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USB network adapters come in two variations: one terminates into an Ethernet port, so you can plug your computer into a cable modem or Wi-Fi routers; the other terminates into an antenna that sends and receives Wi-Fi signals.

Although a USB adapter and dongle are often used to describe the same thing, they’re actually very different devices. A USB adapter converts a device that isn’t Wi-Fi enabled, letting it connect to a wireless network. There needs to be a pre-existing wireless connection available in the location where you want to use your device while a dongle is a pay-monthly device used for mobile broadband. It works in a similar way to a mobile phone’s internet connection. It provides a connection for you, even if there is no wireless network around.

A USB adapter is best used when there’s a straight, clear line from the adapter itself to the wireless router (that’s the best case for any wireless adapter, but it’s especially the case with USB). Some people do find that they get very good speeds with USB wireless adapters. It likely depends on the quality of the adapter and the locations of the router and computer.

A USB wireless network adapter is about as simple as it gets: you plug it into a USB port on your computer and it connects your device to a Wi-Fi network, (Well, you might need to download some drivers and things first, but you get the idea) and that’s the single biggest advantage of using a USB wireless adapter. It’s super easy to use, it only takes a few seconds to transfer it to a new computer, and you really can’t screw up the installation. The adapter itself doesn’t take up much space, and it’s easy to use on a desktop or a laptop, whereas a PCI-e card will almost certainly be limited to a desktop.

Unfortunately, the convenience of small size comes with some drawbacks. Because most USB wireless adapters don’t pack any external antennae, they’re less powerful. They likely won’t get as strong reception as PCI-e cards, and many people report that they see lower speeds with USB adapters as well.

However, a USB wireless adapter does have benefits. It’s small, easy to install, a cinch to transfer between computers, and can get very respectable speeds in the right setups. And because your router probably isn’t in the best place for maximal speed, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to move things around to get better results.  Below are some of the best USB network (wired/wireless) adapters that you can currently find on Amazon.

Best USB Network Adapters you can buy in 2021.

 

  1. NET-DYN Mini USB Wireless Network Wi-Fi Adapter:

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The Dual-Band NET-DYN Mini AC1300 delivers reliable and secure blazing fast speeds at up 600Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1300Mpbs on 5G Band. That mean’s this USB WIFI adapter is perfect for you because it is always able to deliver you the fastest speeds. Whether you’re surfing the internet, streaming 4K HD video or gaming online

The Mini AC1300 USB wireless network adapter is supported by all WLAN routers: WPA/WPA2/WEP and works on Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000 and MAC OS X 10.9 – 10.15. This means you will instantly increase productivity and achieve peak performance

The NET-DYN AC1300 is also pretty easy to set up so you will be ready in no time. With a few simple steps of plugging it in and then installing the Driver, you are good to go. Whether you’re using Windows or Mac, one cool part about this adapter is so small you will barely even notice it is plug into your laptop or desktop. This device is definitely worth checking out on Amazon.

 

  1. UGREEN Ethernet Adapter:

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This Portable USB to Ethernet adapter connects a USB 2.0 equipped computer or tablet to a router, modem, or network switch to bring Fast Ethernet to your network connection. This USB 2.0 to Ethernet adapter offers a Full 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet performance over USB 2.0’s up to 480 Mbps and provides a fast and stable Ethernet for gaming. It is compatible for Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, Wii, Wii U.

This lightweight USB to network adapter is also a perfect accessory for adding a standard RJ45 port to your Ultrabook, notebook, or Macbook Air for file transferring, video conferencing, gaming, HD video streaming, and an excellent Standby for Macbook without an Ethernet socket when wireless fails. It connects your computer or tablet to a router, modem or network switch for network connection.

 

  1. TP-Link Nano Size USB WiFi Adapter:

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The TP-LINK’s 150 Mbps wireless Nano USB adapter is pretty much one of the smallest sized network adapters on the market currently and it allows users to connect a desktop or notebook computer to a wireless network at 150Mbps. This miniature adapter is designed to be as convenient as possible and once connected to a computer’s USB port, can be left there, whether traveling or at home. It also features enhanced wireless encryption and easy installation.

With its miniature size and sleek design, users can connect the nano adapter to any USB port and leave it there. There’s no need to worry about blocking adjacent USB interfaces or that the adapter may fall out when moving a connected laptop from place A to B, with the tiny device flush against the USB port. Upgrade your Wi-Fi speeds up to 150 Mbps for lag free video streaming and Internet calls with nanodevice while also having a stronger Wi-Fi Coverage of 2. 4GHz band.

Features:

  • Mini Design
  • Wireless security supports 64/128 WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA PSK/WPA2 PSK (TKIP/AES), supports IEEE 802. 1x
  • Compatibility: Compatible with Windows (XP/7/8/8. 1/10) Mac OS (10. 9 – 10. 15) Linux Kernel (2. 6. 18 – 4. 4. 3)
  • Driver installation may be required

 

  1. Amazon Basics USB Ethernet Internet Adapter:

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Want to connect to a network, but your computer or tablet lacks an Ethernet port? No problem. With this Amazon Basics USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapter, you can easily connect your USB 3.0 device to a router, modem, or network switch to deliver Gigabit Ethernet to your network connection. The adapter instantly bridges the gap. Simply insert the adapter’s USB connector into your device’s USB port and connect your Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port on the other end of the adapter.

