own dock for more convenient placement. With the help of its integrated antennas, you can take advantage of superior performance and much quicker access when you also consider the USB 3.0 interface.
Although the adapter comes with its own software to install, it’s also recommended to check the manufacturer’s website to get the latest driver updates. This way, you can be sure to benefit from the maximum potential of this adapter in terms of Wi-Fi performance. There’s support for multiple HD streams while the unit is fully compatible with all Windows operating systems. Keep in mind that there’s no support for Mac users who should probably look elsewhere.
4. TP-Link N150 Wireless Nano USB Adapter
This is a great choice of wireless adapter for people who require optimal portability. Its minimalist design means that you can leave it plugged into a laptop without risking breakage. It doesn’t stick out at all, and it provides an exceptionally strong and clear signal. Simply plug it into any USB port and get fast, secure wireless with barely any setup time. It’s portable, user-friendly and won’t get in the way. It’s actually quite amazing how well this works given its size, and you won’t even remember it’s there!
The Archer T1U Nano is awesome for use with laptops and is compatible with Windows 8 or higher as well as the most updated versions of Mac and Linux. This would be an awesome and cheap fix if you have a busted Wi-Fi card in a laptop or old desktop that is still in working use. This is also a great solution if you just need to boost Wi-Fi on a slow home setup or want to set up your computer with a local hotspot to share with others. Plus, you can use it for a laptop with a slower (2.4 GHz) wireless modem card that just needs a little extra boost.
The TP-Link Nano should install on Windows easily and is compatible with most operating systems. The bright green LED gives an easy signal as to whether the device is installed properly, and it should work continually with no stop and start or rests. If you are looking for a clear and cheap speed upgrade, this will help immensely with your overall speed and clarity. Expect speeds of at up to 150 Mbps on most units. Notable features include the 802.11 b, g or n, which allows it to transfer data at about 3 times faster than the older standards. Though it only has a 2.0 instead of 3.0 USB, you likely won’t notice too much of a difference because of the 802.11 n feature. If you have an older router, you’ll only be able to use this in the lower, 2.4 GHz band range.
5. OURLINK 600Mbps mini 802.11ac Dual Band 2.4G/5G Wireless Network Adapter
There are quite a few decent antenna adaptors out there, but at this size and price range, the Glam Hobby Dongle Adapter with Antenna Support is both fast and sturdy, and it will definitely eliminate annoying interruptions when gaming, streaming or chatting. Now you can play, work, talk and watch quickly and smoothly without worrying about falling behind. This adapter will give you the confidence you need to keep up with what you’re meant to be doing, even if you’re in the garage, basement or front yard. This is a great choice for those looking for super fast HD streaming for all areas in the home, as it can connect to a broad range of wireless devices and is one of the more powerful antenna adaptors in its range. The cool part about the omnidirectional antenna is that it truly will reach into all corners and angles of your house. You can expect it to reach good speeds.
This is a great solution if you’re finding as an upgrade and would also work for laptops that have a failing Wi-Fi card. Even if you’re not very confident with technical skills, this is an easy install, with a plug and play setup that normally takes a matter of minutes. It connects automatically so no driver needed, though it does come with a mini disk should you find you need one.
Glam Hobby Dongle Adapter with Antenna Support features reliable beamforming technology which basically points a radio signal in the direction of the client via a scanning action, thereby optimizing all signals throughout a given area. This way there’s no more getting a glitchy signal no matter where you are in your home. The antenna is omnidirectional, so it will cover a broad range in (and maybe beyond) the house. You’ll never see a weak internet connection again, none of those annoying interruptions during gaming, you won’t fall behind in your work or streaming either.
The antenna itself is lightweight and solid quality, though you’ll want to put it aside so that you don’t bump it. This unit provides a super stable connection and enables surprisingly strong reception, allowing maximum speed on all internet activities. It’s really one of the best in its class and for the price, it’s totally worth it.
6. BrosTrend 1200Mbps Long Range USB Wireless Internet Adapter Dual Band
If you’re looking for something to help improve your gaming speed and to reach into the deepest corners of a larger house, the BrossTrend 1200 Mbps is a solid choice. It is really one of the top Wi-Fi adapters for games for a number of reasons. The external antennas offer maximum reception potential for all computers and are super portable. The speed on this adapter is blazing fast, utilizing the full power of the latest technologies in combination with two antennas plus an internal antenna means that it really has reach when it comes to optimal connectivity.
The BrossTrend actually uses both the 2.4Hz and the 5 GHz band, ensuring extreme speed and stability. This is a 3.0 USB interface moves data at a rate that is extremely fast compared to the 2.0, up to 10 times faster. This allows you to stream a large amount of content to various devices while gaming or using other types of information-heavy content. Whether you are tech-savvy or not, this could very well be the answer to your glitchy wireless issues, as its very easy for anyone to hook up. Note that it’s likely to work best with routers that can handle AC1700 or AC1900.
This unit also comes with new area covering technologies, which essentially scan a wide range of area, thereby picking up all signals in its path more readily than older models would. Speed wise, you can expect this unit to reach to 1200 Mbps per second which means a very large amount of data can be transferred in a small amount of time. No matter where you set up your gaming station in your house, you are guaranteed full, interrupted coverage.
This particular adapter is larger and sturdier, so it’s not necessarily optimal for portable laptops. You can install the antenna on the back of the card or on your computer case to get the best reception. It also comes with a handy desktop cradle for optimal positioning. This unit is easy to install and is compatible with most operating systems. You’ll want to get drivers and updated compatibility information from the manufacturer’s website.
