Wifi to usb dongle: The best USB Wi-Fi adapter in 2022

Wi-Fi 6, 2.5GbE, 5G USB Adapters Keep PCs Up-to-date

 January 2023         Ian Chiu

When you need to quick and easy way to upgrade your laptop and desktop to the latest wireless and wired network standards, nothing beats the convenience of a USB adapter. Wi-Fi 6/E and 2.5GbE options are available with some shipping in a small, pocketable dongle. And since virtually every USB port supports at least 5Gbps, bandwidth bottleneck has become a thing of the past even with the network adapters going full throttle. Last but not least, you will find Realtek chipset in almost all of these adapters listed below as the company traditionally has been the dominant force in this market sector.

Wi-Fi 6 & 6E Adapters

On the wireless front, households and small offices are beginning to jump onto the Wi-Fi 6 bandwagon. USB dongles like D-link DWA-X1850, MSI AX1800, and NETGEAR Nighthawk AXE3000 make it easy for outdated laptops and desktops to make the upgrade.

D-link DWA-X1850 is one of the first dual-band USB Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) adapters. Being a 2×2 device, the D-link can reach a top speed of 1200Mbps theoretically on 5Ghz waveband and 574Mbps on 2.4Ghz. This suggests the adapter is capped at 80Mhz channel width.

Whereas the previous Wi-Fi 6 adapter features internal antenna, TP-Link Archer TX20U Plus features external dual-band 5dbi high gain antennas. Being able to adjust the antenna depending on the environment makes a world of difference. It’s crucial if you choose to go with 5Ghz when you need all the signal strength to maintain a strong connection with your Wi-Fi 6 router through walls and floors. Upon connection, the adapter would try to mount the onboard driver as a USB drive volume which can result in it being flagged as a high level threat by some malware scanners. In case this happens, it’s best to grab the latest drivers from TP-Link.

If you don’t like a pair of antennas sticking out, then four-inch long MSI AX1800 may be a better option. It still provides a flip-out antenna for improved wireless reception while keeping its dongle form factor. Also being a dual-stream device, expect the top speed to be around 1200Mbps on 5Ghz band.

Opening up 6Ghz band for unlicensed use by FCC in the States and its equivalents worldwide has also put Wi-Fi 6E on the fast track. If you have a compatible router, the Nighthawk AXE3000 is the right dongle on the receiving end.

NETGEAR Wi-Fi 6E USB adapter – the first of its kind- is a tri-band device that takes advantage of the relatively unused 6Ghz wireless spectrum. Maximum performance to be around 1200Mbps even on 6Ghz since the NETGEAR – like the D-link – also lacks 160Mhz data channel support. Having said that, those who already run a heavily congested Wi-Fi network should find AXE3000 works better as it has a lot more channels to avoid overlapping with other clients on the same network.

Lastly, there’s a Wifi 6 USB adapter from Asus not much larger than a Logitech Bolt receiver. Asus USB-AX56 Nano succeeds AX55 as the smallest 802.11ax dongle, with dimensions measuring 25 by 16 by 9mm. For reasons unknown, Asus only supports USB 2.0, which definitely hurts the wireless range and speed. The other four models discussed above all support USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) in comparison.

2.5GbE & Gigabit Ethernet Adapters

One thing you won’t find on modern ultra-thin laptops is an Ethernet jack. As few manufacturers would include a discrete network adapter with their notebooks, USB-C Ethernet dongles like Plugable USBC-E2500 and Belkin USB-C to Ethernet with Charge Adapter the will remain indispensable for some time to come.

Plugable USBC-E2500 is a compact adapter with an RJ45 connector on one end and a short USB-C cable tethered to the opposite end. Powered by Realtek RTL8156B, the USBC-E2500 goes beyond Gigabit performance to deliver 2.5Gbps with ubiquitous Cat 5E cabling. The adapter comes with a built-in driver that works with major OSes including iPadOS and ChromeOS. For additional performance boost and compatibility, Plugable provides updated drivers on its website.

Belkin USB-C to Ethernet with Charge Adapter is another option. This one delivers Ethernet speed up to a gigabit and includes a USB-C jack as power pass-through that delivers up to 60W for the host. Normally, most users wouldn’t need the power pass-through except on an Apple iPad or an Android tablet in which case there’s only a single USB-C onboard. For handheld PC gamers, the adapter will also charge Steam Deck at full speed while you enjoy lag-free competitive gaming over wired Ethernet.

5G Modem Dongle

The Acer Predator Connect D5 is one of the first 5G USB modems on the market. As a dongle, it doesn’t take much space nor requires its own battery like a mobile 5G Wi-Fi hotspot would. Its peak speed is between 2.7Gbps (pure 5G) and 2.5Gbps (hybrid network), depending on the base station you’re connected to. 5G can run hot, especially during the heat of battle. To keep things cool, the Predator Connect D5 is equipped with a centrifugal fan hidden beneath the grill cover.

Touted as a gamer’s 5G dongle, the Predator Connect D5 has various means to improve network performance during esports games. First and foremost, Acer partners with WTFast to allow the dongle’s “gaming traffic” to be routed through a special VPN (or GPN as WTFast would call it) to minimize latency. When that time-limited trial ends, there’s still ExtremeRoute utility that automatically gives priority to traffic associated with online games.

USB-C to USB-A PC Bridge Cable

When you are trying to move a bunch of files from one PC to another, a USB bridge cable is an alternative to consider. It’s a logical choice for system-wide data migration when setting up a new PC without congesting your wireless or wired network.

Cable Matters makes such a cable. It has USB-C on one end and good old USB-A on the opposite end for your older computer. As the 2m transfer cable is designed for last-generation USB ports, the maximum speed is limited to 5Gbps for compatibility purposes.

