USB Wi-Fi network adapters and dongles to enhance your online experience
If you don't have built-in WiFi in your laptop or tablet, you can still connect to the internet using USB Wi-Fi network adapters and dongles. These are tiny home network and connectivity devices that plug into any available USB port on your device and will connect you to any local WiFi signal that you have the password for.
USB Wi-Fi network adapter and dongle technology
Dongles come in a range of speeds from as low as 54Mbps to a lightning fast 1000Mbps. The speed you need will depend on what you are up to, with simple emails and web browsing perfectly possible at lower speeds, while watching HD videos or playing interactive games will require a much faster data rate.
Dual band USB Wi-Fi network adapters and dongles
Dual band technology allows your device to move between a lower band, usually 2.4GHz, for low-speed internet use, and a higher band, usually 5.8GHz, for high-speed gaming and movies. Dual band dongles are the most flexible and will give you uninterrupted performance.
Plug and play
Most dongles are universal and will work with both Mac and PC, even if you are running an older operating system. What's more, you can normally just plug and play, without lengthy installation or driver downloads.
Choosing USB Wi-Fi network adapters and dongles
To ensure your dongle will be compatible, look for the 802.11 symbol, as this relates to the latest industry standard for WiFi connections. You should also check that the USB connector matches your machine, as you may need a mini USB for some tablets.
There are many well-known brands in the USB Wi-Fi network adapter market, including Netgear, Belkin, Realtek and D-Link network adapter dongles, although you can make savings by buying unbranded dongles which can work every bit as well.