The Ultimate Guide to the Best Network Adaptor in 2023
You're in the market for a new network adaptor for PC. Maybe your old one finally bit the dust after years of faithful service or you're building a new gaming PC and need something faster with all the latest specs. Whatever the reason, you want the best network adaptor available in 2023 that will give your connectivity a major boost. This guide has done all the research for you, testing the top models currently on the market. We evaluated them on speed, reliability, compatibility, features, and value to find options for every need and budget. Whether you're looking for a basic gigabit adaptor, a Wi-Fi 6 card for your laptop, or a 10-gigabit beast for your high-performance desktop, you'll find the perfect network adaptor for your needs right here. Read on to discover our recommendations for the best network adaptors of 2023 so you can get the fastest, most reliable connectivity possible.
What Is a Network Adaptor and Why Do You Need One?
A network adapter is a device that connects your computer to a network, like the Internet. Almost every computer needs one to access WiFi or connect to Ethernet. Here’s why you need a network adapter and how to choose the best one for your needs:
Access the Internet. The most obvious reason to get a network adapter is so your computer can connect to the Internet. Whether it’s for work, entertainment, or communication, most of us rely on the Internet daily.
Share Files and Printers. A network adapter allows your computer to access shared files, folders, and printers on your local network. This makes it easy to collaborate and share resources with others.
Improve WiFi Speed and Range. If your built-in WiFi isn’t fast or strong enough, a WiFi adapter can boost your signal and speed. They offer faster standards like WiFi 6 that provide faster speeds and connect more devices at once.
Add Ethernet Ports. Most laptops only have one Ethernet port, if any at all. A network adapter adds more Ethernet ports so you can connect to wired networks and devices like gaming consoles, streaming devices, and desktop computers.
USB or PCIe? The two most common types are USB adapters that plug into a USB port or PCIe adapters that install inside your computer. USB adapters are more portable but PCIe models typically offer faster speeds and stronger WiFi performance for desktop PCs.
In the end, a quality network adapter provides faster, more reliable Internet access for all your connected devices. And with so many affordable options, improving your network connectivity has never been easier.
Types of Network Adaptors: Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and USB
When it comes to connecting your devices, you've got options. The three main types are Ethernet network adaptor, Wi-Fi network adaptor, and USB network adaptor. Let's break down the pros and cons of each so you can choose the best one for your needs.
An Ethernet network adaptor offers the fastest, most reliable connection since it plugs directly into your router. However, the cables can be annoying and limit where you place your devices. Ethernet is ideal if you're a gamer or need maximum bandwidth for streaming 4K video.
A Wi-Fi or wireless network adaptor is convenient since they're wireless, but they typically provide slower speeds than Ethernet and can be spotty in some locations. Wi-Fi is good for basic web browsing, streaming music, and staying connected on the go with your laptop. Look for an adaptor that supports the latest standard - currently 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6.
A USB network adaptor is compact, easy to use, and doesn’t require any installation. Just plug into your USB port and you're connected. USB adaptors work with PCs and Macs and are handy for older devices without built-in Wi-Fi or situations where you need an extra network connection. However, USB speeds and range can be limited.
In the end, consider how and where you use the internet to determine if Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or USB is right for you. And don't be afraid to combine multiple options - you can have the best of both worlds with a wired Ethernet setup for your entertainment center and a USB adaptor as a backup for your laptop. The choice is yours!
Key Features and Specifications to Consider
For most network adapters, speed is one of the most important features to consider. Wi-Fi 6 adapters offer the fastest wireless speeds, up to 4.8Gbps on the AX1800 version. USB Wi-Fi adapters are a bit slower, with top speeds of 867Mbps on dual-band AC models. Ethernet adapters and SmartNICs offer wired speeds from 1 gigabit per second up to 200Gbps for high-end servers. The faster the speed, the less lag and buffering you'll experience when streaming 4K video, online gaming, and other bandwidth-intensive tasks.
