WiFi adapter also known as WiFi receiver is a simple plug and play model that provides you with a faster, reliable connection to your network signals. It comes in two main formats – USB and PCIe.
What is a WiFi Adapter used for?
You will need a WiFi adapter when you are not getting your desired speed over WiFi, especially when you are using a laptop or so.
We recommend reading this to understand why you are not getting the speed you subscribed for before you decide which to buy.
All in all, WiFi adapter is useful for situations where your built-in wireless receiver is outdated, broken or you wanted an upgrade to cater to your network speed.
As it is a plug and play model, you can pretty much use it across most devices such as a laptop or even desktop PCs.
How to choose the right WiFi Adapter?
Getting the “right” WiFi adapter is highly subjected to your expectation and budget.
Some just want decent connection at an affordable budget, but some would need high performing WiFi connection with faster download speed.
Regardless of which type of user you are, here’s a few basic principles that you will need to know:
Understand your ISP Package
If you are on a UNIFI 300Mbps Plan, then getting an AC1200 WiFi adapter is more than enough to cover.
All AC WiFi adapters comes in dual-band, but generally 2.4ghz has a max download speed of 100Mbps, whereby 5Ghz is faster.
If you’d need a faster connection, always opt for dual band models with higher wireless bandwidth on 5Ghz.
Do take note that your existing router will need to provide similar speed in the same bandwidth frequency in order for it to work.
We’d recommend reading about Mesh WiFi as it provides seamless roaming experience within your house. We did a comparison across 9 popular Mesh WiFi Models, you can check out our recommend Mesh WiFi System.
Wireless Standard Matters
As of now, there are 3 different wireless standard variant in the market, namely Wireless N, Wireless AC & Wireless AX – which the latter is the latest in the market.
In simplistic view, the newer the technology, the faster it is, and of course, also much pricier.
If you’d like to future proof your purchase, then getting Wireless AX is the way to go, however if you’d like to have buy one with decent performance, then get a matching WiFi speed adapter with your ISP package will do.
Which brings us to the next point.
We recommend you to read the wireless speed a.k.a wireless protocol section here.
In a nutshell, the combined numerical speed behind those terms such as “AC” is the theoretical maximum speed of both bands.
We normally find taking 60% of the theoretical speed on separate bandwidth is more realistic.
For example, if you’re expecting a 300Mbps speed over WiFi, you will need a 5Ghz dual band WiFi adapter with 400-500 theoretical speed.
There are also other additional features such as USB 3.0 port, beamforming, WPS button and etc that comes as a bonus.