Best Wireless Adapter for Gaming 2018

best wireless adapter for gaming

Gaming nowadays is super competitive.

A stable wireless connection is essential to your success.

We all know how annoying lag is.

We all know how frustrating connection problems are.

…remember that time you disconnected in the middle of a team fight?

And today we have something that will make you feel like you have gaming superpowers:

The best wireless adapters for gaming that you can use right now.

So you can avoid situations like these:

video game lag without wireless adapters

Best Wireless Adapters for PCs & Laptops

ASUS Dual-Band Wireless PCI-E Adapter

best wireless adapter for gaming 2018

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The Best Overall PCI-E adapter on the list and it has beamforming technology. The 5th Generation 802.11ac chipset gives you the flexibility to choose between 2.4GHz and 5Ghz.

It is also the most versatile adapter on the list. As there are 8 different variations to suit budgets and motherboards (or PC towers) of all sizes.

This piece of kit is particularly suited to the moderate to heavy gamer. If you have additional budget, we would recommend the 4×4 (4 antennae) model for that extra connection stability.

With over 4,200 reviews, the ASUS PCE-AC68 is well received in the community:

best wireless gaming adapter reddit

That sort of ping is going to help your climb to gold. As long as you don’t feed.

Key Specifications

ItemSpecification
Network StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
InterfacePCI Express
Operating Frequency2.4GHz/5GHz
Data Ratedownlink up to 1300Mbps, uplink up to 1300Mbps (20/40/80MHz)

In addition to these specs, ASUS claim the custom heatsink dissipates heat efficiently for a more stable and reliable network. This is achieved through the super conductive aluminum which is responsible for the lower temperatures. This is another win as it means a longer product lifespan.

Dead zones are also a thing of the past as the PCE-AC68 has been designed for signal-boosting and high-gain. With this design in mind, WiFi range and coverage radius is boosted by as much as 150% versus generic devices. This means uninterrupted, fast gaming for you next time you’re on the battlefield.

One other thing we love about this piece of kit is the extension cord provided with the antenna stand. For the record, this measures in at 40 inches (approximately 1 metre).

Operating System Support

We’ve checked, the adapter is compatible with the following:-

  • Windows 10 32bit/64bit
  • Windows 8.1 & 8 32bit/64bit
  • Windows 7 32bit/64bit
  • Vista 32bit/64bit
  • XP 32bit/64bi

Making it extremely versatile.

Note: If you don’t want to use the included CD to install your drivers, download the most up-to-date drivers here.
        Pros        Cons
  •  Easy to install
  •  Excellent, stable speeds
  •  Flexible antenna
  •  Magnetic bottom to stand
  •   Short extension cable

Conclusion

Those keen on getting the best out of their 802.11n/ac networks – it is by far the fastest we have found and has become a critical part of our wireless equipmentTrusted Reviews

Winner winner, chicken dinner!

Overall, the whole team were more than satisfied with the performance of this adapter. When testing, it brought our ping down significantly vs a stock PCI-E wireless adapter. The ASUS software is super sleek and user friendly too.

As we mentioned, the aluminum heatsink is designed for longevity and is going to last you a good 3 – 5 years which makes this particular adapter a great investment.

Highly recommended and great value given the price range.

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TP-Link Archer (T9E) Wireless PCI-E Network Adapter

best network adapter for gaming

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Our second best network adapter for PCs. Again, this has beamforming technology which means directional, focused WiFi signals.

TP-Link are a force to be reckoned with in the world of networking. They boast about receiving the highest score among 6 companies in the J.D. Power 2017 Wireless Router Satisfaction Report.

In plain english, TP-Link customers are highly satisfied with the products and this credibility gives us the confidence to add it to our list.

You know what else gave us confidence?

best gaming adapter 2018

Beautiful speed test results like these. As gamers ourselves, that sort of ping makes us drool.

