Are you an online gamer frustrated with the significant issue of slow internet?
I believe the agitation and frustration followed by slow internet connectivity is universal and of similar magnitude.
Undoubtedly, the need for a good WiFi Adapter is essential especially for an online gamer as you would want to receive maximum output from your network.
10 Best WIFI Adapter for Gaming in 2021
While the main focus is lag-less gaming with minimum latency, the process of High-Definition streaming of your gameplay can be strenuous on the network too.
This is why I have put together a list of some of the Best WiFi Adapter for Gaming to ensure you can make an educated and competent choice when opting for an adapter.
So if you are worried about making the right choice in terms of security and compatibility, you might want to have a look at this guide.
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NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900
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TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000
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OURLINK Dual Band Dongle
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ASUS PCE-AC88 - Best Wireless Adapter for Gaming (Editor’s Choice)
- External magnetic antenna base with MU-MIMO technology for maximum coverage.
- Individual antennas can attach directly to PCIe Cards.
- Custom heatsink effectively dissipates heat to improve stability and reliability.
- R-SMA antenna connectors enable compatibility with various aftermarket antennas.
- Dual-band 4×4 AC3100 with increased speeds up to 2100Mbps on 5GHz and 1000Mbps on 2.4GHz bands.
The ASUS PCE-AC88 is undoubtedly one of the best gaming wifi adapters available in the market. It contains almost all of the top-tier features that a gamer would require to attain a fluid and smooth gaming experience.
Being a part of the AC3100 line by ASUS, the device is eons ahead of its competition due to the 4-part dedicated antennae setup. This allows the wireless adapter to provide fantastic extensive range and speeds without a hiccup.
Moreover, the device efficiently manages the heat-flow with the inclusion of a custom heatsink that ensures the temperature remains low and your case doesn’t burn itself out. What’s more impressive is that it manages all this heat while implementing the MU-MIMO technology alongside the extensive process of Beamforming.
Now if you are a fan of tweaks and custom changes, you would enjoy the customizability feature that allows you to swap antennas out with an array of compatible devices. This will help you in increasing the life of your adapter, however it comes with a cost of decreased range and speed because of the added interference(s).
Despite being pricier than its competition, it is safe to say that you can afford to trust the quality of ASUS and opt for this product to replace your stock wireless adapter.
Although the card is a hit in masses, some users have claimed that Windows 10 users looking for a 5GHz connection should avoid this product due to the consistent disconnection with 5GHz. Furthermore, the device can either go on without any kind of issue for days or refuse to connect with 20 – 30 retries in 10 minutes. It’s either this or that. This has been a significantly irritating factor when using this device.
You won’t find many cons of the ASUS PCE-AC88 because frankly, there aren’t many. Despite the increased price, the device makes up for it by providing top-notch quality and service to the customers to attain flawless and lag-less internet gaming sessions.
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 - Mid-Range Survivor
- USB 3.0 for increased speeds up to 1300Mbps on 5GHz and 600Mbps on 2.4GHz.
- Dual-Band WiFi for faster connection to more WiFi networks.
- Multiple OS support.
- 3×4 MIMO Design to enable more bandwidth capacity when downloading and uploading data.
- Compatible with all kinds of WiFi routers.
Netgear is a renowned company for its supreme quality routers and wireless products that have managed to consistently remain in the top tier and serve its customers with utmost dedication. This is why the AC1900 shouldn’t be expected to be anything less than the company’s usual great products.
Due to its intuitive form factor, small and portable size, and easy-to-setup USB system, the wireless WiFi adapter is a complete package promising performance and sharpness simultaneously.
Netgear’s Nighthawk router has received undoubted success due to its seamless connections and ease of usage. Although the adapter might seem extremely mild, the power that it packs under the hood showcases its true power.
Majority of the wireless adapters face the issues of excessive heating due to their performance. However, due to the incredibly compact form factor, the device doesn’t waste much power and does not cause heat issues.
With the package of great quality, great design, and great price, the plug-and-play adapter might be the answer to all your Wi-Fi worries.
