You know how frustrated you get when your YouTube videos take forever to buffer because of your internet connection? Now imagine how mad you would get if your online gaming screen keeps starting and stopping because you don’t exactly have the best WiFi adapter for gaming.
Seamless HD video streaming, lag-free online gaming, and being able to sit back and try to remember the button combinations for that “killer move” you know is what awesome online gaming is about! Not worrying that you won’t be able to execute the move because your WiFi connection is unreliable.
When talking about wireless adapters, you simply must consider both USB adapters and PCI-E wireless cards; each one of these options has its own rightful place in the realm of Wifi adapters for gaming.
Best WiFi Adapters for Gaming
Here are some of the best WiFi adapters for online gaming in the market today:
1. Best Overall – Editors Pick
This Asus AC3100 PCIe adapter (PCE-AC88) is an internal wireless card with all the excellent features akin to more professional cards. This card has four dedicated antennae, which ensure that you have a connection speed that rivals even the best-corded internet connections. This means that this card won’t be the cause of your lag issues should you experience any.
Furthermore, it doubles up as an amazing signal extender. Unlike most adapters, this option isn’t prone to overheating and will operate at comfortable low temperatures as long your PC case isn’t running hot as well.
- Impressive speeds of up to 2100Mbps (5GHz band) as well as 1000Mbps (2.4GHz)
- The external antenna has a magnetic base, which allows for flexible placement for better coverage
- The individual antennas can attach to the PCIe card for compact installation.
- Custom heatsink ensures this card runs at very low temperatures
- OS supports Windows only
2. Best USB WiFi Adapter
If you prefer a USB wireless adapter instead of an internal wireless card, this NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi USB Adapter is an excellent option for you. It’s simple enough to use and offers you impressive speeds and amazing bandwidth capacity.
Designed to work with any router, this adapter doubles as a signal extender giving you more range and, therefore, flexibility. Setting it up is simple enough with the NETGEAR genie App, allowing you to control and monitor your connection via your phone or tablet.
Although, if you prefer, you can also use the installation CD provided. With this USB 3.0 adapter, you get explicit Beamforming+, which boosts your speeds, reliability, and range.
- Excellent speeds of up to 600Mbps (2.4GHz) and 1300Mbps (5GHz)
- Dual-band WiFi for faster connections
- Compatible with both Windows and Mac
- Works well with any WiFi router
- A bit pricey for a USB WiFi adapter
3. Best Budget PCIe Option
If you are into internal wireless cards but are a little concerned about the prices, this TP-Link Archer T6E AC1300 and TxE Series present the perfect solution to that problem. Thankfully, it’s not just a cheap option; it does bring a lot to the table while at it.
As a standard two antenna card, it has a big brother card that greatly improves the features you get from it. The truth is, however, while this card offers you excellent speeds, it might not be the best option for people who enjoy highly competitive twitch shooter games like CS: GO.
That being said, the speeds offered by this card are adequate for downloading and enjoying any games that do just fine with the slightest of lags, such as MMO or MOBA games.
- Very fast speeds of up to 1300Mbps
- Very stable performance
- Uses heatsink technology to ensure that it runs at very low temperatures, which improves performance and reliability
- Has 2 external antennae, which improve its range
- You might need to buy additional components to improve the speed
When it comes to buying the best WiFi adapter for gaming, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. For one thing, you need to be cognizant of the fact that adapters are not created equal. There is a huge difference between the kind of features that one has over the others, the speed, the range, form factor, and so much more.
To the average online gamer, the one thing that matters the most is the speed. However, the speed alone isn’t going to be enough to cater to every single one of your gaming needs as they grow. Therefore, you need to combine the speed with a few other key factors such as:
- Form Factor: The most common type of wireless adapter is an external USB adapter. This type can be directly plugged into the USB slot of your PC and is often connected to larger devices that have an antenna and offer more power than the simple USB dongle. The other type is an internal wireless card that you plug into the PCIe slot. These are the most powerful adapters in the gaming world.
- Range: Your distance from the router often affects connectivity. If your online gaming station is far from your router, you might want to buy a WiFi gaming adapter that also doubles as a signal extender.
- Internal or External Form: The best and most reliable adapters will be the internal cards. These tend to have speeds that rival even the most reliable of corded connections. The only problem is that they aren’t as portable as USB wireless adapters.
- Compatibility: Although this is hardly an issue nowadays, there are WiFi adapters (especially for gaming using Apple devices) that might not be compatible with the kind of gaming PC you have. Just check to ensure that the Wi-Fi adapter you have in mind is compatible with your PC OS.
Buying the best WiFi adapter for gaming is a noteworthy investment. Not only will it improve your gaming experience, but some actually improve your online gaming security. The options outlined above are all excellent alternatives for people looking to upgrade their online gaming experience.