7 Best Wi-Fi 6 Adapters: Your Buyer’s Guide

wifi 6 adapters

123RF (tanaonte)

Upgrading to a fancy, new Wi-Fi 6 router is an awesome feeling but only having a few Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices is not. That’s why we tracked down the best Wi-Fi 6 adapters and 802.11ax wireless cards for upgrading your desktop or laptop (respectively). Just note that these require a newer Intel processor and an open PCIe or M.2 slot depending on the form factor.

What Are the Best Wi-Fi 6 Adapters in 2020?

asus wifi 6 adapter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
  • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
  • Powerful magnetic antenna
Price: $69.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
tplink ax3000 wifi 6 adapter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
  • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
  • Powerful magnetic antenna
Price: $49.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
arous wifi 6 adapter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
  • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
  • Powerful magnetic antenna
Price: $40.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
edup wifi 6 adapter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
  • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
  • Driverless setup
Price: $39.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ubit wifi 6 adapter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
  • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
  • Driverless install
Price: $39.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
intel ax200 wifi 6 card Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.1
  • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
  • Low price tag
Price: $21.29 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
killer 1650x wifi 6 card Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.1
  • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
  • Useful software stack
Price: $35.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Asus AX3000 PCe-AX58BT Wi-Fi 6 Card

    Pros:
    • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
    • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
    • Powerful magnetic antenna
    Cons:
    • High price tag
    • Antenna cable could be longer
    • Poor documentation

    The Asus PCe-AX58BT may be fairly pricey for a Wi-Fi card but it delivers standout Wi-Fi 6 performance that makes it one of the best choices for upgrading a computer with a PCIe slot to Wi-Fi 6. It boasts a max 2.4 Gbps downstream with 2×2 MU-MIMO and OFDMA support. It includes a magnetic antenna to attach as well but the cables are a little short. It doesn’t come with the best documentation but it is plug-and-play with most systems anyway. 

  2. 3. Gigabyte GC-WBAX200 Wi-Fi 6 Card

    Pros:
    • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
    • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
    • Powerful magnetic antenna
    Cons:
    • No heatsink
    • Poor documentation
    • No inlcuded USB cable

    The Gigabyte GC-WBAX200 is a reliable Wi-Fi adapter that will update any computer with a third-generation PCIe port to be compatible with the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard. This raises the theoretical max throughput to 2.4 Gbps, which is likely twice as high as it was on the previous AC standard (if not more). It supports both OFDMA and MU-MIMO so your router can simultaneously broadcast to this and another client. This card does not have a heatsink but that also gives a lower profile, which is good if you have a Titan GPU or some other peripheral hogging up case real estate. Unless your computer already runs dangerously hot, then this is just as solid of a pick as any other Wi-Fi 6 adapter.

     

     

  3. 4. EDUP AX3000 PCIe Wi-Fi 6 Card

    Pros:
    • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
    • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
    • Driverless setup
    Cons:
    • No antenna mount
    • Poor documentation
    • Not compatible with older motherboards

    The EDUP AX3000 is an impressive Wi-Fi adapter that modernizes any PC with an available third-gen (or newer) PCIe slot on its motherboard with Wi-Fi 6 wireless and Bluetooth 5.0. Setup is quite simple and won’t require drivers for most Windows 10 machines. Just keep in mind that all PCIe cards need to be plugged into your motherboard via USB to use the Bluetooth connection. This is not required for the Wi-Fi 6 however. Even though its antennas do not have a nifty magnetic mount like other brands have, this device still promises improvements to your home Wi-Fi by sheer grace of this new technology.

  4. 5. Ubit AX200 Wi-Fi 6 Adapter

    Pros:
    • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
    • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
    • Driverless install
    Cons:
    • No antenna mount
    • Poor documentation
    • No heatsink

    The Ubit AX200 Wi-Fi 6 Adapter is a simple and inexpensive way to improve your PC’s connection to your Wi-Fi 6 compatible router. With its updated networking capabilities, this card can achieve up to 2.9 Gbps in throughput assuming there are no physical obstructions. Of course, it only has rear-mounted antennas, so you are certain to have some interference unless your desktop sits in the middle of an open room. The laws of physics aside, this wireless card still performs incredibly well. It has MU-MIMO and OFDMA support. For many systems, it is a driverless installation. If however, you do need drivers to run this card, I recommend using the Intel Driver & Support Assistant tool. This works fine since the Ubit AX200 actually runs on Intel’s chip of the same name.

  5. 6. Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200NGW Card

    Pros:
    • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.1
    • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
    • Low price tag
    Cons:
    • Drivers need to be installed online
    • Does not include mounting screw
    • No vPro support

    The AX200NGW Card is the most common of Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 certified chips. It is so common that it can be found at the core of every other Wi-Fi 6 adapter we reviewed. With that in mind, there isn’t much to say about its performance that hasn’t already been said.

    This version is designed to fit into the M.2 slot (either 2230 or 1216) of a laptop and will work with any newer, Intel-powered PC running Windows 10, Linux, or Chrome OS. It adds both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support, which is likely to be a two-part upgrade for most laptops manufactured before 2020. The Intel Driver & Support Assistant makes it easy to automatically grab the right drivers, as long as you take care of this task before you install the wireless card.

    One quick note is that unlike the Killer AX1650, this version does not have vPro support. If you don’t plan to receive remote tech support on this laptop, then that is a good thing. It is also why the Intel AX200NGW is the best price value for an M.2 Wi-Fi 6 card right now. Give this card a try and you will be blown away by what a vast improvement can be made by such a cheap upgrade.