For those who are willing to get their hands on a Flash Drive styled best USB wifi adapter for gaming in 2021, this might be it.
Despite being a significantly efficient mid-range wireless adapter, the NETGEAR Nighthawk has a significant latency/ping spike issue. Although the device has 3 MIMO antennas which helps it provide unmatched speeds, it drops the speed from hundreds to tens and eventually to zero. The hardware configuration seems to be just fine, but I was unable to identify the cause of this issue.
Netgear’s Nighthawk WiFi USB wireless adapter is one of the best flash-drive adapters present in the market. Its place in the list of the best USB wifi adapter for gaming is completely justified by its compact design that does not compromise on both build and internet connectivity quality. A win-win for its customers. Highly recommended.
TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 - The Budget Star
- WiFi 6 Technology by INTEL with OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology.
- Next-Gen speeds of up to 2.4Gbps on 5GHz and 574Mbps on 2.4GHz bands.
- Two multi-directional and high-performance external antennas for broader coverage.
- Bluetooth 5.0 for 2x faster speeds and 4x broader coverage than normal.
- Ultra-low latency and uninterrupted connectivity for next-level entertainment.
TP-Link has stumped its competition with the amazing introduction of the Archer AX3000. Following the latest WiFi standard and comprising a compelling and interesting design, the AX3000 is already a hit amongst the customers.
It’s small, it’s light, and it is formed in the shape of a typical Wi-Fi router with four external antennas (non-removable).
The wireless router comes with four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port alongside a USB 2.0 for its NAS function. Despite its strength overall, the ports aren’t as astounding as one would expect.
However, with the inclusion of Intel Home WiFi WAV654 chipset that allows up to 2.4Gbps on the 5GHz band and up to 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, the router quickly regains its dominance as compared to its competitors.
So, the Archer AX3000’s presence in the list of the best wifi adapter for gaming is properly justified due to its efficient dual-band features. It has just the right Wi-Fi specs to meet your gaming needs.
TP-Link’s WiFi 6 AX3000 is an exceptionally well-constructed wireless adapter. However, it has some caveats. The Bluetooth functionality on the adapter works just fine, but the dual-band significantly disappoints in some cases. I experienced consistent speed drops to around <100 Mbps and the connection got habitual of disconnection. This was exceedingly irritating for a user expecting quality from an international brand.
TP-Link has done a great job in producing an exceptionally well-designed wireless router/adapter that is capable of enhancing your WiFi signals according to your gaming needs to provide you with lag-less and fluid gameplay. Furthermore, it is also capable of handling your live streaming needs. Recommended if it falls under your budget.
ASUS PCE-AC68 - Guarantees quality for the price
- 5th generation 802.11ac chipset.
- Flexible extended antenna placement for the best reception.
- Custom heatsink to dissipate heat for enhanced stability and reliable operability.
- High power design to clear up dead zones with 150% greater coverage.
- Dual-Band Wireless with 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands for up to super-fast 1.30Gbps.
Games would know when I say that if there is any company that is solely determined to make the gamers’ gaming experiences worthwhile, it’s ASUS. The company has been on a mission to produce and provide high-quality products that ensure the gamers can truly feel the essence of their games.
In this regard, the company designed the PCE-AC68 that is a flagship 802.11ac adapter for gaming desktop PCS. As per ASUS, the adapter is supposed to provide the fastest possible speeds. It works with the combined input of 802.11ac and 802.11n routers after twinning a powerful PCI Express card with the support of large amplified antennas.
With its AC1900 rating, the PCE-AC68 packs a system that can give theoretical speeds of 1300Mbit 802.11ac and 600Mbit 802.11n.
Furthermore, with the inclusion of TurboQAM technology, the speeds of TurboQAM routers can be effectively increased without any strenuous loads on the adapter.
Lastly, the PCE-AC68 supports Beamforming, WEP, WPA, and WPA 2 to ensure that the wireless security standards are state-of-the-art and the gamers can be free from any worries.
