Best WiFi Adapter for Gaming
If you are a serious hard-core online gamer having the best WiFi adapters become very important as they are essential for you to get the most out of your network. Having the best possible speed is all important as seamless HD video streaming and lag-free online gaming is the aim of having a wireless adapter. In our list of products, we have reviewed both PCI-E wireless cards as well as the USB adapter as both have their place in the wireless adapter realm.
Table of Contents
- Round up of the Best WiFi Adapters for Gaming
- TP-LINK AC1300 Wireless Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adaptor
- ASUS 4×4 802.11AC Wireless-AC3100 PCIe
- OURLINK 600Mbps mini Dual Band Dongle Adapter
- ASUS USB-AC68 Dual-Band AC1900 USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter
- TP-Link AC1900 WiFi PCI-Express Wireless Network Card
- Alfa Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adaptor
- TP-Link AC1300 WiFi PCI-Express Wireless Network Card
- TP-LINK AC1300 Wireless Dual Band USB Dongle
- Linksys Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 Dongle
- BrosTrend Long Range Internet Receiver
- D-Link Systems AC1900 Ultra Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adapter
- NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi USB Adapteradap
- Trendnet AC1900 High Dual Band Wireless USB Receiver
- Buyers Guide Questions
- Top Pick
- Premium Choice
- Great Value
Round up of the Best WiFi Adapters for Gaming
We consider what you get in regards the antenna, how easy they are to deploy and what kind of range they offer. Have the best security is always important when considering Wi-Fi networks and we look at what type of security these WiFi adapters offer the user. Lastly, we consider the ones with the best compatibility with various operating systems their ease of use. We are sure that on our list is one that meets your requirements and fits your budget.
Buyers Guide Questions
The best adapter allows you to connect your computers to a wireless system such as the internet. They are called wireless cards or wireless adapter and they are the best way to connect your computer as they do not have cables that need to be plugged into worry about. The big concerns with this type of adapter as opposed to using an Ethernet cord is speed and disruption of services due to outside interference, however, if you are using the best adapter then this is not too much of a problem.
Choosing the best adapter can seem a little daunting. You not only have to consider data speed and overall design, but also the best possible security your adapter can offer. Ideally, if you are going to be online gaming, especially multi-player gaming, you need something that can cope with heavy data transfer and intensive browsing. There are two main types of adapters, PCI-E Wireless Adapter and USB WiFi adapter and each has their own benefits.
PCI adapters or Peripheral Component Interconnect Express are installed on your motherboard (click here for full review guide) using an expansion slot and it will aid in your computers internet connection. They accomplish this through expansion cards and replace the AGP and PCI connections which are outdated and slow. In most new laptops (cheap gaming laptop review guide) and computers PCI Express cards come preinstalled. These PCI-E allow communication between your router and the motherboard as well as other hardware.
This means you get improved reading and writing through high-bandwidth interface to your drive and you may even find some of the new models with built-in SSD. There are four main sizes of PCI Express cards and they will fit into any PCI-E slot if the size of the slot is the same as the card or larger. The four different sizes are:
PCI-E 1: 25mm (18 pins)
PCI-E 4: 39mm (39 pins)
PCI-E 8: 56mm (49 pins)
PCI-E 16: 89mm (82 pins)
PCI-E 1 cards will fit into larger or smaller size slots as long as the slots are open-ended without a stopper at the end.
This type of adapter like the PCI-E cards, they allow your computer to connect to the internet and will support data rates of up to 1300 on a 5GHz band. They plug into your computers USB port and use wireless technology as a protocol for signaling. USB adapter speeds will vary depending on their FireWire.
This is a very common adapter and also the most popular, due to their ease of use and portability. You do not have to open up your computer to install them, and have head sinks to cool them, they simply plug in and, if your computer does not have drivers for them, download the drivers to install. Once this is done you are ready to connect to the internet and are able to game, surf the net or stream video.
WiFi adapter for Gaming Desktop
If you are a very heavy gamer who needs something that can cope with very large data usage during extended gaming sessions then you need to consider getting a PCI-E wire-less card with its own heat sink such as the ASUS 4×4 802.11AC Wireless-AC3100 PCIe Adapter. PCI-E cards offer greater speed than their USB counterparts.
Many people will go for the USB connector for convenience as they are plug and play, and the PCI-E cards require you to install them into your PC attaching them to your motherboard. They are limited to the speeds that your motherboard can handle, but that is usually higher than what your USB can handle.
What is the best WiFi Adapter for Gaming?
The best wireless adapter for hard-core gaming on a single desktop will always be the PCI-E card. However they do have some limiting factors such as the ability to use them on multiple devices and they are limited to the speed of the motherboard, no matter how much speed they say they can produce. If however, you are looking for something more flexible so you can carry your wireless adapter around with you and game on different computers then the USB adapter would be the one you want.
The limiting factors on USB adapters, your adapter will be limited to the speed of your USB, however with the advent of 3.0 USB as well as the multi-directional antenna and Beamforming you get quite a decent WiFi signal using these products.
Ultimately the choice of which one is best would be yours depending on your own specific requirements. Read reviews on the internet, especially user reviews of the different types of adapters. Read our review of the best wireless adapter for gaming which includes both USB and PCI-E cards to give you a little more insight as to what each offer and then make your own decision.
What is a good WiFi Dongle for Gaming?
A good wireless adapter for gaming is the USB Wireless Adapter. It may not be the best, but they are convenient and you can use them on multiple devices and take them on your travels with you. They may suffer from being a little slower than the PCI-E wireless card, but in today’s world with USB 3.0 which is a lot faster than the USB 2.0, along with 802.11ac wireless you should have no problem gaming on this type of adapter.