7. Dual Band USB Wireless WiFi Adapter AC1200 5GHz and 2.4GHZ by NET-DYN
Here’s some good news for the gamers and heavy internet users who need a bit of a boost: the NET DYN Dual Band AC1200 Adapter is a solid choice for a mid-range adaptor. Try this one on for size and experience the end of slow downloads. You’ll no longer have glitches, interruptions or lag time when gaming or when running multiple systems through the house, even if you’re based in the basement or a little further out, like in the garage or back yard. This is a great option for those who live in rural areas or might be thinking of sharing your Wi-Fi with neighbors in an apartment building.
The AC1200 is also a nice option that’s on the less expensive side if your current card is broken or you just have slow internet, or if you have a home office and need high speed, reliable internet for working. This adaptor will give you a smooth ride, matter how far away you are from it or what everyone else is doing. With this adapter, you can find peace of mind that everyone in the house is free to enjoy their separate streaming and gaming activities in peace!
With the option of 5GHz connections and WPA/WPA2 security encryption, you’ll be relieved to have a fast and secure connection in every corner of your house. Even if the kids are doing their homework (or probably watching YouTube videos), your partner just wants to relax and watch a movie, and you’ve finally carved out some time to get that last bit of work done, make a few VOIP calls or dig into that flight simulator game, everyone will be able to do their thing without interruptions.
This device is super easy to install even for those who don’t feel very tech savvy: you just plug it into your desktop or laptop into a USB port and enjoy. If you do find you need a driver or extra assistance, all are available or check the website for the latest software download or contact customer service. Even with the driver, you should be able to set this up in a matter of minutes. The best part is that this is the only one on our list that specifically comes with a lifetime warranty.
8. D-Link DWA-182 Wireless Adapter
With reliable technologies and a very portable design, the D-Link DWA-182 is one wireless adapter that you shouldn’t miss. It brings great value for the cost when considering the advanced dual-band technology and easy push-button setup. Whether you’re an online gamer or enjoy demanding video streams, this adapter can optimize your wireless network to get rid of lags once and for all.
Although this high-performance adapter is primarily designed to work alongside the latest generations of routers, it’s also backward compatible with older units out there. Thanks to its USB 3.0 connection compatibility, you can take advantage of a more stable computer connection. Networks can be accessed securely while this adapter can handle multiple online applications at the same time. All in all, this is a highly recommended accessory to get a speedy wireless connection.
9. Panda Wireless PAU06 300Mbps N USB Adapter
This wireless router is a great choice if you’re looking for an easy plug and play option to boost internet connectivity throughout your home, the Panda PAU06 will go the extra mile. The easy install connects it with your device in a matter of minutes. Even if you need to get around thick walls or other thick materials, the power and speed of this adaptor will get into hard-to-reach places and will work around interception from other devices to provide a smooth, strong signal even during a heavy gaming session.
Though it’s a bit on the bulky side to use with portable laptops—at least, you’ll want to take it out before travelling around with your laptop as it protrudes and could easily break–it does work well on all types of PCs that have a USB port and at least 1GHz CPU and 1GByte Memory. It is compatible with 802.11g 2.4GHz wireless networks (but not with 5GHz) and with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8, Mac OS 10.4-10.10, Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora and openSUSE.
The main thing that stands out with the Panda is its versatility and compatibility with a range of less-known operating systems. Still, it’s a good idea to check with customer support before you buy if you don’t see your version of your program on the list. The Panda PAU06 offers the best in security featuring standard high-end security of 64b/128bit WEP, WPA and WPA2 (TKIP+AES) to ensure your piece of mind. It also doesn’t use up too much battery power, which is great if you’re looking to take your laptop away from the main area, such as the back yard or garage.
Overall this adapter stands out as an effective, versatile, portable and easy option for any use, even if you want to share your wireless with neighbors. Price- and quality-wise, it stands out as one of the best in the mid-range external antenna type adaptors, with performance definitely in the top 10 of the ones tested. The connection is so clear and stable, and installation is so easy, you won’t be disappointed. And if there are any problems, this item comes with a 1-year warranty.
10. OURLINK 600Mbps AC600 Dual Band USB WiFi Dongle & Wireless Network Adapter
Here’s a great little compact dongle that is all setup to handle all types of activities, whether you’re streaming, gaming, downloading or video calls. The Glam Hobby AC 600 Dual Band features speeds that get up to 3 x faster than regular Wi-Fi speeds. The design is simple and innovative, perfect for smaller devices like laptops, and it’s compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems. Plus, at only 22mm, it’s so tiny you won’t even notice it’s there, even while traveling or going to school or work.
The special beamforming technology on this device allows it to scan a wide swath of area, so it picks up receptors from further away. This will allow you to catch a connection speed that’s likely going to be several times faster than others in its class. Using an adaptor like this means that you can stop worrying about whether your computer network will be up to high-intensity loads in the following months and hopefully years. You can say goodbye to weak signals, delays and interruptions.
Whether you are using a desktop or laptop, this is a seriously smart and super easy method of adding speed and reliability to your home network. It can even work as a hotspot for mobile devices like tablets or phones. You might want to consider purchasing the Glam Hobby dongle if your current network card is not up to speed, if you have an older computer or if you just have a weak wireless signal whenever other devices in the house are sucking your reception away from your important work or gaming.
You can install this anywhere in your home and boost your wireless connectivity making it several times faster and more stable, even if your home is very big. You can count on no longer seeing only half of your internet bars, and enjoy the luxury and peace of mind of a completely powerful setup. This is also a great option for those who are into heavy gaming and have older rigs or super powerful computer builds. It’s also a great price for adaptors in this class. Getting the Glam Hobby AC 600 at home will allow everyone in your immediate network to enjoy a speedy and superior connection on a range of devices, including TVs, tablets, phones, laptops and desktops. This is also a great option if you have tenants or kids living way in the basement or who tend to spend a lot of time upstairs in their rooms.