ASUS is renowned for its quality products which is why one would assume that this device should also be free from any flaws, but the drivers for the product won’t fail to disappoint you. Users who are using dual-bands will have severe issues connecting to a 5GHz connection. I know this isn’t a common issue, but for the standards of ASUS, this is indeed significant.
Your search for the best wifi adapter for gaming in 2021 might end when you come across the ASUS PCE-AC68. Due to the interesting form factor, powerful specs under the hood, and efficient practical speed results, the adapter is a must-have if you can afford the price cap.
OURLINK Dual Band Dongle - Recommended for extremely low budgets
- USB 3.0 for improved and enhanced speed.
- Increased speeds of up to 150Mbps on 2.4GHz and 433Mbps on 5GHz bands.
- External Powerful Antenna with detachable 5dBi Omni-directional dual-band antenna and 802.11ac WiFi technology.
- Plug-and play.
- Compatible with all types of wireless routers with its innovative mini-design.
The OURLINK Dual Band Dongle is considered to be the most affordable and compact wireless adapter due to its extremely low pricing and the impressive compact form factor.
Due to its intuitive design, the adapter allows the customer with both storage and portability. Furthermore, since it’s so compact, its chances of damage and resistance for other ports is extremely minuscule.
OURLINK takes great pride in creating this product compatible for all kinds of operating systems present in the market. With its plug-and-play setup, the functioning of the wireless adapter becomes extremely easy for all kinds of users, let alone the tech-savvy gamers.5
According to the company, the device supports WPA/WPA2 encryption which ensures that the customers’ data is secure and free from penetrations.
The most interactive feature of this product is its ability to interact with dual-band wireless routers providing speeds of up to 150Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 433Mbps on a 5GHz channel. Not bad for its pricing.
There’s a major defect that follows with the insanely low price. My laptop provides me with an average speed of 27/37 Mbps on my stock WiFi card. In the pursuit to increase the speeds, I ordered this card and instead of any kind of improvement, I witnessed a drop in the average speeds falling down to 30/6 Mbps. For someone who wants to upgrade the aforementioned average speeds, this device might not be for you.
It is a fairly simple guess and pretty self-explanatory that the product’s quality isn’t as great as its competitors. However, the affordability of the wireless adapter makes it an interesting candidate in the list of the best wifi adapter for gaming in 2021.
TRENDnet TEW-809UB - Best Mid-Range USB WiFi Adapter
- Upgrade your internet speed up to 600 – 1300Mbps.
- Dual-Band Wireless with 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands for flexible connectivity.
- Four 5dBi High-gain external antennas to increase WiFi coverage.
- Compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems.
- 3-year TRENDnet Manufacturer’s Warranty.
With great power, comes great weight …? At least that’s the case with TRENDnet’s TEW-809UB. Being one of the bulkiest USB wireless adapters, the device contains hardcore hardware specifications. The design of the adapter is inclined towards a dedicated router than that of a traditional adapter.
With the additional power of four dedicated antennae, the TEW-809UB manages to provide a decent speed and can be trusted to be your portable Wi-Fi solution. Due to its cleverly thought structure and form factor, the adapter manages to extend household internet signals to a significant amount.
Since it looks more like a router and less like an adapter, people are likely not to meddle with its positioning and the users around the device will be supplied with high-quality service.
The good thing despite its bulky design is that the antennas are detachable which makes its handling and repositioning easier to a great degree. So don’t worry if you want to fit it in a cramped up space, the device will comply with your needs.
=Considering the price range of the product, you would expect the design to be as pleasing as the displayed image, but no. It’s ugly and huge. Furthermore, it has a knack for constant connections and disconnections that continues to irritate to a great degree after multiple drivers reinstall and support calls.
TRENDnet’s TEW-809UB is surely worth the slightly expensive price cap. Its inclusion in the list of the best wifi adapters for gaming is justified with its capability to extend wireless signals to a significant radius. So if you are looking for quality to ensure you can get your hands on one of the best 5GHz wifi adapters for gaming, this might be your choice.
D-Link DWA-192 - Our Mid-Range Star
- Dual-Band Wireless: 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
- USB 3.0 interface for fast connection to your device(s).
