Best USB Wireless Adapters in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 30, 2018
Wired connection to the Internet has been the only reliable network available. But not until recent times with the introduction of wireless options. Use USB wireless adapters to connect your gadgets to the web whenever you are and rely on high data speed transfer. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
DATA RATE
STANDARDS
NETWORK SECURITY
BUS INTERFACE
OS
WARRANTY
 
PROS

This device will provide you with up to 1200 Mbps of download rate (300 Mbps at the 2.4 GHz frequency and 867 Mbps at the 5 GHz frequency). The latter is possible due to the fact that the adapter supports the latest, 3.0 iteration of the USB standard, which is 10 times faster than 2.0. The Beamforming+ technology increases the speed, range, and reliability of the signal. 

CONS

Not the smallest adapter out there. 

OUR VERDICT

As it often is the case with wireless Internet solutions, NETGEAR provides one of the most technologically impressive options on the market. With its help, you will be able to forget about wires but enjoy the quality of a signal that you'd normally only get from a wired connection.

detailed parameters
DATA RATE

Up to 1200 Mbps (2.4 GHz - 300 Mbps + 5 GHz - 867 Mbps)

STANDARDS

802.11b/g/n/ac

NETWORK SECURITY

WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPS compatible

BUS INTERFACE

USB 3.0 (compatible with USB 2.0)

OS

Windows® 7, 8, 8.1, 10, XP, Vista® (32/64-bit)

WARRANTY

2 years

PROS

The company's very own doubleshot moulding technology gives this USB WiFi adapter a crystal clear surface, making it smooth, polished, yet soft to the touch. With the complementary software that features a particularly straightforward and intuitive interface, just about anybody will be able to set up a wireless connection in a matter of minutes.

CONS

The bright LED indicator may seem distracting. 

OUR VERDICT

TP-Link Archer is arguably the best USB WiFi adapter when it comes to providing a simple and convenient way of connecting to the Internet without having to deal with bulky PCI adapters or optical fibre ethernet cables. But the attractive and practical design of this product certainly doesn't hurt either.

detailed parameters
DATA RATE

Up to 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz - 150 Mbps + 5 GHz - 433 Mbps)

STANDARDS

802.11b/g/n/ac

NETWORK SECURITY

WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPS compatible

BUS INTERFACE

USB 2.0

OS

Windows® 7, 8, 8.1, 10, XP, Vista® (32/64-bit), Mac OS (10.7 ~ 10.10), Linux

WARRANTY

3 years

PROS

A number of heat emission holes allow the device to disperse the heat that comes from the motherboard instead of storing it. Thanks to this smart design solution, the product doesn't heat up even after tens of hours of use. The device is compatible with just about every iteration of Windows. 

CONS

Some people find the Foktech software to be relatively useless. 

OUR VERDICT

Foktech W-107 WiFi Dongle may not have a big brand like TP-LINK or NETGEAR behind it but what the company and their USB WiFi adapter lack in the name department, they more than make up for it with a creative design approach and solid performance.

detailed parameters
DATA RATE

Up to 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz - 150 Mbps + 5 GHz - 433 Mbps)

STANDARDS

802.11b/g/n/ac

NETWORK SECURITY

WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPS compatible

BUS INTERFACE

USB 2.0

OS

Windows® 7, 8, 8.1, 10, XP, Vista® (32/64-bit)

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

With about 1.8 x 1.5 x 0.8 cm in overall dimensions and 4 and a half grams of weight, you can simply leave the adapter in the laptop and it won't affect the latter in any way, shape, or form.  The SoftAP Mode will allow you to turn your PC or laptop into a WiFi hotspot, so you'll be able to distribute the signal to any other gadgets in the vicinity.

CONS

The coverage area is limited. 