Key Specifications

ItemSpecification
Network StandardIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
InterfacePCI Express
Operating Frequency2.4GHz/5GHz
Data Ratedownlink up to 1300Mbps, uplink up to 1300Mbps

Operating System Support

We’ve done our due diligence, the adapter is compatible with:-

  • Windows 10 (Upgrade to 17025 Insider Preview Build)
  • Windows 8.1 (32/64bits)
  • Windows 8 (32/64bits)
  • Windows 7 (32/64bits)
  • Windows XP (32/64bits)
Note: If you are installing this on a Windows 10 laptop or computer after May 2018 you will need to install the driver from here
        Pros        Cons
  •  Easy to install
  •  Great value for money
  •  Excellent signal
  •  Black PCB, and Heatsync
  •   No extended antenna

Conclusion

While this post is about the best wireless adapters for gaming specifically, it is worth noting that this is also ideal for HD streaming (4k possible), video conferencing or doing your own streaming on the likes of Twitch. That is assuming you have a high-performance router and internet connection to compliment this!

The TP-Link Archer (T9E) is a well made and solid piece of kit. The design is minimalist but the performance is fantastic. The only thing we missed is the extended antenna but the speedtests were great regardless.

Highly recommended for the laptop users.

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ASUS Dual-Band AC1900 USB Wi-Fi Adapter (AC68)

best wireless gaming adapter

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Look familiar?

In a nutshell, this is the USB version of our Best Overall choice making it our Best USB Wi-Fi Adapter for Gaming. And what it lacks in size, we assure you – it makes up for in speed and performance.

Would you believe us if we told you this has 4 antennas?

…Well it does!

The AC68 Wifi Adapter would work great together with a mid to high-performance gaming laptop. Just make sure you have a USB port spare.

Key Specifications

ItemSpecification
Network StandardIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
InterfaceUSB 3.0
Operating Frequency2.4GHz/5GHz
Data Ratedownlink up to 1300Mbps, uplink up to 1300Mbps

Operating System Support

We’ve done our due diligence, the adapter is compatible with:-

  • Mac OS X 10.11
  • Mac OS X 10.10
  • Mac OS X 10.9
  • Mac OS X 10.8
  • Mac OS X 10.7
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 7
        Pros        Cons
  •  Easy to install
  •  Highly portable (foldable antenna)
  •  Excellent signal
  •  Attractive design
  •   Uses up USB port

Conclusion

As a USB WiFi adapter, we thought that it would compromise signal strength. This was not the case, as ASUS have added in antennas which flip out from the body of the adapter. This allows for a much better signal reception than the usual internal antennae. On that note, the AC68 has two internal antennae for a grand total of four.

We told you this packs a punch. Highly recommended for upgrading your network speeds instantaneously.

The best part?

It worked plug and play. Straight out of the box on our Windows 10 enabled laptop.

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TP-Link Archer T9UH AC1900 High Gain Dual Band USB Wireless WiFi network

best wifi gaming adapter

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This premium little USB WiFi adapter is also a great choice. You’re not going to notice compromises in signal strength because there is only one antenna. This antenna is great build quality and is omnidirectional.

Also with the super long cable, you can position it virtually anywhere.

Key Specifications

ItemSpecification
Network Standard802.11a/b/g/n/ac
InterfaceUSB 3.0
Operating Frequency2.4GHz/5GHz
Data Ratedownlink up to 1300Mbps, uplink up to 1300Mbps

Operating System Support

The Archer T9UH supports the following:

  • Windows (XP/7/8/8.1/10)
  • Mac OS (10.8~10.12)
        Pros        Cons
  •  Versatile – works with any router
  •  Highly portable (foldable antenna)
  •  Handy WPS button (instant setup)
  •  Minimalist design
  •   Another USB port bites the dust!

Conclusion

This WiFi adapter is well made and solid. It also has an elegant and premium feel to it. Like it’s not going to cramp your desktop style.

When folded down, the adapter is the size of a standard USB pen drive. The cable is also extra long (1m length) to give you flexibility in where you want to position this adapter.

Highly recommended for the minimalist gamer who needs a USB 3.0 adapter for their laptop.

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And our bonus pick goes to…

D-Link AC1900 Ultra Wi-Fi Adapter

best wifi adapter for gaming

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With a design which resembles the Death Star, we had to include this beautifully designed little USB network adapter. After all, it’s in our featured image.