Also if you are gaming on an older PC then your motherboard would not be able to handle the best speeds that a PCI-E card can offer in any case. Just remember that if you have more than one USB plugged in it may throttle the speed of your adapter.
Are USB WiFi Adapters good for Gaming?
A lot of hard-core gamers will tell you that even the best USB adapter is not the best adapter for gaming, however, that is not necessarily true. There are certain aspects you need to consider when looking for the receiver that you are going to be using for gaming and not just surfing the net or using Facebook. We look at what you should consider when considering which is the best USB wireless adapter.
WiFi Standards – For gaming purposes, you need a product that supports the 802.11ac standard. Also look for the best dual-band speeds, for example, an AC1200 USB wireless adapter will offer 300Mbps at 2.4GHz for general use and 867GHz speed at 5GHz which would be for gaming.
MU-MIMO – This stands for Multiple User, Multiple Input, and Multiple Output. 802.11n MIMO was limited to one user but with the advent of 802.11ac, it can be used by multiple users at the same time.
Beamforming – This is no longer limited to the router and adapter being from the same manufacturer and it will allow the router to focus data stream to the adapter. This will increase your signal strength and limit interference. For a complete guide to the best routers for gaming, click here for the full guide.
USB 2.0 vs 3.0 – The 3.0 USB will give you up to 10x as fast delivery as the USB 2.0 which is about 640Mbps or 5GB per second and maximizes your networking speeds.
Antenna types – Every product will have an antenna and they are essential to the ability of your USB wireless adapter to work. Some have an internal antenna, however, the larger external antenna will definitely increase your signal strength. Multi and omnidirectional antenna is best as they can direct signal in all directions and being able to place your antenna in the best areas will have an impact on your signal as well.
Software – Most will only include the driver for your operating system to use when installing. Some, however, do come with a full software suite but beware these may become more of a problem than a blessing as they could interfere with the integrated settings.
Adaptor types – USB wireless adapter come in different form factors of different sizes is very helpful to accommodate different needs. The small or nano wireless adapter, while slower than the other types of products, are great for when traveling or using a small notebook as they do not protrude very far. The larger wireless adapters can be used on a desktop and usually have high gain antennas and therefore offer faster connections.
Then you get the standard size which is the most common and the one you will often see, they are the size of the traditional USB flash drive. These balance throughput speed and signal strength and although not as small as the nano wireless adapter but still maintain their portability. Other accessories – These include things like a USB extension cable and a docking cradle. These are nice to have and will make your product more user-friendly.
The right wireless adapter can make or break your gaming experience. Choosing the right one is not easy but we have reviewed 13 of the best wireless adapter on the market, both USB and PCI-E cards and along with our buyers guide you should now be in a position to decide which one you need to meet your requirements.
If you are a hard-core game-player and need best, superfast lag-free connections then the TP-LINK AC1300 Wireless WiFi USB 3.0 Adapter is the one you have been looking for. Offering an incredible combined 1300Mbps speeds with dual-band connection of 867Mbps on 5GHz and 400Mbps on 2.4GHz. The 3.0 USB port will give you up to 10x more speed than a standard 2.0 UWSB and the WPS will allow you to connect to wireless networks quickly and easily at the push of a button.
Omni-directional antennas allow you to increase your range and the TP-LINK offers you an extension cable so you can pick just the right area to place your adapter to get the best signal. If you like sharing then the SoftAp you get with the TP-LINK allows you to share your access by creating a hotspot.
If you are worried about network security is a concern then worry no more. The TP-LINK uses WSP to encrypt your network giving you peace of mind while at your gaming desk station (click for full guide). All of these great features along with the super-fast speed you get with the TP-LINK AC1300 Wireless WiFi USB 3.0 Adapter is our top choice from our list of best wireless adapters for gaming in 2018.
Looking for the absolute best connection speeds you can get to power your gaming desktop and let you play lag-free or stream HD video seamlessly then you need the ASUS 4×4 802.11AC Wireless-AC3100. This fantastic PCI-E card will offer you dual-band high-throughput signal at 2100Mbps on 5GHz and 1000Mbps at 24GHz and use NitroQAM (1024 QAM) technology.
Don’t worry about the high temperatures you are going to create with your hard-core gaming, the custom heatsink offered here, will ensure you get non-stop operation and dissipate the heat effectively allowing for both stability and reliability in your PCIe adapter. The 4×4, four-transmit, four-receiver design of the antenna will give you stable signal and clear strong wireless network and will get the absolute best out of your 4×4 router.
The magnetic antenna base offers flexibility in placement so you can get the best coverage along with the R-SMA antenna connectors are also compatible with most aftermarket antennas and individual antennas can be directly attached to the PCIe card to allow for compact installation. Great features, superb speed, and excellent flexibility make the ASUS 4×4 802.11AC Wireless-AC3100 PCIe Adapter our premium choice for the premium choice wireless adapter in 2018.
With Beamforming+ to ensure the signal gets to where you need it and reduces interference, boosting not only speed but range as well, and 5dBi omnidirectional dual-band antenna and you are getting a stable, reliable wireless network with great coverage.
You get 600Mbps which are provided by the dual-bands, 433Mbps at 5GHz and 150Mbps at 2.4GHz combined with 802.11AC technology you will have enough speed to play your online games without experiencing lag, or stream or record HD video seamlessly and enjoy your favorite TV programmes on Netflix.
The SoftAp feature allows you to share your wireless network by creating a hotspot and installing the OURLINK is a breeze with the included CD and built-in wireless utility and you are ready to go. You get all of these great features along with good speeds for a very reasonable price and that makes the OURLINK 600Mbps mini Dual Band Dongle Adapter our great value pick of all of the wireless adapters on our list of best wireless adapters for 2018. For more brilliant product reviews, by sure to check out HotRate here.