OUR VERDICT

If you do not have a whole lot of high-end devices and different gadgets at your disposal, there's no need to overpay for a high-end wireless adapter. Using this model from TP-LINK, you'll be able to satisfy your wireless connection needs and that is all you need from this kind of drive.

detailed parameters
DATA RATE

2.4 GHz - 150 Mbps

STANDARDS

802.11 b/g/n

NETWORK SECURITY

WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPS compatible

BUS INTERFACE

USB 2.0

OS

Windows® 7, 8, 8.1, 10, XP, Vista® (32/64-bit), Mac OS (10.8 - 10.12), Linux

WARRANTY

3 years

PROS
16-language EZmax setup wizard makes installation a breeze. Save up to 50% of power consumption with the Green WLAN technology.
CONS
While working, the adapter may get rather hot.
OUR VERDICT
This compact device doesn’t take much space and shows good performance by increasing wireless coverage up to 3 times and choosing the traffic priority and control.
detailed parameters
DATA RATE

2.4 GHz - 150 Mbps

STANDARDS

802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz

NETWORK SECURITY

WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPS compatible

BUS INTERFACE
USB 2.0
OS

Windows® 7, 8, 8.1, 10, XP, Vista® (32/64-bit), Mac OS (10.7 ~ 10.10), Linux

WARRANTY
2-year limited warranty

NETGEAR A6210-100PES

That's the Signal

NETGEAR is a powerhouse of wireless Internet solutions. A lot of people rely on their routers, so it really comes as no surprise that the company has diversified their production into USB WiFi adapters too. Now, unlike the majority of these protocol converters, the model in question features a slightly larger frame, something that you're just going to have to used to. But if you ask us, the size is the small price to pay for what is essentially a wireless router packed into a body of a USB drive. If you have the appropriate Internet connection and a router, this device will provide you with up to 1200 Mbps of download rate (300 Mbps at the 2.4 GHz frequency and 867 Mbps at the 5 GHz frequency). The latter is possible due to the fact that the adapter supports the latest, 3.0 iteration of the USB standard. As some of you may know, USB 3.0 can handle over ten times the speed of 2.0, so you will have much more opportunities at your disposal in terms of the data transfer rate.

Just like the company's routers, this USB WiFi adapter also comes equipped with the Beamforming+ technology that is responsible for increasing the speed, range, and reliability of the signal. Speaking of which, the model also comes with high-gain antennas, so it boasts a considerable range, providing you with the ability to receive a stable wireless signal from a significant distance.

In short, as it often is the case with wireless Internet solutions, NETGEAR provides one of the most technologically impressive options on the market. With its help, you will be able to forget about wires but enjoy the quality of a signal that you'd normally only get from a wired connection.

Review of NETGEAR A6210-100PES AC1200 Dual Band High Gain Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adapter

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

TP-LINK Archer T2U

An Adapter Can Look Good Too

TP-Link Archer offers a simple and convenient way of connecting to the Internet without having to deal with bulky PCI adapters or optical fibre cables. Simply plug this bad boy in and you will be able to enjoy a download rate of 433Mbps over the 5GHz band, the sort of connection that is well above sufficient for streaming video content in Full HD or indulging in lag-free online gaming sessions. And if you feel so inclined, you can always use the 2.4GHz band that provides a respectable 150Mbps, which is more than enough for simple web surfing with a legacy device.

As a rule of thumb, we try not to put too much stock in these drives' design, but we're willing to make an exception here as the model's compact and sleek design is as practical as it is aesthetically pleasing. The company's very own doubleshot moulding technology gives this USB WiFi adapter a crystal clear surface, making it smooth, polished, yet soft to the touch. Finally, the large majority of people do not necessarily fall under the "technologically savvy" category, but that's not an issue here. With the complementary software that features a particularly straightforward and intuitive interface, just about anybody will be able to set up a wireless connection in a matter of minutes.

Again, what makes TP-Link Archer so appealing is that it is arguably the best USB WiFi adapter when it comes to providing a simple and convenient way of connecting to the Internet without having to deal with bulky PCI adapters or optical fibre ethernet cables. But the attractive and practical design of this product certainly doesn't hurt either.

Review of TP-LINK Archer T2U AC600 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter for PC, Desktop, Laptop and Tablet

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Foktech W-107

Creative Design Approach

The Foktech W-107 WiFi Dongle doesn't have a big brand like TP-LINK or NETGEAR behind it but what the company and their product lack in the name they make up for it with creative solutions and solid technologies. Starting with the former, one of the biggest issues with these adapters is that they tend to heat up after a few hours of continuous use. Well, Foktech solved that issue by implementing a number of heat emission holes. As their name suggests, these holes allow the device to disperse the heat that comes from the motherboard instead of storing it. Thanks to this smart design solution, the product doesn't heat up even after tens of hours of use.