For cross-platform data exchange, the Cable Matters’ bundled PClinq 5 comes into play. It supports drag-and-drop file transfers between any compatible OS – Mac and Windows. Also included is Bravura’s Easy Computer Sync which further allows remote control of another PC connected via the bridge cable. Additionally, the Cable Matters is compatible with PCMover if you need a smooth transition of your user settings along with applications.

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Drahtlose Technologie: 2,4 GHz


Anschlüsse: USB zu USB-C/Micro-USB

Häufig gestellte Fragen

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Set up a security key as a verification method

You can use security keys as a passwordless method for company logins. A security key is a physical device that, with a unique PIN, is used for a work or school account. Because security keys require a physical device and something only you know, this verification method is considered more secure than a username and password.

Using a security key as a passwordless authentication method is currently a public preview. If what you see on the screen doesn’t match what’s in this article, your administrator hasn’t enabled this feature yet. Until this feature is enabled, you must select a different authentication method on the Security Information page. For more information about previews, see the Microsoft Azure Preview Additional Terms of Use.


  • If you don’t see the security key option, your organization may not allow you to use this option for validation. In this case, you will need to choose another method or contact your organization’s technical support for additional assistance.

  • You must register at least one additional security check before you can register a security key.

What is a security key?

We currently support multiple security key layouts and providers using Passwordless Authentication (FIDO2) protocols. These keys allow you to sign in to your work or school account to access your organization’s cloud resources on a supported device and web browser.

An administrator or your organization will provide you with a security key if your school or school account requires one. There are different types of security keys, such as a USB drive connected to a device, or an NFC key pressed on an NFC drive. More information about the security key, including the key type, can be found in the manufacturer’s documentation.

Note: If you are unable to use the FIDO2 security key, there are other ways to verify without passwords, such as the Microsoft Authenticator app or Windows Hello. For more information about Windows Hello, see the Windows Hello overview.

Before you start

Before registering a security key, the following conditions must be met:

  • org/ListItem”>

    An administrator has enabled this feature for use by the organization.

  • You are on a device running the Windows 10 May 2019 Update and using a supported browser.

  • You have a physical security key approved by an administrator or your organization. The security key must be both FIDO2 and microsoft-compliant. If you have questions about the security key and its compatibility, please contact your organization’s help desk.

Security key registration

To sign in to your account with this key, you must create a security key and provide it with a unique PIN. Up to 10 keys can be registered in your account.


  1. Go to the My Profile page on the My Account page and sign in to your account if you haven’t already.

  2. Select Security information , select Add method , and then in the Add method list, select the security key.

  3. Select Add , and then select the security key type: USB device or NFC device.

    Note: If you are not sure what type of security key you have, refer to the manufacturer’s documentation. If you are unsure of the manufacturer, contact your organization’s technical support for assistance.

  4. org/ListItem”>

    Verify that you have the security key physically available, and then on the Security Key page, select Next .

  5. On page Set up a new registration method select Next and then:

    • If the security key is a USB device, insert the security key into the device’s USB port.

    • If the security key is an NFC device, tap the security key to read.

  6. Enter a unique Windows security key PIN and select OK. You will be returned to the Set up new registration method field.

  7. Select Next .

  8. Return to the Security Details page, enter a name for the new security key that will be recognized later, and select Next.

  9. To close page Security key , select Done. Updated security key details on the Security Details page.

Removing a security key from security data

If you have lost or no longer want to use your security key, you can remove it from your security data. This will not use the security key with your school or school account, but it will still store your data and credentials. To remove data and credential data from the security key itself, follow the instructions in the “Reset the security key” section of this article.

  1. Select the link Remove from the security key you want to remove.

  2. In the window Delete security key select OK.

The security key will be deleted and you will no longer be able to use it for your work or school account.

Important: If you deleted your security key by mistake, you can register it again using the instructions in the “Registering your security key” section of this article.

Managing security key settings from Windows Settings

You can manage security key settings from Windows Settings, including resetting the security key and creating a new security key PIN.

Security key reset

If you want to delete all account information stored in a physical security key, you must reset the key to factory defaults. Resetting a security key removes all data from it, allowing you to start over.

Important: When you reset a security key, all data will be deleted from it and factory settings will be reset. All data and credentials will be cleared.

  1. Open the app Windows Settings, select Accounts , select Settings Login , select Security Key , and then Manage .

  2. Insert the security key into the USB port or press the NFC reader to verify your identity.

  3. Follow the instructions on the screen based on the specific manufacturer of the security key. If the manufacturer of the key is not listed in the on-screen instructions, refer to the manufacturer’s website for more information.

  4. To close the Control screen, select close.

Create a NEW security key PIN

You can create a new security key PIN for the security key.


  1. Open the application Windows Settings Accounts, select Accounts, select Settings Login, select Security Key and then Manage.

  2. Insert the security key into the USB port or press the NFC reader to verify your identity.

  3. Select Add in the Security Key PIN area, enter and confirm a new Security Key PIN, and then select OK .

  4. The security key will be updated with a new security key PIN for use with your school or school account. If you decide to change your PIN again, select Change .

  5. To close the Control screen, select close.

Password reset security and authentication

Security information is used for both two-factor security verification and password reset. However, not all methods can be used for both methods.


Used for

Authenticator app

Two factor verification and password reset authentication.

Text messages

Two factor verification and password reset authentication.

Telephone calls

Two factor verification and password reset authentication.

Security key

Two factor verification and password reset authentication.

Email account

Password reset authentication only. For two-factor testing, you must choose a different method.

Security questions

Password reset authentication only.