Finding The Strongest USB Wireless Adapter For Your Laptop
There are dozens of so called USB “long range wireless adapters” on the market that promise to enable you to pick up WiFi from many blocks away. These are very useful for anyone who travels, students on large campuses and large businesses with poor network coverage. If you know where to look you can often find free WiFi in almost every city with one of these devices.
The reason that these long range USB type wireless adapters are so much stronger is because they use high gain antennas and more milliwatts of output power. The Alfa, for example, puts out two watts, according to the manufacturer, or about 20 times what your laptop’s built in card does. The 5 dB gain antenna helps as well, since built in wireless adapters have antennas with a negative gain factor, measured in dB.
I’ve recently purchased three of the top long range WiFi adapters and tested them in a variety of locations, even atop a 9000′ mountain. The ones that I bought include the Engenius EUB-362, as seen below, The Alfa AWUS036NH, and the GSKY 500 mW long range wireless adapter.
Below is a photo of The Engenius EUB-362 long range USB wireless adapter.
The Engenius high power WiFi adapter is made by Senao, maker of ultra long range cordless phones. Senao has a lot of experience in this area. Some of their long range cordless home phones can work over 9 miles away from the home base station. I find that the EUB-362 seen above has the highest sensitivity of any USB type long range wireless adapter I have tested. It features a detachable antenna and an RP-SMA jack which can be connected to a much more powerful antenna, such as a grid parabolic. I recently tested one of these on a mountain in Texas. You can see that article here: Long Range Engenius 362 and Grid Parabolic Test On Mountaintop.
This is a great USB high power wireless adapter and well worth the money for the quality of the circuitry. It receives very well, but could use more output power.
When it comes to compact USB type long range wireless adapters there are many on the market. My favorite, after having tested a few, is the Alfa AWUS036NH. This powerful adapter is no wuss. I recently tried it out on a high hill overlooking Austin, called Mt. Bonnell, and was able to pick up dozens of networks. Below is a stock photo of the Alfa high power USB wireless adapter.
All the USB type long range wireless internet adapters pictured above are much better than a laptop’s standard built in adapter.
Prize For The Strongest USB Wireless Adapter Goes To Alfa
For the money, at around $19.00, the GSKY 500 mW high power USB wireless adapter seen above on the right, is a great value. In the photo above it is attached to the back of my laptop for traveling.
For speed and range, I really prefer the Alfa 2 watt model, which is the strongest USB wireless adapter on the market in the U.S. In addition to range, it is wireless N capable, for up to 150 megabits of speed. It’s small, lightweight, and when attached to the back of your laptop with the included clip or with Velcro, is barely noticeable. If you want to pick up free WiFi, this is clearly the strongest USB wireless adapter on the market.