USB Wi-Fi Network Adapters and Dongles

USB Wi-Fi network adapters and dongles help you to keep all your devices connected to the Internet. Some laptops and desktop computers may not be equipped with a wireless network card, so it is a good idea to attach a USB adapter/dongle in these situations, as that will allow you to connect to your wireless network. There is a wide range of USB Wi-Fi adapters and dongles to choose from to suit all budgets and requirements. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and may also be known as a USB wireless adapter or Internet adapter.

Mini Wi-Fi Adapters

For users that value a minimalist aesthetic and do not want to add bulk to their laptop or desktop pc, the mini Wi-Fi adapters will be most appropriate. These may also be called ‘Nano’, and they are about the size of a fingernail. These adapters can be inserted into any USB slot on your PC and they will enable you access to the latest AC Wi-Fi standards, which gives you a fast connection. The range is large, so it will suit most homes and enable you to move about freely without worrying about losing connection. Some of these devices even feature a push button that will automate the setup process and get you online within a matter of minutes using WPS. They will work with most Internet gateways and routers, be sure to check the product you are interested in is compatible with your current setup before purchasing.

Connection and Wi-Fi Protocols

These days the most commonly used Wi-Fi protocol for residential and business purposes is 802.11, so you should look for an adapter that mentions this in the description or specifications. The other thing to take note of is the frequency. The 2.4 GHz band used to be the most common, and it is still used today. However, in recent years, the 5 GHz band has been introduced, and this results in a much more reliable and potentially faster connection due to less interference from competing devices. Most Wi-Fi dongles will have the ability to work on both bands, but if your modem/router supports the 5 Ghz band then you should connect to this. If you are not sure which band you use, then you should purchase a dual band Wi-Fi adapter, as these will definitely connect to both. If you want access to Internet whilst you are away from home, then you can purchase 4G USB Wi-Fi Adapters which allow you to connect to mobile networks.

Antenna Wi-Fi Adapters

Some of the USB Wi-Fi adapters on the market have a large antenna attached. The main function of this is to provide a larger range of reception. This is useful if you have a laptop and like to work in many areas of your house, perhaps even in the garden. The antenna is often adjustable so that you can find the best configuration that works for you. Devices that have more than one antenna will provide the best performance, although they may connect via a USB cable instead of having an integrated USB connection. If you are a demanding user that needs a strong connection, then you should look at antenna Wi-Fi adapters.

Setting Up your Wi-Fi Dongle

It is very easy to set up a Wi-Fi dongle, as in most cases it is plug and play. You should start by inserting it into any USB port. You should then ensure that the latest drivers are installed and that the dongle is compatible with your operating system. Once you have confirmed that, all you need to do is select your wireless network from the available connections and input your password. You can then enjoy convenient access to the Internet from your device.