- Advanced AC Smart Beam to improve coverage and performance.
- 1-button setup for a fast and secure connection.
- Backward compatible with 802.11N/g/a network(s).
Over the years, D-Link has established a unique reputation of providing its customers with uniquely designed wireless adapters. The DWA-192 is another example of the structural geniusness of D-Link’s designers.
You may or may not be a fan of the ball-shaped form factor of an adapter, but the DWA-192 won’t disappoint you with its self-balancing abilities to stay put and comfortable on a desk. Furthermore, it increases seamlessness by easily connecting to other D-Link devices (such as a gaming router) in order to extend the range of the WiFi.
The minimalist wireless adapter consists of 3×3 antenna setup with implicit beamforming. As per the company, the DWA-192 is a must-have tool due to its ability to improve the signals with the help of power. This means that concrete walls are easily penetrable and the signal won’t be blocked as much from room to room.
Their unique approach has effectively minimized signal loss to a great degree that serves as another feather in their cap in their already capable features of speed.
If you are willing to experience speed increments, you will be effectively disappointed with the performance of this device. The device failed to improve the speeds which is a shocking factor. Furthermore, while the drivers work perfectly with Windows, the device becomes non-existent on any Linux distribution which is annoying, to say the least.
A Mid-Range wireless adapter with a minimalist design, this might be your choice of the best WiFi adapter for gaming in 2021. D-Link’s unique shape might be unsettling for some people but the aesthetic appeal that follows with the device triumphs all the other factors and makes it a must-have if it’s under your budget. Highly recommended.
Linksys WUSB6300 - Best Budget USB WiFi Adapter
- USB 3.0 for maximum optimized speed.
- Speeds of 300Mbps on 2.4Ghz and up to 867Mbps on 5GHz bands.
- Compatible with all Wireless AC 802.11ac routers.
- Supports up to 128-bit encryption (WEP, WPA, and WPA2).
- Support WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button for easy connection.
The WUSB6300 is Linksys’ latest dual-band 802.11ac wireless WiFi adapter. It is the most elegant looking flash-drive wireless adapter in the list of the best budget usb wifi adapter for gaming.
The wireless adapter comes with an easy installation setup guide that is its highlight. Obviously, gamers don’t like to get into the nitty gritty details and lose their focus from the real deal; gaming. This is why Linksys developed a product that is extremely easy to set up and start working on-the-go.
It has a 2×2 MIMO antenna configuration and is a selectable dual-band adapter that allows users with the ability to switch swiftly between both the 2.4GHz band and 5GHz band connections.
To ensure that speed is guaranteed, the device connects to a USB 3.0 port to ensure maximum throughput performance.
Furthermore, the WUSB6300 also supports WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) which ensures your connection from the wireless adapter to the devices is secure.
Does packet loss irritate you? If yes, then this device will come hard at you. Despite the overall high specs, you are likely to witness a significant amount of frequent disconnections accompanied by packet losses that will create visible complications in your flow of work.
If you are looking for the best USB wifi adapter for gaming in 2021 and budget is your main constraint, then Linksys’ WUSB6300 should be one of your top choices. With its speed, extensive range despite having a fairly compact form factor, and responsiveness, the WUSB6300 is a must-have budget wireless adapter.
Are you looking for a budget wireless adapter that manages to provide extensive ranges and works relatively well as compared to its competition in long ranges, then this is the one.
The wireless adapter promises to provide speeds of up to 300Mbps on a 2.4GHz channel and up to 867Mbps on a 5GHz channel. Yes, the speeds might not be dramatically fast, but they are extremely competitive for budget wireless adapters. Gamers with tight budgets should be able to experience flawless and fluid gameplays at affordable prices, that’s the motto of BrosTrend.
The key factor for BrosTrend’s AC3 is that it supports compatibility with the majority of the operating systems present in the market.
When used on Windows 10, the USB wireless adapter freezes the OS when the stick is inserted in and unfreezes the OS when the device is ejected. The support staff was unable to resolve the issue which only added to my frustration level.
