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USB Wifi Adapter Speeds in 2024

With wifi networks all around us, from your home to the trains we use around town and even local family-run pubs and cafes supporting their own networks, connectivity is more important than ever.

Tech has advanced fast, and older hardware might still be perfectly usable, but what if you don't want to miss out on modern internet speeds and wireless connections?

Save yourself a bit of cash with a USB wifi adapter. These little adapters can revolutionise your old tech into modern wireless wonders, for a fraction of the cost of upgrading the whole computer.

What is a Wifi Adapter?

A Wifi Adapter is a device which can connect directly to your PC, laptop or other electronics and provides Wifi reception. This means the device will be able to connect to existing wireless networks. This could be your home WIfi from your router, or a public wifi such as on a train or at a cafe.

The important distinction is that a wifi adapter or wifi dongle will add wifi functionality to a device, but not create a new wifi network. The network must exist already from a router, for example.

Unlike Bluetooth, which can connect two Bluetooth devices directly, Wifi operates using open networks and so needs a central device or router to "host" that network.

This all means that a wifi adapter for PC or laptop will be most useful for those with wired or outdated technology, bringing the wifi connectivity into 2024.

Do I Need a Wifi Adapter?

There are a few reasons someone might choose to use a Wifi adatper.

  1. You have a wired device. Some computers use an ethernet port and do not posses a network card or wireless antenna at all. A wifi dongle can be added to fill-in that functionality and provide even wired devices with wireless connections.
  2. You have an outdated network card. The components responsible for your wifi connectivity have come a long way in the last decade or so. If you have an older device, it's possible that a Wifi dongle will actually increase your internet speeds on your laptop.
  3. You have a broken network card. Finally, if the network card breaks entirely then a wifi adapter can save the day by providing the same functionality just via the USB port, saving money over buying internal components or a whole new PC!

Is My Wifi Outdated?

If you're not sure why your laptop or tablet is running so slowly online despite having fast broadband, then a high-speed wifi dongle could solve the issue.

To identify if this is your issue, first run a speed check using Google as well as checking your device properties for the specific network card being used.

When comparing these components and speeds you'll be working in Mbps or Megabits per Second.

This is simply a measure of how much data you can use per second, so is the main measure of how fast or good your wifi is.

If you find your wired internet, or wifi on another device, is up at 250Mbps but your old laptop is on 50Mbps, then it's time for an upgrade to the laptop!

For reference, the average speed for UK home internet in 2023 was between 65 and 85 Mbps. This is a sort of minimum figure you'd expect to see on a test, as the average is brought down by the vast amounts of low-frequency users.

Cheap USB Wifi Adapter for 2024

With the average speeds still as low as the 100's of Mbps, bringing your old laptop or PC into 2024 is cheaper than you think. With a simple USB dongle you can connect to modern wifi and enjoy speeds of up to 150Mbsp all for under a tenner. The fact that 150Mbps can be accessed for under £10 is a testament to the improvement of the nation's broadband and our accessibility to it.

150Mbps is enough for even some intense use, like streaming video or gaming, as well as more casual browsing and downloads. For professionals who need on-the-go editing and file uploads or something like YouTube content uploading, 150Mbps is likely not enough.

As an ordinary browser, gamer or viewer, though, 150Mbps is plenty.

And that's all there is to it. Wifi adapters are simple and powerful bits of kit for connecting a computer to a wifi network, usually to improve the speed of the connection, or replace a broken or missing network card.

Be sure to check your speeds and pick up a cheap and cheerful adapter which is right for your tech!

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