  6. 7. Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 Module

    Pros:
    • Supports Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.1
    • 2x2 MU-MIMO + OFDMA
    • Useful software stack
    Cons:
    • Doesn't work with older CPUs
    • Drivers need to be installed online
    • (Comparatively) high price tag

    The Killer AX1650 Module is a feature-packed Wi-Fi 6 card that is designed to slot into a laptop’s M.2 2230 or 1216 port. It actually surpasses the standard Intel AX200NGW chip it was derived from by adding a useful software suite to the equation. Just keep in mind that this Wi-Fi 6 card is not plug-and-play. You have to install the drivers from the Killer Networking website.

    When you download this chip’s drivers you will also want to install the Killer Control Center, a supplementary software suite that helps you get the most out of this wireless card. It lets you monitor network usage and set QoS like you would from a router. It also lets you use the xTend feature to turn your PC into a wireless extender.

    One thing to note about this card is that they support vPro. This is good if you typically use Intel’s management stack for remote system administration, but it can be a security risk otherwise. Be sure to disable it in your BIOS if you don’t plan to use it. You can find more information about vPro over at Laptopmag.com.

    These extra features are what make the Killer 1650x the wireless card of choice for all Alienware laptops in 2020 but note that they also make this wireless card a bit pricier than the stock AX200NGW chip. If you don’t think you’ll benefit from the addition of the software or vPro compatibility, then you may be able to save a couple bucks by opting for the AX200NGW instead.

    New Killer AX1650 Wireless Card | Alienware Tech TalkErnie presents the new Killer AX1650 Wireless Card featured in the Alienware Area-51M Gaming Laptop that pairs with a Netgear Nighthawk AX router. This Wi-Fi 6 module is made to deliver an incredible gaming experience. Watch more Area-51M videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6OuPMr7KlU&list=PLpDhGs-OGYvvy27mUwNR318_mBgsoXVIq&index=1 Learn more from our blog post on the Killer AX Wireless card on Alienware Arena: https://na.alienwarearena.com/ucf/show/2019600/boards/gaming-news/News/the-killer-wi-fi-6-ax1650-is-out-what-does-that-mean-for-wireless-gaming System Configuration: Alienware Area-51m https://bit.ly/2L9W1jR i9-9900K NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 32GB, 2x 16GB DDR4 2400MHz Killer AX 1650 Wireless 2 x 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB Hybrid Drive 17.3"" FHD (1920×1080) 144Hz IPS GSYNC Display Follow us! Let's talk! Ernie: https://twitter.com/Spacecase522 The Official Alienware Discord: https://discord.gg/AqZNSHe Alienware Services YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/Alienwareservices Alienware Arena: http://goo.gl/HnzHTg This video is about the new Killer AX1650 Wi-Fi card featured in the Alienware Area-51M Gaming PC Laptop.2019-06-19T18:59:56.000Z

How to Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest wireless protocol, boasting a theoretical max speed of 10 Gbps and a massively improved device capacity. But if you want to be one of the first to enjoy the improved throughput of the new 802.11ax standard, then you will pretty much have to replace every wireless device on your network. For smart home devices, it makes sense to simply upgrade these as they break or become obsolete. For desktops and laptops, however, you can postpone a total upgrade by installing a new Wi-Fi 6 compatible wireless card.

At this time, the market for Wi-Fi 6 components is quite slim, so you can pretty much go with any adapter sporting an Intel AX200NGW module. All of the Wi-Fi 6 adapters that we reviewed sport this card, so you simply need to make sure that it is compatible with your system and then install it into your device's motherboard.

How to Tell if Your Computer is Wi-Fi 6 Compatible

While these Wi-Fi 6 cards should work with any newer, Intel-powered PC running Windows 10, Linux, or Chrome OS, there are a couple warning signs that your PC may not play nicely with a Wi-Fi 6 card. These cards aren't likely to work if you have an older AMD processor or an Intel 9560 CNVi. If you have BIOS lock like some older Lenovo devices do, you should disable that. If you are still a little confused, you can always contact your manufacturer to ensure that the device is compatible with an AX200NGW card.

How to Install a Wi-Fi Card

The procedure for installing a Wi-Fi card varies somewhat depending on what form factor you are talking about. It is fairly simple in any case.

M.2 Wi-Fi 6 Adapters

M.2 Wi-Fi cards usually slot into laptop motherboards. They typically require you to dismantle your laptop to install them unless you have an unscrewable window for upgrading. This can be tricky and may void your warranty, so make sure you know what you are doing before you go in.

PCIe Wi-Fi 6 Adapters

PCIe Wi-Fi cards are typically the easiest to install. With your machine powered down, all you need to do is slot the card into a compatible PCIe slot (third-generation or newer) and screw it into the backplate. If the card has Bluetooth compatibility, you will also need to connect a USB header to your motherboard. Depending what software stacks you already have installed on your PC, you may or may not have to install a driver afterward as well.

USB Wi-Fi 6 Adapters

Wireless USB dongles are typically the easiest to install, as they don't require you to open up your device at all or even turn it off. They are often plug-and-play and usually only require an open USB port. Unfortunately, there aren't any 802.11ax USB adapters available at this time but we will be sure to update this list to include some once they are available.

See Also

7 Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers: Your Buyer’s Guide

7 Best Docsis 3.1 Modems for Gigabit Internet

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