For faster data-transfer speeds, the Amazon Basics USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapter can also be used to add wired network support to Chromebooks and Android tablets or to USB 2.0 laptops or desktops that are currently limited to 10/100 Ethernet. The adapter also works well for replacing a broken internal network card, adding a separately routable network interface, and/or sending files peer-to-peer over Ethernet.

Worthy of note is that this Ethernet adapter is compatible with Windows 10/8/7 and Mac OS but does not support Chrome OS, Windows RT or Android.

 

Features:

  • Connects a USB 3.0 device (computer/laptop) to a router, modem, or network switch
  • Does not support Smart TV or gaming consoles (e.g. Nintendo Switch).
  • Supported features include Wake-on-LAN function, Green Ethernet & IEEE 802.3az-2010 (Energy Efficient Ethernet)
  • Supports IPv4/IPv6 pack Checksum Offload Engine (COE) to reduce Central Processing Unit (CPU) loading
  • Compatible with Windows 10/8/7, does not support macOS, Chrome OS, Windows RT, Linux or Android.

 

 

  1. TP-Link USB Wireless Network Adapter:

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This USB Wi-Fi adapter provides long-range and lag-free connection throughout the house. The dual-band 2. 4 GHz and 5 GHz band feature it comes with provides flexible connectivity, giving your devices access to the latest dual-band Wi-Fi router for faster speed and extended range

The 5dBi High-gain antenna greatly enhances the reception and transmission signal strength of the USB Adapter and It supports the Windows 10, 8. 1, 8, 7, XP/ Mac OS X 10. 9-10. 1 and driver installation may be required on their website

The Archer T2U Plus receives Wi-Fi signals on two separate bands as the 256QAM support increases the 2.4 GHz data rate from 150 Mbps to 200 Mbps, delivering faster quality performance. 200 Mbps speeds on the 2.4 GHz band is perfect for normal use, such as web surfing with legacy devices while the 433 Mbps speeds on the 5 GHz band is ideal for HD streaming and lag-free online gaming.

With an adjustable multi-directional antenna you can rotate and adjust the antenna in multiple directions to improve user experience and performance in different environments and It also utilizes its 5dBi high gain external antenna to insure stronger signal transmission and reception.

 

Features:

  • Adjustable multi-directional antenna
  • Lag-Free Quality Connections
  • The Dual-band 2. 4 GHz and 5 GHz
  • Compatible with Windows 10, 8. 1, 8, 7, XP/ Mac OS X 10. 9-10 and gaming.

 

  1. Cable Matters USB to Ethernet Adapter (USB 3.0 to Ethernet):

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The Cable Matters USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter is specifically designed to provide network capabilities to older computers or new thin notebooks without an Ethernet port. Instantly add network connectivity to a computer with USB 3.0 for extremely fast file transfers or streaming downloads. Wired connections provide faster data transfers and better security than a Wi-Fi connection.

Simply plug the adapter into the USB port of your computer without downloading any external software drivers. Connect to an available wired Ethernet network at home, the office, or in the hotel with this lightweight adapter that travels easily in your laptop sleeve and It features universal compatibility with Chrome OS, Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows operating systems.

The USB to Gigabit Ethernet adapter supports super speed USB 3.0 data transfer rate up to 5 Gbps for 1000 BASE-T network performance with backward compatibility to 10/100 Mbps networks and it can also serve as a wireless alternative USB to RJ45 adapter for connecting to the Internet in Wi-Fi dead zones, streaming large video files, or downloading a software upgrade through a wired home or office LAN.

With native driver support in Chrome, Mac, and Windows OS; the USB Ethernet adapter dongle supports important performance features including Wake-on-Lan (WoL), Full-Duplex (FDX) and Half-Duplex (HDX) Ethernet, Crossover Detection, Backpressure Routing, Auto-Correction (Auto MDIX).

 

  1. QGeeM USB C to Ethernet Adapter:

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Designed specifically for plug-n-play stable connection between USB- Type C devices and wired network, this device provides gigabit Ethernet connectivity even when wireless connectivity is inconsistent or weak.

You get to obtain stable connection speeds up to 1 Gbps with this adapter and it is downward compatible with 100Mbps/10Mbps/1Mbps. This Type-C to LAN Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 network adapter provides large downloads maximum velocity, and no more interruption.

It is compatible with USB-C devices like MacBook Pro 2020 and before, MacBook Air 2020, iPad Pro 2020and before, Dell XPS 13/15, Surface Book 2, Pixelbook, Chromebook, Asus ZenBook, Lenovo Yoga 720/910/920, Samsung S8/S8 Plus/Note 8/Note 9, Samsung Tablet Tab A 10.5, Pixel / Pixel 2, and many other USB-C laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Worth pointing out is that with a user-friendly non-slip design for easier plug and unplug, braided nylon cable for extra durability, and premium aluminum casing for better heat insulation, it fits snugly with the USB-C ports on your devices and comes with a complimentary pouch suitable for traveling.

 

Features:

  • Type C Ethernet Wide Compatibility
  • Non-slip Grips &Snugly Fits
  • Braided Nylon Cable and Advanced Aluminum Case
  • LAN to USB C Adapter
  • USB C Network Adapter

 

Conclusion

The biggest reason you’ll want a USB network adapter is to increase your computer’s internet speed and the listed ones above tick that important box. All of the USB network adapters in this writing work with both PCs and Macs but if you’re connecting it to a MacBook released after 2016, you may need a USB-A to USB-C adapter to plug it in.