Top & Best USB network adapter: How to choose the best in 2021?
Today We are going to talk about absolutely everything you need to know about the USB network adapter. With the popularization of Wi-Fi in homes, establishments and even public places, operators and computer manufacturers had to adapt.
However, the dialogue between the two is not efficient. Sometimes, the computer does not receive what the network can offer, and vice versa. In this context, USB network adapters emerge as a facilitator of this dialogue, increasing the signal range and improving its reception and even its speed.
In this guide, we list the best USB network adapter models and all the information you need to choose the right product for you, your computer and your network.
First, the most important
- Check, first of all, the connection information of your home or the network where you will use the adapter. The frequency at which the router operates and the speed delivered by the operator, for example, weigh heavily in the choice.
- Pay close attention to speed measurements! There is a big difference between Mb / s (Megabytes per second) and Mbps (Megabits per second), the first being eight times greater than the second.
- Adapter prices vary widely, between R $ 12 and R $ 200, so do your research before making your purchase.
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Best USB Network Adapter Models: Our Favorites
We have gathered below the four best models of USB network adapter, taking into account the cost-benefit, the antenna technology and the speed limit. Some of them, for sure, can help you solve your problems with the internet connection.
- TP-Link Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter
- D-Link 300Mb / s USB Wireless Adapter
- Empire Wireless 5dBi Antenna USB Adapter
- TP-Link UE300 USB 3.0 Adapter
Choosing a USB network adapter can be a chore. Dialogging the information about the network and the devices, identifying the patterns and frequencies … for a layman, then, everything gets even more complicated.
In the Buying Guide below, we explain everything so you can think about the type of adapter that is right for you.
What is the USB network adapter?
In a more basic definition, adapters are converters: they transform electrical and electromagnetic stimuli into information.
This information, when interpreted and processed in the correct way, and by the correct program or machine, is thus translated into the appropriate language for the desired destination.
They can be codes, to be decoded by a computer, sounds to be reproduced by an amplifier or images to be reproduced by a television, for example.
The following video, in English, briefly explains how the adapter works:
n the case of USB network adapters, the stimuli can be either electrical, such as pulses in internet cables, or electromagnetic, such as radio waves transmitted by routers.
The stimuli are then translated as information – codes – by the adapter, which takes them to the computer via the USB connection. Hence, the machine makes this information reach you as pages to be accessed by your browser.
All of this takes place without the need for an external adapter, since notebooks and PCs have their own devices, and at the speed of a click. Or at least it should.
What problems can a USB network adapter solve?
For the process described above to take place in such a short time, your participants must be very well synchronized, especially in the case of wireless connection.
The stimuli have to be produced in the proper way to the adapter, which in turn must contain the necessary tools to convert them, just as the computer needs sufficient processing capacity to carry the information in the correct time.
Sometimes the signal from the routers (the stimulus) is not strong enough to reach the range of the internal adapter. The latter sometimes do not have antennas (the tools) compatible with the frequency of the radio waves transmitted by the routers.
Cable connections eliminate these dissonances between intermediaries and are more secure. They just aren’t that practical in a world of portable devices.
Even so, computers themselves may also have a limit on the speed (capacity) at which they receive and take information to the browser, regardless of how they reach it, wired or wirelessly.
In any case, the question arises when this speed limit is lower than that of the sending of information by the internet operator.
For all of these problems, the USB network adapter may have the solution. In this case, it is not just a converter, but a connection facilitator.
What are the advantages of a USB network adapter?
USB network adapters may offer an antenna that covers the area where the weak signal from the router does not reach, or the ability to read a wave frequency that the computer’s internal adapter does not have, in addition to a processing speed limit larger than the computer’s internal network card.
This is all just a “plug in” away. Connected via USB, the adapters save you the trouble of opening your notebook and installing a new card, apart from the risk of damaging the device. Not to mention the possibility of upgrading the external, removable antennas.
Portability and practicality, however, come at a price. To fit everything in a device of a few centimeters or even millimeters, in addition to the consumer wallet, the efficiency of some components are sacrificed.
Internal antennas, less powerful than the external ones, are an example; the reduced speed limit due to a lower cost chip, another. Otherwise, the value can be quite high.