The quality of the AC3 might not be as good as some of the other budget wireless adapters present in the list of the best gaming wifi adapters. However, BrosTrend’s AC3 banks on its capacity to provide consistency in its network transference over both short and long ranges. This factor sets it apart from the competition and makes it a valuable contender in the list of the best WiFi Adapter for Gaming in 2021.
ASUS USB-AC56 - Worth the price
- USB 3.0 support for maximum throughput performance.
- External antenna for maximum range performance.
- Up to 1300 Mbps 802.11ac.
- Turboqam increases 2.4GHz speed from 300 to 400 Mbps.
- USB 3.0 cradle for flexible arrangement and wireless optimization.
ASUS has been on top of its innovative, intuitive, and exceptional level for quite a while now. Gamers are thoroughly satisfied with the products released by their favorite gaming products company that is determined to provide the best gaming experiences.
With the USB-AC56, the company brought the fastest 802.11ac WiFi adapter to its users in an exceedingly affordable price range.
With an interactive design of glossy black diamond-plated texture, the ASUS adapter leaps ahead of its competitors as it is not just a tethered USB stand but a hinged, detachable antenna that gives it a significant edge over other USB wireless adapters for gaming.
In order to maintain security and ease of connectivity, the USB-AC56 comes with a WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) button. Furthermore, to ensure that the device is loaded with speed, it contains a USB 3.0 interface to deliver the fastest throughput in close ranges.
Customers are often convinced that ASUS is bound to provide them with optimal quality and the worth of the price. However, this USB wireless adapter has some fundamental issues that irritate the customers. Although the device is dual-band supportive, due to its extinct drivers, the device is only able to work at 2.4GHz and consistently fails on a 5GHz connection. So if you absolutely want a 5GHz connection on your laptop, you might want to pass on this one.
ASUS with its phenomenal products has done it again with the USB-AC56 by releasing a mid-range wireless adapter that provides the gamers with the kind of gaming experience they deserve. If you don’t want to stress your wallet and portability is a preference for you, then this product by ASUS might be a perfect fit for you.
WiFi Adapter Buyers Guide
This might come out as a contradicting point on my behalf, but the importance of you to know what makes a Wi-Fi adapter the best should be greater than you being told that an XYZ adapter is the best, just agree to this.
The essence of making educated decisions lies in identifying the key components that constitute the quality and efficiency of a product.
This is why I would like to equip you with the essential bulk of information that you require that will allow you to ratify and compare a variety of products before getting your hands on the best wifi adapter for gaming 2021.
Which Adapter to buy?
Firstly, you need to identify your need to buy a WiFi Adapter. Are you frustrated with the tangled cables around your gaming station?
Do you want to experience the freedom of being wireless? Do you want to be independent of the limitation of the availability of a corded connection every time you want to game? If yes, then you should initiate your quest of finding a good WiFi adapter.
Let’s discuss what are the basic factors that need to be assessed and analyzed when finding the best gaming wifi adapters.
Modern wifi routers come with MU-MIMO technologies for enhanced internet connectivity. On the other hand, a wireless Adapter can vary from a small internal antenna to four external antennas.
When you’re in an online gaming experience, you would want to have an optimum internet setting to ensure that everything, in-game, is perfect. In this regard, you will be helped by the external antennas due to the extended coverage provided by them.
So if your gaming system and Gaming wireless router have obstacles in between, you might want to consider a wireless adapter with external antennas.
Gamers need to focus on the advanced and relatively newer technology of beamforming when purchasing a new WiFi adapter. Earlier, wireless technology was implemented with a single stream of wireless signals that restricted the spread of the signals to a great degree.
However, with the introduction of beamforming, the reception between the devices and the router has enhanced significantly.
The process of beamforming concentrates the wireless signal from a router in a focused beam-shaped structure and directs it towards the device to amplify the signal strength. This assists in solving the transmission fluctuations that are common to the wireless signal.
Wireless adapters are available in multiple forms. The most frequently used type of wireless adapter is the Wireless USB adapter that gives you the option to plug-and-play on-the-go.
Another common form is the internally plugged wireless card that is connected with the PCIe slot of the computer.