In terms of its specs, the model does not trail behind the big brand either. Working with the latest iteration of the Wi-Fi standard, an 802.11ac frame, the USB WiFi adapter is capable of distributing a considerable amount of data in the shortest period of time. Using the 5Ghz band, you will have up to 433 Mbps at your disposal, which is more than enough for HD video streaming, competitive gaming, or any other activity that requires a fast and reliable Internet connection. And if you would just like to browse the Internet on your old tablet, the 2.4 GHz band with a 150 Mbps cap will be able to meet your needs. The device is compatible with just about every iteration of Windows. So, if your computer is running on anything older than Windows 10, simply use the software that comes with the adapter and you'll be able to set a wireless connection up and running in no time at all. Though some customers find the said software a bit clunky and less than optimal, it gets the job done and that's all that matters.

To rephrase our earlier point, the Foktech W-107 WiFi Dongle may not have a big brand like TP-LINK or NETGEAR behind it but what the company and their USB WiFi adapter lack in the name department, they more than make up for it with a creative design approach and solid performance.

Review of Foktech W-107 AC600 Dual Band 5GHz Mini Wireless Network USB Wifi Adapter for PC Desktop Laptop Tablet

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

TP-LINK TL-WN725N

Support Legacy Devices

Some people love chasing the latest trends of the high-tech world. Some don't. If you subscribe to the latter philosophy and you simply need a capable tool that will allow you to connect your legacy tech to the Internet without dealing with any wires, you might want to give this mini USB WiFi adapter from TP-LINK a try.

The biggest selling point of this product is definitely its miniature design. With about 1.8 x 1.5 x 0.8 centimetres in overall dimensions and 4 and a half grams of weight, you can simply leave the adapter in the laptop and it won't affect the latter in any way, shape, or form. As far as the data rate is concerned, this isn't the most impressive option on the market. Since it's not a dual-band adapter, you'll only have the 2.4Ghz band to work with. But the latter will provide you with 150 Mbps of download speed, and that is more than enough for PC that has seen better days or for a laptop that is just a tad outdated. Plus, despite its disposition towards legacy technology, this USB WiFi adapter features enhanced wireless encryption, so there's not much to worry about here on the network security front. Furthermore, the SoftAP Mode will allow you to turn your PC or laptop into a WiFi hotspot, so you'll be able to distribute the signal to any other gadgets in the vicinity.

So, if you do not have a whole lot of high-end devices and different gadgets at your disposal, there's no need to overpay for a high-end wireless adapter. With the help of this model from TP-LINK, you'll be able to satisfy your wireless connection needs and that is all you need from this kind of drive.

Review of TP-LINK TL-WN725N N150 Wireless N Nano USB Adapter

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Edimax EW-7811Un Wi-Fi USB Adapter

Small but Efficient

Today you'll be hard-pressed to find a smaller wireless adapter than the EW-7711Un. It's so tiny you won't even need to unplug it to pack your laptop in the bag - the adapter won't impede its transportation. Despite being so tiny in size, the EW-7711Un supports a high data rate of up to 150 Mb/s via 802.11n protocol, which is 3 times faster compared to an old 11g one. Once you plug it in, you'll get a chance to enjoy a high-speed Internet connection. Trying to produce products that would be both high-end and energy-effective, the Edimax company implemented in this adapter the Green WLAN technology, a clever power control protocol. Thanks to this protocol, the adapter is able to adjust the output power according to the communication range without loading the CPU. All this made it possible to reduce the power consumption by 20-50%. So the EW-7711Un is not only one of the quickest and advanced adapter, it's also one of the most energy-efficient.

Review of Edimax EW-7811Un Wi-Fi USB Adapter N150 Wireless USB Adapter Nano

Some Facts

Wi-Fi is a technology that allows computers to connect to a wireless network using radio bands. The technology was created in 1991 in the Netherlands. A Wi-Fi logo in public places indicates to the citizens that a location is within the range of a Wi-Fi. Initially, it was created for cashier systems, but after a while, the creators realized all the benefits of their invention, and Wi-Fi was delivered to the masses. Don’t rack your brain trying to figure out what "Wi-Fi" stands for; it isn’t an acronym, it’s just a pun upon the word Hi-Fi. Today, Wi-Fi is one of the most widely used internet connections. It is recommended to be installed where running cables is impossible or unprofitable. Nowadays, a lot of organizations use Wi-Fi, as under certain conditions the network speed exceeds 100 Mb/s. Also, users can move between access points in Wi-Fi coverage area.