D-Link call it Advanced AC Smart Beam but this is just a fancy was of saying it has beamforming technology (like our other picks).

One awesome thing about this is it has a WPS button, unlike our other picks, which makes for a super fast network setup. We loved it.

Key Specifications

ItemSpecification
Network Standard802.11a/b/g/n/ac
InterfaceUSB 3.0
Operating Frequency2.4GHz/5GHz
Data Ratedownlink up to 1300Mbps, uplink up to 1300Mbps

In addition to these specs, the DWA-192 boasts high powered amplifiers which have been designed to penetrate thick stone walls. This little beast has 3x the range of a standard Wi-Fi adapter.

Operating System Support

The Archer T9UH supports the following:

  • Windows (XP/7/8/8.1/10)
  • Mac OS (10.8~10.12)
        Pros        Cons
  •  Attractive design and LED lights
  •  Compatible with all routers
  •  Handy WPS button (instant setup)
  •  Stable, fast connection
  •   Another USB port bites the dust!

Conclusion

Are you a stylish gamer?

This is for you.

Design aside, the speeds were great and despite having multiple downloads HD streams and transfers – it held up. Also, we love the LED lighting which lets you know in an instant if there are any connection issues.

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Buyers Guide – Best WiFi Gaming Adapters

What Does a Wireless Adapter Do?

Simply put, a wireless adapter is a device which is attached to a computer or laptop to allow it to connect to a wireless network. Before we had devices with built-in wireless connectivity, it was essential for us to buy adapters to connect to networks wirelessly.

Yes, new technology has made Wi-Fi adapters somewhat redundant. But as a gamer looking for a wireless adapter, you don’t have faith in your out-of-the-box adapter. The one built into your PC or laptop isn’t doing its job and you want the latest technology to ensure you have the lowest ping possible.

For example, does your built-in wireless adapter utilise beamforming technology? We doubt it.

What is a Wireless USB Adapter?

A wireless USB adapter overrides the computer’s built-in wireless networking functionality.

These are often favoured on both desktop and laptops as these devices will have a USB port spare. Also, the plug and play capability so damn convenient!

How to Fix Problem with Wireless Adapter or Access Point?

From our experience, most wireless adapters and indeed, every one on this list should be compatible with the following:

  • Windows (XP/7/8/8.1/10)
  • Mac OS (10.8~10.12)

However, there are occasions where the drivers out-of-the-box are outdated and that’s where you’ll have to navigate to the manufacturer website download the most up-to-date drivers.

ManufacturerDrivers & Support
NetgearSupport
TP-LinkSupport
ASUSSupport
D-LinkSupport

If this doesn’t work, let us know in the comments below so we can investigate with you.

What is WiFi Beamforming?

In a nutshell, beamforming technology enables the focus of your wireless signal.

beamforming technology diagramWhen your network equipment sends out a wireless signal, the signal widens and loses strength in favour of coverage. Beamforming narrows the focus of your equipment and sends the signal directly to your devices in a linear, straight path. This process minimises the occurrence of electronic interference and increases the signal strength. Which makes for more efficient networking.

It is worth noting that ASUS use the term AiRadar, Netgear use the term Beamforming Plus and D-Link use the term Advanced AC Smart Beam. All of them are describing the same thing, WiFi beamforming technology as a whole.

We’re big fans of beamforming as a new network standard and as gamers, you should be too.

What is AC1900 Technology?

This is a naming convention used by the major networking manufacturers. Essentially, the number the comes after the AC means the maximum possible bandwidth of the device. For example, 1900 means 1900 Mbps, 3200 means Mbps – you get the point. However, this is not always true and is usually theoretical.

best wifi router explanation

What we mean is because it has AC1200 in the product title it doesn’t necessarily offer wireless speeds of 1200 Mbps. In the same vein, one that has AC5300 doesn’t offer wireless of 5300 Mbps (we wish!). We will typically include the maximum downlink and uplink speeds in our reviews.

Last update on 2018-11-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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