One would wonder, which of these might be the best choice?
Well, if you’re just concerned about consistency and the range of the signals is not an issue, then you might want to opt for an internal wireless card. However, if you prefer a wider range of signals and want to use them on multiple computers then the external option would be the most suitable for your needs.
The range is probably the most important factor in distinguishing an ordinary wireless adapter from a good one. The advantage you have is that due to the internet and the excessive access to information, you should know that modern adapters are equipped with MU-MIMO (multi-user, multi-input multi-output) technology.
The advanced MU-MIMO wireless technology has significantly enhanced the quality of wireless signals ranging to multiple devices. The most common issue a wireless adapter has to face is to maintain transmission of data when interacting with multiple devices. However, with modern technology, you can bid the issue of a slow Wi-Fi connection farewell.
So if you want to experience a jump in your Wi-Fi connection speed up to over 100% faster, you might want to check your final choice of the adapter that has the MU-MIMO technology.
The most important expectation of a gamer from its internet device is that it should provide optimized speed to fuel a lag-less and fluid gameplay. The USB WiFi adapter is expected to provide both portability and speed (due to the enhanced 3.0 technology).
When judging the capacity of a USB adapter, you should take into account the number of bands it possesses. So that you know that a WiFi adapter with a transmission frequency of 5GHz is likely to provide a faster and swifter experience than a 2.5GHz WiFi adapter. The amount of frequency determines the number of Mbps in speed that an adapter can provide, the higher the frequency greater the Mbps speed.
USB 2.0 vs 3.0
Gamers who have been using various peripheral devices over the years know the significance of the difference between a USB 2.0 vs a USB 3.0. In terms of data transfer speeds, the USB 2.0 had a maximum speed of up to 48Mbps.
Whereas, USB 3.0 absolutely blows its competition out of proportion with the giant speed of up to 5Gbps.
So, ensure that your wireless adapter is equipped with a USB 3.0 because, well… SPEED!
Wi-Fi Technology 802.11(x)
Due to the advancements in technology, wireless technology has also witnessed some noticeable enhancements in its efficiency. Although there are a number of varying wireless technology types available, only some of them cater to your gaming needs in the most appropriate ways.
According to experts, the newest 802.11ac version is the fastest format and is supposed to be 3 times faster than any in its family.
The Majority of Wi-Fi adapters have a label of AC1300, but according to multiple gamers, gaming has been flawless on the AC2100 providing stability and optimized speed.
Frequently Asked Questions
The importance of both USB and PCI are different and cannot be gauged under simple metrics. In terms of speed, yes the PCI will provide you with more efficient speeds and reliable signals. However, due to the USB 3.0 functionality of USB WiFi Adapters, they are able to provide you with a slightly lesser speed but the added feature of portability. The difference is solely a personal choice.
Although a good USB wireless adapter can be fairly less powerful and slower than the PCI-E wireless card. However, with the modern-day technical advancements and the widespread use of USB 3.0 along with 802.11ac wireless, the USB WiFi adapters will also provide you a handful of satisfactory gaming experiences.
If your gaming PC did not come with Ethernet ports, you will require a WiFi card for internet connectivity. Generally, companies release motherboards with built-in WiFi connectivity, however, they’re fairly slower in quality. Therefore, it is recommended to get your hands on a separate card.
The WiFi adapters do not play any significant role in altering the security of your network. Your security is primarily dependent on the network you’re connected to, and the type of firewall you’re using on the computer.
According to the renowned Laws of Physics, the distance between the internet router and your wireless adapter play a significant role in the change in your internet speed. For instance, you might decrease the throughput by one-third of its original strength if you double the distance between your adapter and the router.
The online gaming experience is primarily reliant on the efficiency of the internet connectivity of the device. Finding the right adapter can be a difficult task, however, it can surely lighten up your experience with its enhanced effectiveness.
I sincerely hope that the aforementioned diverse and elaborative list of 10 of the best wireless adapters and the informative buyers’ guide should help you in making a definitive decision and assist you in enhancing your gaming experience.