Edimax EW-7811Un Wi-Fi USB Adapter N150 Wireless USB Adapter Nano in the use

More Products to Consider

With CY 5pcs ultra mini DM micro USB 5pin OTG adapter you will have the ability to plug any USB devices into your smartphone or tablet.

Detailed review of Edimax EW-7811Un Wi-Fi USB Adapter N150 Wireless USB Adapter Nano

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Edimax EW-7811UN WiFi adapter Review
 

What Is a Usb Wi-Fi Adapter?

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine our lives without the Internet. We can get internet access through a cable or wirelessly. Of course, the second option is the most convenient. Unlike smartphones, not every desktop and laptop computer can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi directly. For this purpose, USB Wi-Fi adapter was invented. It resembles USB flash drive as it also has a USB connector, but technologies differ. It receives signals from the access point, router, etc. Wi-Fi feature can be built in originally, in this case, there will be a special mark on a PC or a laptop. But if there is no integrated Wi-Fi card, the adapter will come in handy. We consider a Wi-Fi adapter the best way to get wireless connectivity and in this review, we will help you make the right choice.

If you need to create a wireless network at home or extend the range of the existing one, then you should pay attention to our wireless routers and Wi-Fi extenders reviews.

What Features to Compare

Speed and Quality

When buying a USB Wireless Adapters, it is best to give a preference to up-to-date models that support the latest data transmission standards. Today, the recognized wireless standard is 802.11n, which guarantees data transfer at up to 300 Mb/s. Also, there are some newer ones: 802.11ac transmits data at a speed from 3000 Mb/s to 10 Gb/s, that is perfect for a large office or house. But commonly there is no need to pay extra money for the speed, as 300 Mb/s is quite enough for domestic use. You should also pay attention to the TX power of USB adapter. The optimal value is 20 dBm. It is an important parameter that provides a more stable reception of weak signals. If the appearance of the device doesn’t matter to you, it’s worth purchasing an adapter with an external antenna. They receive the signal much better but are often bulkier. Besides, there are devices with removable external antennas.

Security

Another aspect to pay attention to is the protection and security of your Internet connection. Make sure your Wi-Fi adapter supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 protocols to sophisticated standards to safeguard your network. One more important thing is the support of multiple connection modes that can be established both from the access point to a computer and between two computers.

Connection and Control

Just as well, consider the type of device connection and control (or setting). Usually, all devices are connected via USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. If your laptop or PC is old and has only USB 2.0, the theoretical maximum speed is 60 Mb/s, while the USB 3.0 can reach 640 Mb/s upon a condition that your Internet provider or router allows such speed. If you want to turn your PC into a Wi-Fi hotspot, check whether the adapter has SoftAP feature. After installation, the adapter must be configured: install required software to perform wireless data transmission. The driver can be installed from a disc which comes with the device, or you can download it from the official site. After installing the driver, you need to configure the network, select necessary settings and access points; also, don’t forget to look at the compatibility with your OS.

Sources:

1. How to Choose a USB Wi-Fi Adapter for Your Laptop, How-To Geek.

2. How to Choose a USB Wi-Fi Adapter for Your Computer, eBay. March 3, 2016.

3. David Murphy BrandPost The Desktop Wireless Adapter Difference, PCWord. November 7, 2011.

4. Jonas DeMuro USB Wi-Fi Adapter 101, tom's HARDWARE. June 6, 2015.

5. Our Pick for Best USB Wireless Adapter, WirelessHack. October 1, 2015.

6. The Complete Guide to Buying USB Wi-Fi Adapters/Dongles, eBay. March 1, 2016.

7. Jeff Grundy How To Choose Wireless Adapters, Tech in our everyday life.

8. Beginners Guide to going Wireless: Wireless Adaptors, Home and Learn.

9. Jonatrod 10 Tips to Help Improve Your Wireless Network, Cisco Support Community. February 7, 2013.

10. Leo Notenboom How Do I Connect My Desktop to the Nearby Wireless Internet WiFi Hotspot? Ask Leo! June 15, 2006.

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Publish Date: 2018-08-31 15:36:32