If you have a larger home or office, the range is key. Powerline adapters that use your home's electrical wiring can extend up to 984 feet between outlets. Wi-Fi mesh systems with dedicated backhaul can also provide whole-home coverage. For the best range, look for adapters with multiple high-gain antennas, and consider a Wi-Fi range extender if needed.
For connecting multiple devices at once, more ports are better. Ethernet adapters typically offer 2 to 8 ports. SmartNICs provide up to 32 ports for enterprise networks. Some Wi-Fi adapters also have an Ethernet port so you can directly wire in one device. Look for adapters with at least enough ports for all the devices you want to connect now, with some spare capacity for future expansion.
For safe networking, check that any adapter you're considering supports the latest security standards like WPA3 for Wi-Fi and Ethernet encryption. Wi-Fi 6 adapters require WPA3, providing the best wireless security. Powerline adapters should use 128-bit AES encryption. And for business use, Ethernet SmartNICs offer IPsec encryption and authentication. Using a strong, unique password for your network will also help keep your connection secure from unauthorized access.
By focusing on factors like speed, range, available ports, and security features when choosing a network adapter, you can find an option tailored to your specific connectivity needs. The adapter you select will ultimately determine how fast, widespread, and protected your network access will be.
Top 5 Best Network Adaptors of 2023
When it comes to choosing a network adaptor, there are several factors to consider to find the best option for you. Depending on your needs and budget, here are the top 5 best network adaptors of 2023:
TP-Link Archer T9UH
This dual-band Wi-Fi USB adapter is an affordable choice that provides fast speeds and wide coverage. It supports the latest Wi-Fi standards including 802.11ac, offering data transfer rates up to 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. The TP-Link Archer T9UH is a great, budget-friendly option if you're looking for a USB Wi-Fi adapter to boost your network connectivity.
Netgear Nighthawk AC1900
With a high-data transfer rate of up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 USB Wi-Fi adapter is one of the fastest USB network adaptors. It's a bit pricier but a favorite choice for online gaming and 4K video streaming. The Nighthawk also has four 3dBi external antennas to help maximize range and performance.
ASUS WiFi 6 AX1800 USB WiFi Adapter
For the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology, the ASUS WiFi 6 AX1800 is an excellent dual-band USB WiFi adapter. It supports speeds up to 1.8Gbps and has a USB-C connector for faster data transfers. The ASUS WiFi 6 AX1800 is a bit pricey but a great choice if you want a high-performance Wi-Fi 6 USB network adaptor.
One of the best PCIe wireless network adaptors is the Asus PCE-AC88. It provides fast speeds of up to 2100 Mbps and has a PCIe x1 interface for installation on your desktop computer. The PCE-AC88 also has four high-gain antennas with beamforming technology to maximize range and throughput. For a high-performance PCIe Wi-Fi card, the Asus PCE-AC88 is an excellent choice despite its higher price point.
EDUP WiFi 6E AX210
For an affordable Wi-Fi 6E network adaptor, the EDUP WiFi 6E AX210 is a great budget-friendly option. It supports the latest 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E standard, offering speeds up to 2.4Gbps. The EDUP WiFi 6E AX210 has a PCIe x1 interface for installation in PCs and also comes with two external antennas. For under $50, the EDUP WiFi 6E AX210 provides great value if you want an inexpensive Wi-Fi 6E network adaptor
So there you have it, the best of the best network adaptors for this upcoming year. Any of these options would be a great choice to boost your connectivity and take your network speeds to the next level. Stop dealing with lag, buffering, and connectivity issues - invest in a quality network adaptor and transform how you experience the internet. While some of these may seem pricey, think of it as an investment in your tech future. Your streaming, gaming, and day-to-day browsing experiences will all be smoother and faster. And with more and more of our lives happening online these days, fast and reliable internet access is invaluable. So what are you waiting for? Pick out an adaptor, make the upgrade, and enjoy lighting fast network speeds as we head into 2023! The future is here.