TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter For PC & Desktop

Last updated date: October 19, 2020

DWYM Score
8.9

TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter For PC & Desktop

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We looked at the top USB WiFi Adapters and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best USB WiFi Adapter you should buy.

Overall Take

This adapter offers compatibility with all the devices in your home, including Macs, Windows PCs and Linux machines. It uses a 5dBi high-gain antenna to improve both the reception and signal strength of any connected device. Although it should install automatically, you may have to download a driver specific to your device type from the TP-Link website. In our analysis of 11 expert reviews, the TP-Link TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter For PC & Desktop placed 1st when we looked at the top 7 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note October 19, 2020:
Checkout The Best USB WiFi Adapter for a detailed review of all the top usb wifi adapters.

Expert Summarized Score
9.0
1 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
5,034 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Still very good and was the only sub-$25 adapter to complete all of our tests. It has an identical two-year warranty and is just as compatible with Macs and Windows or Linux PCs.
- The New York Times
What experts didn't like
The TP-Link Archer T2U Plus is a little bulkier than the Archer T4U because of its six-inch external antenna and it didn’t perform as well at long range.
- The New York Times

From The Manufacturer

AC600 USB Wi-Fi adapter provides long range and lag free connection throughout the house, Upgrades Your PCs /Laptops to 802.11ac, 3 times faster than wireless N speeds. Dual band 2. 4 GHz and 5 GHz band provide flexible connectivity, giving your devices Access to the latest Dual-Band Wi-Fi router for faster speed and extended range. 5dBi High-gain antenna greatly enhances the reception and transmission signal strength of the USB Adapter. Supports Windows 10, 8. 1, 8, 7, XP/ Mac OS X 10. 9-10. 14, Driver installation may be required, please go to TP-Link website for the latest driver for your operating systems. Industry Leading Support: 2-YEAR WARRANTY AND FREE 24/7 TECHNICAL SUPPORT.

Overall Product Rankings

TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter For PC & Desktop
1. TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter For PC & Desktop
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 1
UPTOU 600Mbps Mini USB WiFi Adapter Dongle
2. UPTOU 600Mbps Mini USB WiFi Adapter Dongle
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 1
Techkey 1750Mbps Dual Band USB WiFi Adapter Antenna
3. Techkey 1750Mbps Dual Band USB WiFi Adapter Antenna
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 3
Cudy AC 650Mbps Nano USB WiFi Adapter Dongle
4. Cudy AC 650Mbps Nano USB WiFi Adapter Dongle
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 1
Nineplus Wireless USB WiFi Adapter Antenna
5. Nineplus Wireless USB WiFi Adapter Antenna
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 1
NETGEAR AC1200 Wi-Fi USB Adapter
6. NETGEAR AC1200 Wi-Fi USB Adapter
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 1
TP-Link Nano USB Wifi Adapter Dongle
7. TP-Link Nano USB Wifi Adapter Dongle
Overall Score: 6.9
Expert Reviews: 2

An Overview On USB WiFi Adapters

Every laptop and desktop computer is built with wireless functionality, which is how you connect up to the WiFi in your home, office or other location. Sometimes that connection can be spotty, though, especially if you’re taking your laptop on the road with you. For that unreliability, a WiFi adapter can come in handy.

A WiFi adapter overrides that built-in function, giving your computer a direct connection from your device’s USB port to the surrounding WiFi signal. In order to use one of these connectors, you’ll need a USB port on the device you plan to use with it, and not all adapters are compatible with all operating systems. If you use Mac or Linux, specifically, you’ll need to double-check to ensure that your chosen adapter isn’t compatible only with Windows machines.

If you’re buying a WiFi adapter, make sure you’re getting the latest technology. Today’s standard of IEEE 802.11ac is three times faster than Wireless N speeds. However, the next standard, IEEE 802.11ax, is already being built into devices so you may find your technology is bested by devices widely available next year. Still, you’ll find 802.11ac is plenty fast to give your connection a big boost.

One thing to consider as you’re picking out a WiFi adapter is the design of the device itself. They come in a variety of form factors, some more intrusive than others. You can find adapters so small that you’ll barely even notice them as they’re plugged in. However, if you’re buying an adapter for a desktop computer, it will likely be out of sight, out of mind, which frees you up to choose the adapter that perfectly fits your needs — regardless of the build.

Keep in mind that a USB adapter will take up one of your ports. If you only have one or two, as some modern laptops do, you may find you’re seriously missing the extra port. You can buy a USB port expander that will give you those extra ports you need. However, this also will take up space around your laptop, potentially getting in the way of the work you’re trying to do.

DWYM Fun Fact

WiFi is so prevalent today, it’s easy to take it for granted, but it hasn’t been around forever. It has, however, been around long before most consumers began using it, as it began in Hawaii in 1979.

Early WiFi was called ALOHAnet and introduced multiple technologies, including the use of packets, random access and wireless computer communications. It was a full 20 years before AT&T and NCR came up with WaveLAN, which is now considered to be the real WiFi predecessor.

Contrary to popular perception, WiFi is not short for “wireless fidelity.” The abbreviation was conceived in 1999 by the WiFi Alliance without additional meaning.

The USB WiFi Adapter Buying Guide

  • If you have a Mac machine, keep in mind USB ports have been replaced with lightning ports. That means you’ll need to buy an adapter to connect your USB adapter to, which won’t make it quite as compact and space-saving as advertised.
  • In most cases, your WiFi adapter should be “plug and play,” but in some instances, you could have to download drivers. Even if your computer immediately recognizes it, it can’t hurt to check for updates from the manufacturer’s website, especially if you experience problems or disappointing performance.
  • One of the biggest benefits of a USB adapter is that it lets you upgrade your WiFi performance without buying a new computer or router.
  • For intense activities like gaming and streaming, make sure you choose an adapter with a data transfer rate of at least 500 Mbps.
  • Routers operate on different protocols. For best results, look for an adapter that is on the same protocol as your router. This will be either WEP, WPA or WPA2.
  • For best results, look for a dual-band adapter, which works on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band. That will give you a better connection while also keeping interference at a minimum.
  • If your adapter has antennas that can be adjusted, look for one with a wide range of motion. This will help you find the perfect direction.
  • Some WiFi adapters serve a dual purpose. They can help strengthen a WiFi signal on a device, but they can also turn a computer into a hotspot. That means you can set up one desktop or laptop to send a signal to multiple approved devices in your area.
  • The USB connector itself can slow things down. Look for the newer USB 3.0, which will keep things much speedier than USB 2.0.