Competitive gaming requires some of the fastest internet connections you can ever imagine, as these including the quality of your entire gaming gear can either make or mar you. It could very much be the difference between winning in competitive gaming and losing.
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Three
I have put together this list of the best Wi-Fi adapters for gaming on the market. These Wi-Fi adapters are sure to help you get seamless and lag-free HD video streaming and online gaming. Every one of these has also been tested for security and compatibility with different operating systems, ensuring that these adapters are those that will fit both the budget and the system requirements of the majority of our readers.
Best Wi-Fi Adapters for Gaming
ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 – Best Wi-Fi Adapter for Desktop
- Easy install on windows 10
- Strong signal and Great range
- Once installed, the drivers work seamlessly nonstop
- The antenna base is heavy enough to keep it stable
- Fast connection
- The antenna cables are on the short side
The ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 comes as the best dual-band PCIe adapter for desktop PCs. This adapter comes with the NitroQAM technology, which helps it to deliver wireless speeds of around 2167Mbps on a 5GHz band while being able to go as low as 1000Mbps on a 2.4GHz band.
This speed is still around 60 percent faster than what we get on the average 3×3 adapter, so if you need the very best speed, and you’re gaming on a desktop computer, then the PCE-AC88 should be able to help you achieve smooth, high resolution and low latency streaming and online gameplay. We found that when we paired this adapter with a 4×4 router, the performance and reception went up the roof, which is a plus for us.
It comes in a four-antenna design, and this is one of the best for sending and receiving data over Wi-Fi. The four antennae also showed a remarkable improvement in the quality, speed, and strength of our wireless network connections.
The four dipole antennas can be mounted directly to the card if you choose to, and we have found that the antennas deliver the best performance when put in a place with little to no signal disturbance. So I really wouldn’t advise that you have the antennas mounted onto the card and have to put the antenna behind your system. Just connect the fixed cables that are on the base of the antenna to the card, and place the antenna where it would be delivering the best performance. The base of the antenna is magnetic, so you can either have it on your walls, chassis, or somewhere on your desk or shelf.
The one thing I felt could be better with this antenna was the length of the cord, I felt it was long enough out-of-the-box and might require joining if you plan to be creative with your placement of the antennas.
The back of the card is heavily protected, so the chances of crosstalk when you’re in a noisy PC environment should be reduced. The build of the card was one of the best I have seen, and the antenna is sturdy, well-built, and flexible enough.
On the performance, I think I will give the card a pass. I used the Synology RT2600ac router as my daily driver, and with this adapter, I was able to get around 300Mbps on the 2.4GHZ band and 900Mbps on the 5GHz band, which is a pass in my books.
ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 – Best Wi-Fi Adapter for Windows 10
- Speed is perfect for wireless gaming. No lag!
- Comes with a stand and you can plug it directly into your PC
- The antennas can be open or closed
- Easy to install
- A little bit bulky
If you’re using a laptop for desktop gaming, and you’re on the lookout for the best USB Wi-Fi adapter for gaming, then you should get the ASUS USB-AC68. The ASUS USB-AC68 uses a USB 3.0 port, so it should be able to work on virtually any computer that has one (and they all do).
The ASUS USB-AC68 comes with one of the latest networking chip from Realtek, it sports the same multi-user MIMO tech you find on newer, premium laptops. The ASUS USB-AC68 has shown up to 300 percent increase in speed when we start using it, and it works well with operating systems like Mac OS X 10.10, 10.9, 10.8, and 10.7, and Windows 10, 8, and 7.
The antennas can be folded, so the ASUS USB-AC68 is a great companion if you need an adapter that is portable and at the same time able to produce better reception when you need it. If you’re a digital nomad who wants to remain an active gamer and be able to stream steadily, then the ASUS USB-AC68 is a good deal.
On my test of the ASUS USB-AC68, I was able to get around 132Mbps on 2.4GHz, while I was able to get around 430Mbps when on 5GHz, which is impressive, qualifying the ASUS USB-AC68 as a great gaming companion. After installing the driver on our Windows 10 operating system, the connections were managed without hiccups. I found, though, that the device’s USB plug is wide, so when using it on a desktop PC, connecting other devices into the adjacent USB ports is close to impossible unless you use the extension.
For its price, the ease of installing this adapter, the fact that it was designed specifically for gamers, and the ease of packing and moving it, the ASUS USB-AC68 easily passes as one of our best Wi-Fi adapters for gaming.