There is also the issue of service life, which decreases considerably as the adapters are exposed to the heat that emanates from the computer, due to the USB connection.
Finally, one thing needs to be clear: the adapter does not work miracles. It works only on transporting information and can optimize it only to a certain extent. The limit of the adapter, and of your computer, in fact, is the speed delivered by the operator, not necessarily the promised.
Wireless or Ethernet adapter?
There is a basic variety among USB network adapters, which are the type of connection they are current on: Wireless or via cable. While wireless uses antennas to capture the signal transmitted by the router, the cabling needs only an Ethernet type input.
More technologically sophisticated and more practical, the wireless network adapter is also more expensive. The cable adapter, on the other hand, guarantees an even more stable connection.
The choice between them, however, is more linked to the use of the computer. For more general uses and for different networks, the most suitable is Wireless; for more intense network uses, the Ethernet adapter is worth a look.
Antennas: internal or external, directional or omnidirectional?
Other variables reside in the group of wireless adapters, and relate to their antennas. The first, easy to view, is in your location, whether it is internal or external.
Its main difference is in the range, which in the external is greater. The internal one, on the other hand, makes the model much more portable. The latter type, then, is indicated for quick and portable uses of your notebook.
The external one is ideal for more effective uses of the network, such as video calls, streaming, online games or shared connections, such as in malls and libraries.
The other variety concerns the direction in which the antenna, whether internal or external, receives and transmits the signal from the router.
There are those in which reception is the same for all sides, horizontally speaking, being called omnidirectional antennas, while other models concentrate the interaction with the signal in a single direction, said to be directional.
The omnidirectional ones are a good choice for those who do not have a fixed place to use a notebook, while the directional ones are more suitable for offices and apartments, for example.
The price range of the USB network adapter is relatively large. You can find models from R $ 12 to R $ 200. This is due to the wide variety of components, such as antennas and network cards.
The greater the technology employed in these components – the greater the range, the greater the number of frequencies captured, the greater the speed limit – the higher the prices.
Where to buy?
You can find a wide variety of models and specifications in physical technology stores.
The online versions of these same stores, in addition to sites such as Amazon,
Purchasing Criteria: Factors for comparing USB network adapter models
From now on, will help you choose the best USB network adapter for you. For this, we list the criteria that need attention before closing the purchase:
- Usage, computer, network and router
- External antenna
We will detail each of these items so that you can make the best choice.
Usage, computer, network and router
Before thinking about your model, check the information on your computer, your router and your network. Note the internet speed your computer supports: what’s the use of buying an adapter with the limit below your own device?
The same goes for the speed that your operator provides. Sometimes you can pay dearly for an ultra-fast adapter, but it will only operate at a percentage of its capacity.
Also pay attention to the frequency at which your router emits the WiFi signal and note its range. You can think from there on whether you need an external antenna or that meets a specific frequency.
With information about your network and your devices in hand, you can think about compatible models. There are, however, two specifications that should receive the most attention regarding compatibility.
The first is the frequency at which your WiFi signal is transmitted, if it is the case for WiFi networks. There are two standard bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Therefore, if your router transmits on only one of them, choose a model that operates at least on the same frequency.
The second is more basic, but just as important: the operating system on which your adapter can operate. This criterion is more valid for those who have older Windows and Mac or Linux systems, even newer versions.
Even for popular and current OSs, it is worth a close look, as the adapter can sometimes be older, launched before your system, and therefore incompatible.
As much as the internal antennas have their practical advantages, prefer the external antennas, especially if they are removable. In addition to being more powerful and effective, they enable an upgrade, since you can purchase even better antennas separately.
Apart from that, if removable, they drastically reduce the problem of portability, since the antenna can be stored separately, in the pocket of the pants or a safe compartment of the backpack.
Finally, check the speed limit of the adapter, always, it is good to remember, considering the internet that actually arrives at your home, delivered by the operator.
However, the attention here is greater. That’s because manufacturers use two measures of internet speed, Megabyte / second (Mb / s) and Megabit / second (Mbp / s). Only one letter differentiates them, but their values are quite different.
One Megabyte equals eight Megabits, so stay tuned. An adapter with a speed of 150 Mbp / s, which seems a reasonable number at first glance, is actually equivalent to 18.75Mb / s.
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