Many new laptops, smartphones, and other devices ship with WiFi 6 (also known as 802.11ax) capabilities built in. But if you aren’t ready to buy a new PC just to improve wireless performance, maybe you can just buy a USB stick that’ll do the trick.
D-Link has one coming later this year for about $100.
The D-Link DWA-AX1850 is a USB 3.0 dongle that plugs into a laptop or desktop computer to add support for:
- Data transfer speeds up to 1.2 Gbps over 5 Hz networks
- Speeds up to 574 Mbps over 2.4 Hz networks
- MU-MIMO and OFDMA technologies
- WPA3 encryption
Keep in mind that you’ll need a WiFi 6 router in order to take full advantage of this accessory – and of course D-Link and other companies are introducing many of those during the virtual Consumer Electronics Show this week as well.
WiFi 6 is designed to reduce network congestion and offer higher speeds than WiFi 5 (802.11ac), but it’s just starting to roll out. Dongles like the one D-Link is introducing may help ease the transition by letting you upgrade one piece at a time. Maybe your next phone or tablet has WiFi 6 and you decided to upgrade your router… but you’d rather spend $100 on an accessory for your laptop than buy a whole new PC.
Or you could just keep using your laptop’s WiFi 5 technology. Odds are it’ll be almost as fast.