Wi-Fi is the most common form of wireless data transmission, alongside Bluetooth. Wi-Fi may be a lot more superior in certain applications due to the fact that it is usually only limited by the range of the Wi-Fi router that is used. A Wi-Fi adapter is a device that is used to allow a device to receive Wi-Fi transmission from a nearby router. This could be useful if your laptop or desktop computer does not have a Wi-Fi adapter or the built-in Wi-Fi on your machine is faulty. Apart from this, it also does allow for various applications in robotics, such as if you want to control your robot using Wi-Fi. This makes a Wi-Fi adapter quite useful to use with programming boards such as Arduino or the Raspberry Pi. Here are some of the best Wi-Fi adapters that are out there.
1. Panda Wireless PAU06
The Panda Wireless PAU06 is the best wireless adapter that we were able to find. The adapter has a USB slot which can be inserted into a PC or microcontroller board such as the Raspberry Pi. What we really liked about this adapter is its fast data rate of up to 300 Mbps. It also uses the 802.11n protocol, which is one of the latest in wireless communication standards. However, it is still backward compatible with the 2.4GHz Wireless networks as well. The adapter uses very low power so you can expect it to not consume too much of your laptop’s battery or the device that it is connected to. Security is also well assured as it uses some of the latest security methods in protecting your privacy. This can prevent any users who aren’t authorized, from accessing your network. There is also an antenna on the adapter which can boost the signal strength that is received.
2. Edimax EW-7811Un
The Edimax EW-7811Un is another one of the most popular USB Wi-Fi adapters that are out there. It has a nice black and gold color scheme which gives it a nice looking appearance. The size is also quite small so you can easily carry it around, even in your pocket. What we really liked about this is that it is quite cheap, being priced under $10. It offers a connection speed of 150Mbps and uses the 802.11n data protocol. This gives more than three times the speed of the previous wireless standards, thereby maximizing your connection speed. The adapter does not consume too much power to operate, thereby it can save your power consumption from your laptop or portable device. There is also a built-in feature which can automatically shut off the device when it is idle in order to save power. The only drawback that we can see with this adapter is the lack of an antenna, but this does offer it more portability.
3. Net-Dyn USB Wireless Adapter
This is one of the more expensive options that are out there for wireless adapters. The adapter is definitely one of the best out there as it uses both 2.4GHz and 5GHz capabilities. This offers it a massive area of coverage as it can even cover distances of up to 100 yards. It also does offer some really fast connection speeds of up to 300 Mbps. This makes it possible to get the most out of your wireless network speeds. Setting up the device is also quite simple, as all you have to do is simply plug in the devices and install the necessary drivers. It is compatible with all versions of Windows and also has compatibility with Mac devices as well. Security is another important feature with wireless adapters, and the Net-Dyn Wireless Adapter provides great security to your network. It has compatibility with most routers out there and offers a very stable connection. There is also a lifetime warranty with the device which makes this one of the only devices to offer one.
4. LTERIVER WiFi Adapter WiFi Dongle
The LTERIVER WiFi Adapter WiFi Dongle offers you a choice between the type of dongle that you want to get. There is the AE600 model which comes with an antenna as well and there is the Black and Orange, pen drive like model which does not come with an antenna. It supports both the frequency bandwidths, the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bandwidths with no issues whatsoever. The adapter is priced somewhere around $25 so it is definitely one of the more affordable options out there. The fact that it has an antenna in the AE600 version offers it a very good and stable connection when connected. This gives you the options of streaming HD videos with no lag whatsoever and also to enjoy online gaming without experiencing unnecessary latencies. Installation of the dongle is quite simple, as all you have to do is to install the necessary setup files which are provided on the CD, or even download the drivers from the website.
5. TP-Link Wireless N Nano USB Adapter
If size is what is most important to you, then you could probably opt for the TP Link Nano USB Adapter. This is one of the smallest adapters on our list and also the cheapest to be featured on our list so far. The drawback is that it only offers up to 150Mbps transfer speed which may be on the slow side compared to some of the others on our list. This is quite adequate if you want to enjoy streaming videos without any lag and also if you want to enjoy lag-free gaming. The main highlight is its miniature size which allows you to carry it around even in your pocket. The device comes included with a CD, which you will need to use to install the necessary drivers to use it. It is compatible with almost all versions of Windows and also supports Mac OS. There is a two-year warranty that comes with the product, along with a 24-hour technical support line.
6. EDUP Wifi Adapter 300Mbps Wifi Dongle
This is another cheap Wi-Fi adapter which also uses an antenna. The only drawback of the dongle is that it supports 2.4GHz bandwidth Wi-Fi and not 5GHz as well, like all of the others on the list. But considering its cheap price point, this seems to make it quite worth the price as it has a very fast transfer speed of up to 300Mbps which is on par with some of the others on our list. The dongle uses an antenna which boosts its gain and thereby allows you to get a better quality signal with a better coverage as well. Installation of the dongle is quite simple, as you just have to install the driver from the CD that is provided. It uses a USB 2.0 interface, which doesn’t really matter as most USB 3.0 ports tend to have backward compatibility as well. The adapter supports all the Windows and Mac OS. It is also compatible with the Raspberry Pi.
7. TP-Link Wireless N150 High Gain USB Adapter
This Wi-Fi adapter by TP-Link is quite a much cheaper option than the previous model we considered on our list. It is also a much larger version of it but doesn’t offer the same transfer speeds. You can achieve transfer speeds of a maximum of 150Mbps which is quite sufficient considering it can still allow for lag-free video streaming and online gaming. There are two different methods that you can use the adapter. You can either go for the Infrastructure mode or Ad-Hoc mode, depending on your necessity. The adapter has an antenna attached to it, so you can expect a very good signal and a longer range. TP-Link gives you a two-year warranty with the product and also provides you with a very good technical support, 24 hours a day. The Adapter is compatible with all versions of Windows and setting up the adapter is quite easy.
8. Linksys AE1200 Wireless-N USB Adapter
This Wi-Fi adapter by Linksys is another one of the high-speed Wi-Fi adapters to be featured on our list. The adapter supports Windows versions 7, XP and Vista so it may not be compatible with some of the newer versions until the driver is updated. This adapter comes in the form of a pen drive like build and does not have an external antenna. It still does have plenty of MIMO antennas built into it which does give it a good range of communication. The adapter can achieve transfer speeds of up to 300Mbps which is on the faster side. The adapter can be used with your laptop or computer and is capable of allowing you to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots. The range of the adapter lets you connect from anywhere in your home, without having to worry about receiving a weaker signal. The adapter is priced somewhere in the mid-range as it costs close to $20. This makes it yet another top pick for a Wi-Fi adapter.