Techkey USB Wi-Fi Adapter – Best Long-Range Wi-Fi Adapter for Gaming
- Hotspot function
- Handy USB dongle
- Compatible with most systems
- Best for long-range use
- Plug and Play
- Setup instructions aren’t the easiest to follow
The Techkey USB Wi-Fi Adapter comes as one of the best long-range Wi-Fi adapters, as its two antennas are designed to deliver seamless connections over an extended range while offering stable connections for your gaming demands on both desktops and laptops. This adapter is compatible with both desktops and laptops, being able to run on systems running all windows operating systems and Mac OS.
I was able to get around 1300Mbps while running this adapter on 5GHz, while the speed fell to around 450Mbps when running it on 2.4GHz. Connecting it to computers and other devices is very easy with its USB 3.0 socket. The Techkey USB Wi-Fi Adapter also allows you to create your own Hotspot and share the faster connectivity with other devices using its Soft AP feature if you’re on a wired connection.
Gaming and streaming with this Wi-Fi adapter showed a remarkable improvement. We were able to upload videos and stream nonstop. We didn’t experience any kind of lags and issues with the connection. One thing I noticed was that there was a relative improvement in the strength of the network when the dongle is plugged straight into the USB ports that are behind the desktop.
Overall, the Techkey USB Wi-Fi Adapter makes it into our list of the best Wi-Fi adapters for gaming, for coming at a reasonable price, being very easy to install (literally plug-n-play), coming with one of the longest ranges we have seen and being able to share the faster internet with other users and devices. It makes it the perfect option for gamers who have to share internet connections with some other users.
TRENDnet TEW-809UB AC1900 – Best External Wi-Fi Adapter for Gaming
- Strong sturdy metal housing
- Setup was easy (Plug and Play)
- High Quality
- A bit heavy
Compatible with just about any version of Windows and Mac OS, the TRENDnet TEW-809UBcomes as one of the fastest Wi-Fi adapters for gaming we can find on the market. When we started using the TEW-809UB, we saw a remarkable improvement in the speed of our internet from 1100Mbps at 5GHz and around 600Mbps at around 2.4GHz bands.
One of the best features of this Wi-Fi adapter is the extended coverage you get in addition to the speed improvement it delivers. You also have the USB 3.0 coming with the adapter, so you’re able to use it with just about any system you have, its plug and play.
Other features you should know about include the four SMA connectors for the antenna and the USB 3.0 input that are on the housing of the adapter (I should point out that the antennas deliver amazing speed when put in a place with no interference). On the other side of the case, you will find the WPS button.
Linksys WUSB6300 Dual-Band AC1200 – Best USB Wi-Fi Adapter for Gaming
- Best USB adapter range we’ve used
- Good speed for gaming
- Easy software installation
- Dual LED indicators
- Small stability issues
If you need a fully portable USB Wi-Fi adapter for gaming on your laptop, then you would need to consider the Linksys WUSB6300 adapter. The adapter protrudes by just 3 inches out of your PC, it comes with two antennas that are comfortably hidden inside the plastic casing, while some will find this as a cool feature, I should point out that the adapter doesn’t come with support for an extension cable or bundled cradle in case you choose to optimize the signal.
Another feature you’d love is the WPS button, which helps to simplify the initial connection to your gaming router. If you see it for the first time, it looks like just about every other USB adapter, but when we consider that it comes with a Wi-Fi protected setup that helps to transmit encrypted connections from your router to your devices, you’d see that this is one handy online security tool especially when you’re traveling.
Out-of-the-box, you’re getting a CD-ROM with the required setup tools and you have a quick start guide (manual). The shape is more organic, which is a walk away from the blockier designs most other USB adapters use. The Linksys WUSB6300 also comes with two indicator lights, which is also different from the one indicator light we find on most other USB adapters.
The Linksys WUSB6300 is compatible with all versions of the Windows and Mac operating systems, and we noticed a remarkable improvement in the internet speed to around 790Mbps when using the adapter in 5GHz, and a 320Mbps speed when using it in 2.4GHz. It’s compatible with all wireless routers and access points, so compatibility with your router isn’t an issue.
Overall, the Linksys WUSB6300 comes off as one of the best Wi-Fi adapters for gaming we got to test. It’s very easy to install, its portable and can be thrown in the pocket as you move, comes in a sturdy, quality plastic build, comes out-of-the-box with support for encrypted connections, and it’s not on the pricier side.
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John follows everything happening in the tech industry, from the latest gadget launches to some of the big-name moves in the industry. He covers opinionated pieces and writes on some of the biggest names in the industry. John is also a freelance writer, so he shares articles on freelancing every now and then. email: [email protected]
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