Having trouble with your laptop or desktop’s Wi-Fi? You could consider USB wireless adapters. The options and variety are endless. And before you decide on a particular one, you can take a look at some USB wireless adapter reviews from authentic sites. You can use this USB Wi-Fi adapter to add Wi-Fi to a computer that lacks a built-in one or just for upgrading your Wi-Fi.

All you need to know about getting a USB wireless adapter

Today, we are going to cover some of the most important details of USB Wireless Adapter Reviews. Read on below:

Wired VS. Wireless

It is more of a matter of convenience whether you go for a wired or wireless connection. Of course, cost and performance matter as well. yours get wired connection in two ways. You could use a powerline adapter or directly plug it into your router. Ethernet cables are used for direct plugging into the router and as for powerline adapters, you connect the router and one adapter to an outlet nearby and plug in the other adapter where you need a convenient wired connection. The powerline adapters, as the name suggests, work through running the signals across your home’s electrical wiring.

Wireless connections use Wi-Fi and wireless adapter receives the radio waves from the router.  

There are many reason why people choose wireless. It could be the inability to run an Ethernet cable to the router or the presence of too many devices. It is also convenient for traveling and use Wi-Fi anywhere you go.

Here are some things you should know regarding the purchase of a USB wireless adapter.

Internal, Integrated, or USB – Which is better?

  • You can buy wireless adapters in the form of:
  • A USB device (size of a USB flash drive or smaller
  • An add-on card you can plug into your motherboard.
  • Pre-installed integrated unit on the motherboard.

You can plug-in USB wireless adapters into a USB port. You will find USB wireless adapters in a range of styles, sizes, and designs. A popular option is TP-Link WN725N, they are quite small in size and affordable as well. Among the big options, there is Netgear A6210-100PAS that is like USB flash drives.

Internal, add-on card wireless adapters are available in the form of PCI Express and PCI (non-express) cards. Some of the motherboards come with a built-in wireless adapter. If you take the functions into account, there are usually similar to PCI Express wireless adapters but are physically nestled alongside the USB ports and monitor outputs of the motherboard.


As for reliability, compared to external, internal wireless adapters are more reliable. There have been some complaints regarding some USB wireless adapters getting overheated when they run at high speeds and/or for extended periods. Some die early due to heat. Whereas some have fewer antennae.

What should you know about understanding standards and speeds?

There are two main Wi-Fi standards for modern routers and wireless devices. 802.11n and 802.11ac. Some old standards exist as well that are compatible with old hardware only. And the most common is 802. As for 802.11ac is popular for higher-end routers. Every wireless adapter you can purchase new can support 802.11n routers, but 802.11ac support is still somewhat hit or miss on the lower-cost side.

Radio Frequency Bands

There are two main radio frequency bands for Wi-Fi. 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. And 5 GHz allows for better data rates and less interference. And this gives 5 GHz edge than others for those who live in populated areas. As for range, not so much. The cheaper 802.11n routers are single-band and support 2.4 GHz only. As for mid-range routers, that are dual-band, they support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz connections. Plenty of routers support them both at the same time, and especially older ones, some may only support one or the other; check your specific router.

But when you choose your wireless adapter, always take your weakest link into account. That is going to limit your speed. One thing you need to bear in mind is that a fast wireless adapter does not ensure fast speeds. For instance, if your internet gives you only 20 Mb/s download, this suggests that your router and wireless adapter’s speed are functionally irrelevant. And if the internet service speed that you have goes above then your router’s capacity, then you are going to be limited by your router’s capacity.

And if both your router provider and internet service gives your higher rates than your wireless adapter’s capacity, you are limited by your wireless adapter. For users, particularly those who lack access to quality fiber-optic internet providers, the internet service is their weakest link. And if you are one of those people, then speed isn’t a significant concern, and you should focus on features and cost first and foremost.

Also, one of the notable features that make the USB wireless adapters prominent is Bluetooth support. This lets you connect to Bluetooth devices wirelessly such as smartphones, speakers, printers, and home security devices. And you would not have to buy a Bluetooth adapter that normally costs you $7 -$12. Bluetooth support can only be a feature of internal wireless adapters and utilizes USB header on your motherboard.

Having said that, here are our top 5 picks of USB wireless adapters that you can consider if you are thinking to buy a USB wireless adapter. Make sure that you also visit some authentic review sites and go through the customer testimonials and USB wireless adapter reviews before making your final pick.

  • BrosTrend 1200Mbps Long Range USB WiFi Adapter – 5GHz Dual Band Modular Adapter
  • TP-Link TL-WN822N N300 High Gain Wireless USB Network Adapter – High-End Antenna Adapter
  • BrosTrend 600Mbps WiFi USB Dual Band Adapter AC600 – Powerful Adapter for New Windows Machines
  • Animax USB Wireless Adapter with 5dBi Antenna – Best Slim Antenna Model
  • TP-Link TL-WN725N N150 USB Wireless WiFi Network Adapter – Best Budget Adapter
iLounge author Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.